Yale's Killers Elite
Yale's penalty kill stellar in NCAA tournament
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
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PITTSBURGH It could have, and maybe should have, been a disaster.
Midway through Yale’s 4-0 national championship win over Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs glanced up at the Consol Energy Center scoreboard and saw 1:03 of 5-on-3 penalty kill time on the clock in what was, at the time, a scoreless title game.
A daunting task at any time, let alone the biggest stage.
But this group wasn’t fazed. Quite the opposite.
Yale’s penalty kill was stellar the entire tournament, killing every penalty but one – Minnesota scored a power-play goal in the opening round – en route to its first national title.
“We’ve seen that movie before,” said Yale assistant coach Dan Muse, who runs the team’s penalty kill unit, of the 5-on-3 kill in the second period. “We evolved all year and our guys knew what we had to do. We had confidence. It’s a great feeling as a coach watching our players buy in the way they did.”
Nate Schmidt’s power-play goal for Minnesota in the third period of the first round is the only power-play goal Yale has allowed since March 1.
The evolution of the unit came as the Bulldogs introduced more upperclassmen, Muse said.
“Andrew (Miller) stepped right off the bench for that 5-on-3,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said. “He knew he was going for it.”
Added Muse, “Killing penalties is about doing the dirty work. It became something that our guys started to enjoy. They took pride in blocking shots. One of the biggest reactions on our bench came when someone blocked a big shot. We kept getting better (on the penalty kill) all year and I can’t say enough how dedicated they were.”