College Hockey:
Yale finds its offense again, and it helps deliver a Frozen Four spot

— A team’s offensive output can be a source of stress.

The power play can be a fickle beast. Goals can be feast or famine.

2013 NCAA West Regional

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For Yale, the offense and power play clicked in two games against St. Lawrence to open the ECAC tournament with a sweep. The Bulldogs put up nine goals in that series, including two on the power play.

Then, just as quick, the magic was gone again.

The next weekend at the ECAC Hockey Championship, Yale failed to score a single goal in games against Union and Quinnipiac. The Bulldogs were a good bet to make the NCAA tournament field when the weekend began. But the lack of scoring had them anxiously awaiting the results of the CCHA championship on Selection Sunday just to find out if they’d make the tournament.

Then, with a spot in the tournament field and their fate secured, Yale went from not scoring a goal to putting up seven goals in the NCAA West Regional, including three against a Minnesota team that ranks third in the country in team defense.

They also notched two power-play goals, including Saturday’s winner in a 4-1 victory over North Dakota that propelled them to the school’s first Frozen Four since 1952.

“The power play is a thing of momentum,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “I look at last night, we had 13 shots on goal in our power play. We couldn’t find a way to get one to go in. Tonight, in that power play, good opportunity and it goes off a bar and out instead of a bar and in. We needed a bounce along the way. In order to get our momentum back, you need a bounce, you need a couple things to go right. We couldn’t seem to get that this weekend.”

Fortunately for Yale, the bounces seemed to go their way this weekend. It started with an uncharacteristic turnover by Minnesota in overtime that led to Friday’s winning goal.

Then, Yale got all the puck luck they could handle in the third period of the regional championship game against North Dakota.

“We were pretty happy that two games in a row we scored power-play goals,” Bulldogs forward Andrew Miller said. “Two games in a row with a power-play goal definitely helps us out.”

A rebound landed right on the stick of Josh Balch. Jesse Root’s falling-down shot slipped past North Dakota goaltender Clarke Saunders. Stu Wilson knocked a rebound out of the air. After two-and-a-half periods of frustration, Yale took its luck and made the most of it.

Root notched the game-winning goals in both games.

“They were both pretty sweet, but it’s not the go-ahead goal if Josh [Balch] doesn’t score or if [Jeff Malcolm] isn’t great in net,” Root said.

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  • Joseph Crowley

    Way to go, Yale! Congratulations on your first Frozen Four of the modern era. Better still that no one can say they had an easy bracket. No small task beating Minnesota and North Dakota back-to-back.

  • Eagle

    WCHA=Weak College Hockey Assoc.

    • Daniel Crosson

      Not talking as much trash these days. Weird all the ECAC success that’s going on huh?

  • Yale86

    No – Eastern hockey is now simply better. It’s been coming for a while. 1st HE. Now ECAC. Faster and more skilled, with enough physical players to match up with slower lumbering West squads. Notice that legit pancake @ end of 1st resulted in a 2 min interference on Yale. Same play at the end of the game by clearly frustrated NoDak gets no call. Then they took a dive to get a power play. Yale swept 2 in Colorado, then took out Minny & NoDak. And Union is clearly faster, Q more physical than they are. A couple of years ago after they smoked NoDak & lost 9-7 to BC, I said they were 2nd best team in the country. West folks said no way. I said BC would beat Badgers 6-1 (I was wrong – it was 8-1). Get used to the view. Balance of power has shifted. 4 of last 5 champions are from the East (soon to be 5 out of 6). If Q & Union weren’t in the same bracket, this year would be the ECAC Invitational in Pittsburgh. Oh well. Not going to change any time soon.

    • Hockey21

      Eastern hockey is better? Really? That’s the way college hockey is- it changes from year to year, it’s an ebb and flow. We could argue until we’re blue in the face about which state produces the best players, this state has more people so it counts less, etc etc. The fact of the matter is this: Yale was the better team Friday and Yale was the better team today. They beat Minnesota, they beat North Dakota. Which team is better on paper means absolutely nothing, but saying that “Eastern hockey is now simply better” is asinine and naive

      • JakeB

        Thank you for refraining from turning the argument the other way. Or it will never end, right? This is Miami’s big opportunity, BUT I’ll be following on the blog and pulling for SCSU today.

        • Hockey21

          Definitely pulling for SC today. Cheering for QU also- would be a neat frozen four to see those teams there. A good, healthy shakeup for college hockey!

    • nsb2525

      And gophers beat bc 8-1 this year. College hockey is finally balanced and not just bc and bu on the east coast. Congrant its good for the sport that there’s more than 2 good teams out east

    • JakeB

      Another lame East vs West better post. Please, who cares.

  • Mike

    They should have put 4 WCHA teams in the same bracket to ensure that at least ONE makes it to the Final Four…..

    • nsb2525

      Kinda like how ever since Columbus when all 4 were wcha they always have one bracket without a wcha team in it? As I stated above its good for the sport that the ecac isn’t a complete joke anymore. Balance is good….yes there are lots of conference snobs but your chip on your shoulder comments make you look just as bad. Again its a good thing there’s more than bu and bc out east so be happy.

  • Fan Man

    Hats of to Yale for their amazing wins over the Goofballs and my Fighting Sioux! Clearly they deserve it! Well Done

  • pevan52

    Two #1 seeds and two bubble teams in the frozen four. Did anyone have a bracket that matched the outcome?

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