Hockey roundup: Yale captures first Frozen Four berth

Mitch Witek (10) and his Yale teammates got a leg up on North Dakota in a stunning win in the West Regional final.
Mitch Witek (10) and his Yale teammates got a leg up on North Dakota in a stunning win in the West Regional final.LATARA APPLEBY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jesse Root scored the go-ahead goal with 4:56 left and Yale beat North Dakota, 4-1, Saturday in the NCAA West Regional final in Grand Rapids, Mich., to reach the Frozen Four for the first time.

Fourth-seeded Yale (20-12-3) scored four times in the final 7:35.

‘‘We’re thrilled to get the win today,’’ Yale coach Keith Allain said. ‘‘North Dakota got the early lead, but I felt we were playing well throughout the game. The guys just stuck with the plan.’’

Josh Balch started the spree, and Root gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead on a power play, a day after scoring nine seconds into overtime for Yale’s 3-2 victory over top-seeded Minnesota.


‘‘Both of my goals this weekend were special,’’ Root said. ‘‘Any time you get to move on is real special.’’

Stu Wilson and Kenny Agostino added goals for Yale.

‘‘It’s a great accomplishment for any team,’’ Yale senior forward Andrew Miller said. ‘‘We've been close. Getting over the hump and actually doing this is a great feeling.’’

Corban Knight scored in the first period for North Dakota (22-13-7).

‘‘It’s difficult to have a clear perspective of this,’’ North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. ‘‘Yale played an outstanding game.’’

Yale outshot North Dakota, 39-25. The Bulldogs had a 25-16 advantage after the first two periods, but were constantly frustrated by the North Dakota defense and goaltender Clarke Saunders.

‘‘I just told them, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing,’ ’’ Allain said.

‘‘We wanted to push it and find ways to score that second goal,’’ Hakstol said. ‘‘That would have been a game-changer.’’

Saunders wound up with 35 saves for the Fighting Sioux. Jeff Malcolm stopped 24 shots for Yale.

Yale almost didn’t make the postseason and entered the 16-team NCAA Tournament this week as the final seed. The Bulldogs had been outscored, 8-0, in two losses last weekend before entering the NCAAs.


‘‘We have a young team and that helps us bounce back from tough weekends,’’ Miller said.

Midwest Regional

St. Cloud State 5, Notre Dame 1 — Joey Benik had two goals and an assist to help fourth-seeded St. Cloud State beat top-seeded Notre Dame in a semifinal in Toledo, Ohio.

On Sunday, the Huskies (24-15-1) will face Miami (Ohio), who beat Minnesota State in the other semifinal.

Benik, Cory Thorson, and Jonny Brodzinski scored on three of St. Cloud State’s first seven shots of the second period to make it 4-0.

‘‘We were relaxed,’’ Huskies coach Bob Motzko said. ‘‘We scored a few times in a short span and then we settled in and played a smart hockey game.’’

Ben Hanowski also scored, and Ryan Faragher made 17 saves.

‘‘We did a good job getting pucks and bodies to the net,’’ Hanowski said. ‘‘We capitalized on a lot of our opportunities.’’

Mike Voran had a shorthanded goal in the third period for Notre Dame (25-13-3), which was whistled for the game’s first six penalties and spent most of the last two periods in its own zone.

The Irish were outshot, 23-18, and managed only eight in the final two periods.

‘‘We didn’t execute as well in the neutral zone,’’ coach Jeff Jackson said. ‘‘That was the difference in the game.’’

Steven Summerhays had 14 saves before being pulled for Mike Johnson at the start of the third period.

The Irish entered the game with a seven-game winning streak after winning the final Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament championship.


Miami (Ohio) 4, Minnesota State 0 — Ryan McKay made 21 saves to help lift the second-seeded RedHawks (25-11-5) into the regional final.

Curtis McKenzie scored midway through the second period and Marc Hagel, Cody Murphy, and Max Cook added goals in the third. Miami made it past the first round of the tournament for the first time since 2010, its last trip to the Frozen Four.

Stephon Williams made 21 saves for the Mustangs (24-14-3). They were making their second tourney appearance.