Bulldogs underdogs no more as Yale tops Quinnipiac in Frozen Four final
The Frozen Four came to a close Saturday night in a style befitting of an event that failed to feature any of the traditional college hockey powerhouses. No. 15 seed Yale upset No. 1 seed Quinnipiac, 4-0, earning its first national title and marking the program’s first win over Quinnipiac this season.
Quinnipiac entered the game with a 30-8-5 record and was 3-0 against Yale this season and 5-0 in its last five games against the Bulldogs. While Quinnipiac was a bit of a surprise in college hockey this season since it is a semi-recent addition to the D-I ranks and has never been a powerhouse like more well-known hockey schools such as Minnesota, North Dakota, Boston University or Boston College, the Bobcats were clearly one of the best teams in college hockey this season. At one point, they rode a 21-game unbeaten streak.
When all was said and done Saturday night, though, it was the Yale players who were celebrating in the mob at the end of the game while the Quinnipiac players were dumbstruck by the loss.
“We’re devastated,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “It was a great year, and this wasn’t the way it was supposed to end. I think we were the best team in college hockey for the season, and unfortunately we didn’t prove that tonight. You’ve got to give Yale credit for that.”
On the other end, the Yale players were ecstatic, buoyed by excellent performances all around, but especially from goalie Jeff Malcolm, who made 36 saves to earn his third shutout of the season. To make things even sweeter for Malcolm, Saturday night was Malcolm’s 24th birthday.
The game was tight through the first two periods, but the Bulldogs struck first with a goal from Charles Orzetti with seconds remaining in the second period. Then the floodgates opened as the Bulldogs cemented their lead in the third period, piling on three more goals to ensure the victory.
“We felt if we played a speed game and really pressured them, we would wear them down,” said Yale forward Antoine Laganiere. “We got that goal at the end of the second and I think in the third it was clear that we had done our job.”
It certainly was a job well done as Yale cruised on to become the first ECAC team to win the national championship since Harvard won in 1989, something very few people thought they could manage against the formidable Quinnipiac team. Congrats to the Yale Bulldogs; their victory was hard fought and well earned.