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Fourth time is the charm for Yale
Malcolm's shutout gives Bulldogs title
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold knew his rival had changed. Even after three wins against them this season, Yale was a different team heading to the national championship game.
The team and its goalie got hot at the right time, which is key to a deep playoff run.
On top of being hot, it’s been said that beating a team four times is extremely hard to do.
And so, just like the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team fell to its rival in the national championship by a score of 4-0.
“We’re devastated,” Pecknold said. “It was a great year, and this wasn’t the way it was supposed to end. I’m proud of my guys. I really couldn’t ask for a better group. We weren’t perfect through two periods, but we played well enough. We had plenty of chances and we just couldn’t score.”
Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell, who allowed three goals on the night which was as many as he had allowed against Yale in the previous three games agreed that it is very hard to beat a team four times in one season.
“It’s very tough,” Hartzell said. “I think if this was a best-of-seven series it might be different. College hockey is one and you’re done and they were the better team tonight.”
The first time the Bobcats met the Bulldogs this season, they were without starting goaltender Jeff Malcolm, who was injured following a collision in a game on Feb. 1 against Princeton.
The second game as well, the Bulldogs fell to the Bobcats without their senior starting goaltender.
In the most recent meeting, both teams said that it wasn’t the game they wished to be playing in, that being the ECAC tournament consolation game. Although Malcolm returned on Feb. 23 against Princeton, the Bobcats won 3-0.
Malcolm however wasn’t ready for the Bobcat beatdown to end his college career. Instead, Malcolm had one of the best games of his life turning in a shutout in the national championship game to give the Bulldogs their first title.
“Malcolm was great tonight,” Pecknold said. “You’ve got to give the kid credit. It’s the biggest game of his career, and he pitches a shutout.”
The Yale goalie stopped all 36 shots he faced including two breakaways by Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Matthew Peca early in the second period.
“He’s been our rock all season,” Yale forward Kenny Agostino said. “Our team has had its ebbs and flows all year but no question he has been consistent all season. He went down with an injury for a little bit but he’s bounced back bigger than ever and was unbelievable tonight.”
With the win, Yale became the first team to ever defeat three No. 1 seeds on the way to winning the title. The Bulldogs knocked off No. 2 overall seed Minnesota in 3-2 in overtime. They then faced North Dakota and beat them 4-1 with all three goals coming in the third period. Yale then faced No. 3 overall seed UMass-Lowell in the semifinals and topped them 3-2 in overtime. Then came the national championship against No. 1 overall seed Quinnipiac tonight in which the Bulldogs put up four goals against the nations best offense.
Although Hartzell allowed three goals on the night, the Bobcats were shutout for just the fourth time all season. Prior to being shutout by Brown, 4-0 in the ECAC quarterfinals, Quinnipiac had gone 34 games in a row in which they scored at least one goal.
“He’s been our best player all season,” Peca said. “He’s probably the biggest reason we’re here. He didn’t play bad but that’s just the way hockey goes. In a game like that we have to bail him out and we didn’t.”
The Bobcats will graduate 11 seniors in May including four defenseman, Langlois and Hartzell. However they will bring back a key core of players including Peca, Samuels-Thomas, Connor and Kellen Jones, and defenseman Danny Federico.