Frozen Four Capsule: Yale
by Joe Meloni/Senior Writer
Resume: 20-12-3, West Regional Champion
Three weeks ago, Yale's place in the NCAA tournament was out of its hands entirely. After losing to Union in the ECAC semifinal and Quinnipiac in the ECAC consolation game, the Bulldogs' fate was in Michigan's hands. If Michigan had defeated Notre Dame in the CCHA championship game, Yale's season would have ended. Notre Dame's win clinched the final at-large spot in the NCAA tournament for the Bulldogs. It also rewarded them with a date against No. 2 overall seed Minnesota.
Yale defeated the Gophers, 3-2, in overtime before knocking off North Dakota, 4-1, to advance to its first Frozen Four since 1952. The Bulldogs are the only Frozen Four participant with a previous appearance, albeit more than half a century ago.
Kenny Agostino, Junior, Forward
Like St. Cloud State's Hanowski, Agostino arrives in Pittsburgh having just been traded by the city's NHL team. And, like Hanowski, he's coming off a strong performance in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. He scored goals in Yale's wins over Minnesota and North Dakota in Grand Rapids, Mich., that clinched its spot in Pittsburgh.
He leads the Bulldogs in goals (17), assists (23) and points (40).
Andrew Miller, Senior, Forward
Miller, a crafty playmaker, was first team all-ECAC for his performance as a senior. He scored 16 goals on the season and added 21 assists. He picked up an assist in each of the Bulldogs' wins last weekend.
In Miller's four years in New Haven, Conn., Yale has been one of the most potent offenses in the ECAC each year. His vision and passing ability are among the main reasons. The 16 goals he scored as a senior were a career-high.
Antoine Laganiere, Senior, Forward
For most of his senior year, Laganerie's name has been mentioned as one of the most sought-after free agents for NHL teams. Those clubs have to wait at least a few more days. The 6-foot-4, 190 pound Laganiere is a strong mix of size and skill on the puck. Without a goal in his last four games, the senior's 14 goals and 13 assists aren't quite as an impressive as the 19-goal, 14-assist season he amassed as a junior.
Regardless, his contributions on offense can come just as well without the puck. Creating space for his teammates and winning battles to generate scoring chances can be as important as any goal.
Jesse Root's Goal 9 Seconds Into Overtime Against Minnesota
After wasting a two-goal, third-period lead against Minnesota in its first tournament game, Yale knocked off the Gophers thanks to Root's goal nine seconds into overtime. The freshman drove hard to the net and quickly fired a centering pass from Agostino past Minnesota's Adam Wilcox. The goal prolonged Yale's season, showing off the Bulldogs quick-strike ability.
Jeff Malcolm made 10 saves in the third period despite allowing two goals to the Gophers that afternoon. UM easily could've had three or four in those 20 minutes; Malcolm's heroics carried Yale into overtime where Root earned the win.
Third Period Against North Dakota
After knocking off Minnesota, Yale had the similarly tough task of defeating North Dakota to advance to the Frozen Four. UND led the Bulldogs, 1-0, after two periods, and they struggled to solve Clarke Saunders despite 25 shots in the first 40 minutes.
The first 12 minutes of the third period were more of the same for Yale. However, Stu Wilson's goal at 12:25 tied the game. Three more goals followed, including Agostino's empty-netter, to seal the victory and Yale's first Frozen Four trip in 61 years.
Jeff Malcolm's Return From Injury
In early February, Malcolm suffered an injury that forced him out of five games. The Bulldogs lost all five of those games. Any chance of an ECAC regular-season title disappeared as a result. He returned on Feb. 23 in a 4-3 win over Princeton.
The Bulldogs are 6-2-0 since Malcolm has come back. Tough losses to Union in the ECAC semifinal and Quinnipiac in the league's consolation game took the Bulldogs' NCAA tournament hopes out of their hands. The second life they gained, thanks to Notre Dame beating Michigan, hasn't been wasted, and Malcolm is a big part of that.
Players to Watch
Kenny Agostino, Junior, Forward (17-23—40); Andrew Miller, Senior, Forward (16-21—37); Antoine Laganiere, Senior, Forward (14-13—27); Jesse Root, Freshman, Forward (11-11—22); Stu Wilson, Freshman, Forward (9-8—17); Tommy Fallen, Freshman, Defenseman (7-16—23); Ryan Obuchowski, Freshman, Defenseman (3-9—12); Jeff Malcolm, Senior, Goaltender (18-6-2, 2.35, .916)