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Hard working Yale tops Bobcats for NCAA title

Yale trophy

Players from Yale celebrate after winning their first NCAA national championship Saturday night with a 4-0 win over Quinnipiac. (Photo courtesy Yale University/John Hassett)

PITTSBURGH, April 13 – A few mistakes cost the No. 1 ranked Quinnipiac University hockey team its shot to win a NCAA Division I national championship. And Yale University was eager to take advantage.

Yale scored a goal with 3.5 seconds left in the second period and added a second goal early in the second period as the Elis won their first NCAA title with a 4-0 decision Saturday night at the Frozen Four.

Yale beat three No. 1 seeds to win the NCAA championship before over 18,000 fans. And the Elis beat a Quinnipiac team that had beat them three times this season by a combined margin of 13-3.

The game was a thrilling game for two periods with end-to-end action and some tremendous saves from Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm and Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell. Both teams had two-man advantages in the second period but failed to score.

Malcolm, who made 36 saves, had some outstanding stops including an odd-man rush in the first period when Quinnipiac twins Connor and Kellen Jones moved up ice. With both Jones twins pressuring the lone Bulldog defender, Connor Jones twirled to his forehand and wristed a shot that was bellied by Malcolm and alertly poked to the boards with his stick as Kellen Jones  was waiting for the rebound.

Hartzell made nine saves in the first period including a huge stop on Yale’s Kenny Agostino, who was fighting for the puck with a pair of Bobcat defenders in the slot. Agostino was able to locate the loose puck and fire a hard wrist shot on goal that Hartzell snatched out of mid-air while sprawled out on the ice.

Malcolm also stymied Quinnipiac’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas on a breakaway midway through the second period for his most spectacular save of the night.

Yale took advantage of an Quinnipiac lapse in the waning seconds of the second period. Yale on a faceoff at center ice and the puck was flicked behind the net. Yale’s Gus Young sent a wrist shot toward the net that was deflected off the stick of Clinton Bourbonais between Hartzell’s legs for a 1-0 lead.

“We’ve been stressing getting pucks and bodies to the net, and we threw it to net there and [Bourbonais] tipped it in,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “That gave us momentum going into the third. That forced them to take some chances, and we were patient defensively and counter-attacked pretty well and came out on top.”

Yale took advantage of another opportunity less than four minutes into the third period as Charles Orzetti gave the Elis a 2-0 lead. Orzetti moved in on goal and took the shot that deflected off Hartzell’s leg pad and right back to Orzetti, who quickly snapped a shot that slipped past Hartzell for a 2-0 lead. The Bobcat defender that closed in on Orzetti during the initial shot backed off, giving Orzetti plenty of room to take his shot.

Andrew Miller, Yale’s senior captain, put the Bulldogs ahead 3-0 after a breakaway goal from the blue line. He took a pass from Kenny Agostino at the Bobcat’s defensive blue line and skated in on Hartzell with the Quinnipiac defenders trailing. Miller made one move and wristed home the third goal between Hartzell’s legs.

“We knew they were going to run around a little bit because they were behind, so we took advantage of those opportunities, and I think we shut them down a little bit,” Miller said. “They had a flurry at the beginning of the third, and Malcolm sat tall as he has all year.”

Yale will host a celebration of the national championship win on Monday, April 15 at Ingalls Rink in New Haven at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m.

NOTES: Yale defeated the top three overall seeds in the tournament to win the title: Quinnipiac (No. 1), Minnesota (No. 2) and UMass Lowell (No. 3)…Gus Young (Defense) and Clinton Bourbonais (Forward) joined Andrew Miller (Most Outstanding Player) and Jeff Malcolm (Most Outstanding Goaltender) on the All-Tournament Team for Yale… Yale became the third Ivy League school (Cornell in 1967 and 1970, Harvard in 1989) to win the NCAA title and the first No. 4 seed to win the crown since the introduction of the 16-team field in 2003… Yale’s title was also the first by an ECAC Hockey team since Harvard’s win in 1989…For Yale, it was their first national championship since 1953 when the men’s swimming team brought home a title.

Material from Quinnipiac University and Yale University used to help compile this report.

Yale 4, Quinnipiac 0
At Pittsburgh
Yale (22-12-3)               0  1  3  — 4
Quinnipiac (30-8-5)       0  0  0  — 0
Second period
Yale 19:56 Bourbonais, Clinton (Young, Gus)
Third period
Yale 03:35 Orzetti, Charles (Bourbonais, Clinton & Laganiere, Antoine)
Yale 09:06 Miller, Andrew (Agostino, Kenny)
Yale 13:02 EN – Root, Jesse  Miller, Andrew & O’Gara, Rob)
Saves: Jeff Malcolm (Y) 36, Eric Hartzell (Q) 27. Shots: Quinnipiac 36-30; Power plays: Yale 0-5, Quinnipiac 0-4

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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