They did it again.
Three years after upsetting North Dakota by a 3-2 score in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., Yale University did the same to second-ranked Minnesota, this time in overtime in Friday's NCAA West Regional semifinal in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Kenny Agostino, a former Pittsburgh Penguins draft choice who was involved in the Jarome Iginla trade this week, had a goal and an assist for Yale, and set up Jesse Root's one-timer in front for the game-winner just nine seconds into the extra session, setting an NCAA tournament record. Gus Young scored Yale's other goal.
Yale was shut out in both games in last week's ECAC championship in Atlantic City and made the NCAA tournament as the 15th overall and final at-large seed only after Michigan was eliminated in the CCHA final.
Minnesota raced back from 2-0 deficit on Friday after two periods on goals just over five minutes apart by Nate Schmidt and Zach Budish, but is out in the first round after making the Frozen Four last season. Jeff Malcolm made 26 saves for the Bulldogs, while Adam Wilcox finished with 23 saves for the Golden Gophers.
The Bulldogs will now play seventh-ranked North Dakota on Sunday, after UND escaped with a 2-1 victory over Niagara despite 41 saves by Purple Eagle netminder and Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist Carsen Chubak. Fellow Hobey Baker finalist Danny Kristo tallied the game-winning goal on an early third-period wraparound to break a 1-1 tie, just 57 seconds after Andrew McWilliams had knotted the contest. Zane Gothberg made 28 saves for UND, while Jason Beattie scored Niagara's lone goal.
At the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., Hockey East regular-season and playoff champion UMass Lowell came within a game of the Frozen Four for the second straight campaign by crushing WCHA tournament champion Wisconsin by a 6-1 count.
Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the third-ranked River Hawks, including one on a penalty shot. UML got goals from six different skaters in all, while racing out to a 3-0 lead in the second period before adding three more goals in the third session. Nic Kerdiles, the hero in last week's WCHA title game when he notched the game-winner against Colorado College, scored the Badgers' only goal versus UML. Joel Rumpel had 20 stops for eighth-ranked Wisconsin.
Following the Wildcats' 5-2 victory over Denver in the second Northeast Regional semifinal, UMass Lowell will now face Hockey East rival and 10th-ranked New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.
After the Pioneers took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play, UNH responded with four unanswered scores, with Dalton Speelman notching the deciding marker with 22 seconds left in the second period, and Casey DeSmith finishing with 31 stops in the Wildcat net. Casey Thrush scored UNH's first and fifth goals, the last one into an empty Denver net with 2:20 remaining in regulation and Juho Olkinuora (36 saves) having been pulled for an extra attacker.
The NCAA East and Midwest Regionals will both get underway on Saturday, with their finals to be contested on Sunday. In Providence, No. 1 overall seed Quinnipiac will face Canisius, while ECAC tournament champion Union will play defending NCAA champion Boston College. In Toledo, CCHA playoff king Notre Dame will take on St. Cloud State, while CCHA regular-season titilist Miami (Ohio) will square off with Minnesota State.