For the first time in school history, the Yale Bulldogs won college hockey's national championship by beating Quinnipiac, 4-0, at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Saturday night.
Yale's Clinton Bourbonais scored the game's first goal, and then he came up big with an assist to Charles Orzetti on the second goal. There was no looking back for Yale as goalie Jeff Malcolm was outstanding all night—he finished with 35 saves on 35 shots.
This was a hard-fought and entertaining game that featured some brilliant goalkeeping by two teams that were supremely familiar with each other.
This was the third meeting between these two Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals, who are separated by less than 10 miles.
Quinnipiac dominated this rivalry this year, having won all three previous meetings by at least three goals.
However, in two of those games, Yale was forced to play without Malcolm, and he provided Yale with a huge boost in this game.
Malcolm came up big time and again—especially early—as he helped turn the Bobcats away in penalty kills.
This was vital for Yale, as it wasn't having any success of its own in penalty situations.
Quinnipiac had the top penalty kill in the nation, and it killed several penalties in this one as Yale failed to capitalize on its penalty advantages.
In fact, in the second period, both teams had a stretch with a 5-on-3 advantage.
Then, with just 3.5 seconds left in the second, Bourbonais found the game's first goal when he beat Hartzell through the five-hole.
You could almost feel the wind leave the Bobcats' sails with that goal, and when Orzetti found the back of the net with just 3:35 gone in the third, those sails went completely limp.
Yale was in full control at this point, and Quinnipiac was having a hard time mounting any challenges.
This led to a breakaway by Yale's Andrew Miller, and once again, Hartzell was victimized through the five-hole.
The Bobcats pulled their goalie not long after that goal, and that opened up an easy goal for Jesse Root to make it 4-0.
This caps off an improbable run for Yale. The Bulldogs barely qualified for the tourney and played a series of thrillers as they needed two overtime wins to advance to the championship game.
Yale won this championship with the second-lowest winning percentage of any champ.
This proves it's all about getting hot at the right time, and I don't think anyone on this magical team, or in the fanbase, will feel that winning percentage cheapened the experience.
Jeff Malcolm: A
Malcolm was outstanding in this game and this tournament. He had a stretch with several key saves in the second period that really helped his team gain momentum.
Clinton Bourbonais: A
When Yale needed an offensive boost, Bourbonais was there to deliver. He broke the scoreless stalemate and made a nice play to pick up an assist on the second goal.
Eric Hartzell: C-
This was not Eric Hartzell's finest game. He made some nice saves early, but he wilted late as the game slipped from his team's hands. Of course, so did his defense, which didn't help him out.
Considering Hartzell allowed just a 1.53 goals-against average with a save percentage of .934 for the season, this is a supremely disappointing performance.
In this game, he wound up with 27 saves on 30 shots.
Jeremy Langlois: B
Jeremy Langlois has been a prolific goal scorer in his time with Quinnipiac. While he was active and fired seven shots, obviously, none of those shots got past Malcolm.
His team needed a goal to get past Malcolm to earn some momentum, and Langlois could not deliver.