Saturday, March 30, 2013

Yale is Frozen Four bound; Quinnipiac one win away

Yale used a third-period outburst to stun North Dakota for the second time in three years, earning a coveted trip to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh on April 11.

Quinnipiac used a third-period outburst to stave off upset-minded Canisius for its first-ever NCAA win, earning a spot in Sunday night's East Regional final (6:30 p.m., ESPNU).

Yale AND Quinnipiac at the Frozen Four? Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. But the fact that it's a very real possibility was unthinkable as recently as 10 years ago.

Most remarkable on Yale's end is that it nearly missed the NCAA tournament all-together after a disastrous weekend in Atlantic City. Shutout losses to Union and Quinnipiac put the Bulldogs' fate in the hands of Notre Dame, which came through with a win that eliminated Michigan and clinched Yale's spot.

Those losses don't look so bad now, especially since either Quinnipiac or Union will join Yale in Pittsburgh. But the Bulldogs stunning overtime win over No. 2 Minnesota and 4-1 romp of North Dakota -- with a combined 12 national championships between them -- proves they belong on the ice with  anyone. They'll face UMass-Lowell, another dangerous foe, on April 11 at a time to be determined.

Quinnipiac overcame a rocky third period Saturday, earning its 4-3 victory by outskating Canisius for most of the night. Kevin Bui added to his legend with the game-winning goal, while Eric Hartzell made a save at the buzzer.

Miami-Ohio and St. Cloud State play in the Midwest Regional final Sunday at 4.


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