Yale Wins National Championship
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
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PITTSBURGH Midway through the second period, Yale junior forward Clinton Bourbonais took a charging penalty to put his team at a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
The Bulldogs got the kill, though.
About eight minutes later, with just 3.5 seconds left on the second-period clock, he got his redemption. Parking himself in front of Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell, Bourbonais tipped a Gus Young shot that ricocheted into the Bobcats’ net and proved to be the game-winner as Yale won its first national championship, beating Quinnipiac 4-0 on Saturday night in front of 18,184 fans at the Consol Energy Center.
“It was a huge swing,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said. “That's one of the of the reasons we stress if you don't have a player in front of you, put the puck on the net, because oftentimes those are the ones that surprise people and go in. It changed our mindset going into the third period because we had the lead and I think it changed their mindset going into the third because now they had to fight from behind, and that allowed us to get some of the other goals.”
For nearly 40 minutes, Jeff Malcolm matched Hartzell, Quinnipiac’s Hobey Baker finalist, save-for-save. Later it was clear: Malcolm was out-shining him.
Every time Quinnipiac tried to come up with an answer for Malcolm, he changed the question.
Matthew Peca toe-dragged around Young in the second period and lifted a knuckleball backhander but Malcolm turned the shot away with his left pad.
Enjoying a 5-on-3 power play in the second period, the Bobcats poured on the pressure. Zach Davies and Peca each had golden chances from the top of the right circle but Malcolm gathered the shot and prevented a rebound from caroming back to several waiting Bobcats outside the crease.
“This is the national championship,” Malcolm said, “if you can’t get up for this, you don’t have a heartbeat.”
Later in the period, he robbed Jordan Samuels-Thomas on a breakaway after Samuels-Thomas attempted to lift a forehand shot over his glove from four feet out.
“Jeff played great all night,” said Yale senior Colin Dueck. ”You could tell right from the start, he was feeling it. He was getting shots, and he was seeing them and moving well.
In the second period, he made a pretty good short breakaway stop and I knew at that point he's just closing the door.”
Malcolm made 36 saves to earn just the fifth ever shutout in the NCAA title game.
“He played out of his mind tonight, like he has all season for us,” said junior Jesse Root.” Every time we got in trouble he was there to bail us out. His play gave us so much confidence."
In the third period that confidence turned into goals for the Bulldogs.
Early in the period, Hartzell made the initial save on a Charles Orzetti shot from the left circle but the freshman winger made it 2-0 with a rebound chance from the low face-off circle that somehow managed to sneak under Hartzell’s pad with 16:25 left in regulation.
That lead got extended even further at the 9:06 mark of the third when Kenny Agostino caught the Bobcats defensemen up ice and sprung Andrew Miller on a breakaway.
“We wanted to pressure their defense and get pucks deep to get a lot of shots on Hartzell,” Miller said. “He's a good goalie and he's going to make the first save. We knew they were going to run around a little bit because they were behind, so we took advantage of those opportunities, and I think we shut them down a little bit.”
Added Allain, “Tonight was our turn. Our kids were ready, committed, and congratulations to them for having a fine hockey season.”