No. 1 Quinnipiac to face Yale in Frozen Four Final
For the first time in 24 years, the national champion will hail from ECAC Hockey. And this time, it’s a Connecticut showdown.
The Yale Bulldogs, the 15th overall team in the tournament and last at-large team to earn a bid, will play in their first national title game versus the No. 1 seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats.
It is the first time that an ECAC team has reached the final since Colgate in 1990 and the winner will become the first team ECAC team since Harvard in 1989 to win the title.
So how did these teams wing up in the championship game?
Yale defeats UMass Lowell 3-2 in OT
Yale struck with the first goal of the game, a power play goal, at the 12:55 mark in the first period. Freshmen Mitch Witek blasted a shot to make it a 1-0 game with assists from Carson Cooper and captain Andrew Miller.
A second goal soon followed. Off of a Matt Killian feed, senior Antoine Laganiere netted one to make it 2-0. That score stood for nearly 20 more minutes.
UMass Lowell struck back at 14:38 with a goal from Riley Wetmore. Just 14 seconds later, Joseph Pendenza tied it up with a quick snap shot that appeared to redirect off Yale defenseman Tommy Fallen’s stick and into the net. They were the sixth-fastest two goals in Frozen Four history, and just like that it was a tied game.
In the third, Yale again dominated the River Hawks, outshooting them 16-3. The Bulldogs pinned Lowell in their defensive zone nearly the entire period, forcing the River Hawks to ice the puck upwards of 10 times.
Despite the Bulldogs dominating the River Hawks in almost every facet of the game, it still took a dramatic overtime goal from Miller. His tally 6:59 into the extra frame game the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory at the Consol Energy Center.
The goal completed a near-perfect effort by the Bulldogs, its third in this tournament having already ousted two of the nation’s powers in Minnesota and North Dakota. Yale did an effective job bottling up Lowell, making its transition game nearly non-existent.
Yale out-shot UMass Lowell by a margin of 47-18. Even as Hellebuyck put on a magnificent performance, Yale’s offensive firepower was just too much.
Quinnipiac defeats St. Cloud State 4-1
Quinnipiac came out of the gate with more jump than St. Cloud State and, as a result, put the game away early, scoring three times in the first 11:19 to take a lot of wind out of St. Cloud State’s sails.
Sophomore Jordan Samuels-Thomas put the Bobcats on the board scoring his 17th goal of the season. Samuels-Thomas scored off of an assist from Russell Goodman at the 1:49 of the first period.
Just over three minutes later, senior Ben Arnt scored his eighth goal of the season off of an assist from Samuels-Thomas. This goal came at the 5:07 mark and created a 2-0 lead.
At the 11:19 mark of the opening period, senior Jeremy Langlois netted his 13th goal of the year. Zach Davies assisted the goal and helped create a 3-0 lead.
Quinnipiac carried that lead into second period. But, 6:25 into the second period, Joseph Benik tallied his eighth goal of the season, making it 3-1.
The two-goal deficit was extended just moments later when junior Kellen Jones made it 4-1. The lead would stick throughout the remainder of the game.
The loss ended a spectacular season for the Huskies in which they won their first WCHA regular season crown in their final year in the league before moving to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) next season.
Quinnipiac can focus on the possibility of bringing a national championship back to Hamden, Conn. If the Bobcats do, they’ll have to knock off their down-the-road rival for the fourth time this season.
Quinnipiac dominated all three meetings with Yale this season, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-3 on its way to the ECAC regular-season title.
Who do you think will be the next national champions?