Yale reaches the Frozen Four after upset of North Dakota to win West Regional
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Jesse Root scored the go-ahead goal with 4:56 left and Yale beat North Dakota 4-1 on Saturday in the NCAA West Regional final to reach the Frozen Four.
Fourth-seeded Yale (20-12-3) scored four times in the final 7:35.
"We're thrilled to get the win [Saturday]," Yale head 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 at the nine-second mark of overtime in Yale's 3-2 victory against 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 head coach Dave Hakstol said. "Yale played an outstanding game."
Anthony Day added two assists for Yale.
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. Jeff Malcolm stopped 24 shots for Yale.
Yale almost didn't make the postseason and entered the 16-team 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.
"I can tell you a lot. I'm a firm believer that actions speak louder than words," Allain said. "I think you saw it for six periods and nine seconds the mental makeup of this hockey team. We were behind all game and didn't get a bounce until Balch broke through at the end and that tells you a lot about this group. That's what makes them special."
Allain, a former NHL and Olympics assistant coach, is the third Yale graduate to be coach of the team.
"I probably wouldn't be coaching in college hockey if it wasn't for the Yale job," he said. "I was pretty comfortable working in the National Hockey League. But Yale hockey has meant the world to me and will continue to be so. This was very special."
The national semifinals are April 11 in Pittsburgh. Yale will take on UMass-Lowell, the top seed from the Northeast Regional.