College Hockey:
Goals don’t come suddenly for Yale, Minnesota — until the end

— “It happened so quick. That’s why they call it sudden death.”

That quip by Minnesota coach Don Lucia summarized the overtime in the West Regional opener on Friday — nine seconds, one goal, a 3-2 Yale win — but there was little preceding Jesse Root’s game-winning goal that could be called sudden, not for either team.

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Both the Golden Gophers and the Bulldogs were held scoreless in their last conference game. For Minnesota, it was a 2-0 loss to Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five semifinals on March 22. Before junior defenseman Nate Schmidt scored on the power play at 8:12 in the third period, the Gophers had been held scoreless for 69 minutes and five seconds.

For the Bulldogs, the scoring drought was even longer. Yale didn’t score a single goal in last weekend’s ECAC Hockey Championship, losing 5-0 to Union in a semifinal game and 3-0 to Quinnipiac in the third-place game. Between senior Andrew Miller’s third-period goal in Yale’s 6-1 win over St. Lawrence on March 15 and junior Kenny Agostino goal in the second period of this contest, the Bulldogs had gone 163:47 without a tally.

At tournament time, though, it doesn’t matter if the No. 1 seed has the top offense in the country, averaging 3.48 goals per game, and the No. 4 seed has the 26th-best offense, averaging 2.82 goals per contest.

At least, it didn’t matter Friday.

“We had a lot of attempted shots but they blocked a lot of shots and we missed the net a lot,” Lucia said. “When you’re not getting pucks to the net, you don’t get an opportunity to get second shots. You don’t get an opportunity to create some momentum from that.

“In the game, we attempted 81 shots and only twenty-something were on the net. They blocked 25 and we missed 27, 28 games. When you’re attempting that many shots and only a third of them are getting to the net, you don’t create momentum by getting pucks around the goalie, rebounds, scramble plays.”

While the Bulldogs statistically have the 29th-best defense nationally, coach Keith Allain said that the only number that mattered for the Yale blue line were the numbers five and one: five players, one team.

“I think our guys checked pretty tenaciously tonight,” Allain said. “We kept the play in front of us. We hounded the puck and tried to take away their time and space. We were able to do that as a unit of five rather than individually.”

Yale senior defenseman Colin Dueck said that the Bulldogs didn’t have a game plan specific to the Gophers.

“We didn’t do anything that we wouldn’t normally do,” Dueck said. “They’re a high-scoring team. We tried to be in the shot lanes a lot, so we blocked a lot of shots today and that was big. Try to keep them to the outside. Try to keep them from getting chances.”

And Dueck echoed his coach about Bulldogs’ unity. “I think it’s just a real team effort,” he said.. “A lot of guys were blocking shots. We were keeping them outside a lot. Our PK has been really good. Even last weekend when we weren’t playing well our PK was good, and that’s been huge, especially because they’re a good power-play team.”

Outscored 8-0 in the ECAC tournament, the Bulldogs kept their opponents to no goals with the man advantage.

The following is a self-policing forum for discussing views on this story. Comments that are derogatory, make personal attacks, are abusive, or contain profanity or racism will be removed at our discretion. USCHO.com is not responsible for comments posted by users. Please report any inappropriate or offensive comments by clicking the “Flag” link next to that comment in order to alert the moderator.

Please also keep “woofing,” taunting, and otherwise unsportsmanlike behavior to a minimum. Your posts will more than likely be deleted, and worse yet, you reflect badly on yourself, your favorite team and your conference.

  • Sleeping Giant

    Where are you SDGopherfanatic? you lost to a team we killed three times this year. You spent the past couple of months angry that Quinnipiac was #1 and your season is over. Done. You worried about the polls and not the playoffs. Two joke losses in a row. Chokers. Enjoy your summer

    • Joseph Crowley

      Or stated differently, maybe the ECAC is a major conference that plays a shorter season due to the presence of six Ivy League teams.

      Maybe the ECAC does not light the lamp like some other leagues, put they can play defense, they do have people go pro and they can score enough to win.

      • antioch1098

        Quinnipiac outscored Yale 13-3 this season and Minnesota loses to the Bulldogs. Go Bobcats!!!

        • brent bangs mns

          All it takes is one bad game for a team to be bounced in single elimination – a lesson all fans would be wise to learn.

      • Eagle

        ECAC has more individual talent than the watered down WCHA .Yale winning was no surprise to most in the East .Monnesota is a soft team with 2 ggod players .

        • http://twitter.com/DavidGorder David Gorder

          Lay off the sauce man. The goofs win that game 8 out of 10 times. WCHA has more individual talent than the ECAC but that is irrelevant being hockey is a team game.

    • reardensteel

      While MN deserves all the time off they now have to think about how they played this year…, you might want to wait till your team has actually won its first tournament game before acting like an obnoxious blowbag.

  • Eagle

    I said it before and I will say it again WCHA=Weak College Hockey Association take the superior league theory and cry me a river .
    My prediction of 1 and done for the Gophers is reality now.

    • reardensteel

      But did you predict that b/c you don’t think MN is very good or b/c they are dreadfully inconsistent?

      I guess it really doesn’t matter how good you can be at times, if you’re also so poor at other times.
      It’s almost the same as not being very good in the first place.

      • Eagle

        Last week I predicted Union will beat BC and make the Frozen 4

    • phil aletheia

      no need for woofing either way. but after listening to the usual WCHA ranters, this year about the tournament and the pairwise and the conspiracy against the all-conference final, tonight you played 4 games and lost 3. so could you just, like, shut up? and maybe next year too?

      • reardensteel

        Ok, we kind of deserve that.

        • ott

          Play 10 games , they may win 2

          • phil aletheia

            no need to pile it on either. college hockey is such a great game, and there aren’t even enough teams to fill out a roundball bracket. it comes down to who has the mojo and the puck luck to win it this year? it could be almost anybody still left in the tournament.

      • JakeB

        Exactly… only next year they’ll all be in the NCHC, blustering that they’re now the best conference.

    • ott

      the sioux will beat yale by 3 tomorrow

  • Dfyg

    Yale played good enough to win, and we were fortunate to the “w”… Congrats to the Gopher’s on a great season spite the tough loss today. Looking forward to tomorrows game, hope it s a nail biter!

  • JakeB

    The Perception is nowhere near the Reality.

  • Leggs2

    The “great” west takes a MAJOR beating: Rodents, Denver, Wisconsin. Overrated league.

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