For Yale, the importance of being in the moment

PITTSBURGH — To fans watching the game, the Frozen Four is a championship tournament that punctuates the end of the college hockey season. For the players, though, it’s more complex than that. They’re trying to win a national championship. They’re dealing with being on a media stage. They’re keenly aware that these are the last games of the season.

Yet the Yale Bulldogs remain loose and relaxed in spite of it all, a quality that was obvious when they played in the West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. Freshman forward Charles Orzetti said that the team understands the importance of keeping it in perspective.

“I think it starts with having a good dynamic,” Orzetti said. “We get along well and we’re playing well so we have some confidence, too. It kind of balances out. The focus and being able to enjoy our time at the rink, plus this is our last couple days of the year here, so we’re trying to enjoy every last second of it.”

Like Quinnipiac, Yale brings a sizable freshman class to the Frozen Four, a tournament than can easily overwhelm more veteran guys. Orzetti said that he and his classmates appreciate the opportunity.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘Soak it up,’ because of how rare this is, that it doesn’t come along,” Orzetti said. “I feel lucky as a freshman. A lot of guys go through their four years of college hockey without even making the tournament. As freshmen, the eight of us have already made it to the Frozen Four.”

It’s not by accident that in recent years, the Frozen Four has seen many of the same teams as participants. This year is an exception to that, of course, but a trip to this tournament can change the course of team’s future and the Yale freshmen know that.

“A lot of us have been able to contribute,” Orzetti said. “We’ve all played in some capacity this year. The ice time is going to help us down the road in terms of experience.

“We’re happy to be part of this experience and hopefully we can finish up on Saturday and in the next three years take that forward and keep a winning tradition.”