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Yale beats North Dakota to make Frozen Four @NHLdotcom

Yale, the last team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, became the first team to earn a berth in this year's Frozen Four by scoring four times in the third period to beat North Dakota 4-1 on Saturday in the final of the NCAA West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich.

It's the first trip to the championship round since 1952 for Yale, which didn't qualify for the tournament until Michigan lost to Notre Dame in the CCHA tournament final on Sunday.

Jesse Root, whose overtime goal on Friday eliminated top-seeded Minnesota, broke a 1-1 tie with 4:56 left in regulation with a power-play goal. He worked his way into the left circle and whipped a shot from the faceoff dot that beat goaltender Clarke Saunders.

Freshman Stu Wilson added an insurance goal when he knocked in a rebound with 2:21 remaining, and Kenny Agostino hit the empty net with a minute to play.

Yale (20-12-3) of the ECAC had tied the game with 7:35 left in regulation when Andrew Miller's pass from the right wall found an unchecked Josh Balch just in front of the crease. Balch quickly one-timed the puck past Saunders to get the Bulldogs even.


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"We're thrilled to get the win today," Yale 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."

North Dakota (22-13-7) of the WCHA took the lead 7:22 into the game when Corbin Knight weaved through the Yale defense and beat goaltender Jeff Malcolm from below the hash marks.

Malcolm made 24 saves for Yale, while Saunders stopped 35 shots.

Northeast Regional

UMass-Lowell 2, New Hampshire 0

The top-seeded River Hawks advanced to their first Frozen Four and a date with Yale on April 11 in Pittsburgh as freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots to beat their Hockey East rival in the regional final in Manchester, N.H.

Scott Wilson poked in his own rebound with 30 seconds left in the second period to break a scoreless tie, and Adam Chapie carried the length of the ice before scoring on a backhander with 6:02 left in the third. That was more enough offense for UMass-Lowell (28-10-2) -- Hellebuyck, the tournament MVP, has allowed only four goals in six postseason games for the Hockey East champion River Hawks. The shutout was his sixth of the season.

New Hampshire (20-12-7) had swept the three-game season series, but Hellebuyck played in only one of those games -- a one-period relief appearance during a 5-2 loss on Nov. 30. The teams had not played since UNH's 5-2 win at Lowell on Dec. 1.

Since then, the River Hawks are 24-3-1, the best record in the nation.

“Every team goes through some sort of adversity,” coach Norm Bazin said. “We went through ours early.”

Casey DeSmith had 26 saves for the Wildcats, who have lost in the regional finals in their last four NCAA appearances.

Midwest Regional

St. Cloud St. 5, Notre Dame 1

Notre Dame became the second No. 1 seed to lose its first tournament game as Joey Benik had two goals and an assist to help fourth-seeded St. Cloud State beat the Fighting Irish in the first semifinal in the Midwest Regional in Toledo, Ohio.

The Huskies (24-15-1) of the WCHA will face Miami (Ohio) on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.

Benik, Cory Thorson and Jonny Brodzinski scored on St. Cloud State's first seven shots of the second period to make it 4-0. Ben Hankowski also scored, and Ryan Faragher made 17 saves.

Mike Voran had a shorthanded goal in the third period for Notre Dame (25-13-3). The Irish entered the game with a seven-game winning streak after winning the final CCHA tournament championship.

Miami (Ohio) 4, Minnesota State 0

Ryan McKay made 20 saves and Miami broke the game open with three goals in the third period to make the regional final against St. Cloud State.

The second-seeded RedHawks (25-11-5) opened the scoring when Curtis McKenzie scored midway through the second period. Marc Hagel, Cody Murphy and Max Cook added goals in the third. Miami, the CCHA regular-season champion, made it past the first round of the tournament for the first time since 2010, its last trip to the Frozen Four.

The Mustangs of the WCHA (24-14-3) got 21 saves from Stephon Williams in their second NCAA Tournament appearance.

East Regional

Quinnipiac 4, Canisius 3

The Bobcats, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, got goals by Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kevin Bui in a 6:26 span of the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit and beat Canisius in their regional semifinal game at Providence, R.I.

Quinnipiac, which survived an upset by Brown in the ECAC semifinals to earn the top seed in the 16-team field, will face conference rival Union on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.

The Golden Griffins (19-19-5), the Atlantic Hockey tournament winner, led 3-1 were primed for an upset after Kyle Gibbons beat Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell at 3:43 of the third period.

But Quinnipiac made it 3-2 on Peca's goal at 8:02, Samuels-Thomas tied it with a power-play goal at 10:42 and Bui fired a rebound past Tony Capobianco with 5:32 left. Hartzell preserved the win when he stopped McKellar's shot at the final buzzer.

Connor Jones had a first-period goal and an assist for the Bobcats (28-7-5).

Stephen Farrell and Duncan McKellar scored 44 seconds apart in the second period for Canisius, which saw its eight-game winning streak end.

Union 5, Boston College 1

The Dutchmen ended BC's reign as national champion and moved within one victory of a return trip to the Frozen Four.

The all-ECAC matchup between Union and Quinnipiac in the title game, combined with Yale's victory in the West Regional, means that the conference will have two teams in the Frozen Four for the first time since 1983.

Josh Jooris put Union (22-12-5) ahead when he scored midway a power-play goal through the first period, then made it 2-0 just 39 seconds into the second. Cole Ikkala beat Eagles goaltender Parker Millner 25 seconds later for a 3-0 lead. Shawn Gostisbehere scored a power-play goal late in the period and Daniel Ciampini scored Union's third man-advantage goal early in the third.

BC's Johnny Gaudreau, the Hockey East player of the year, scored with 3:58 left in regulation to spoil Troy Grosenick's shutout bid. Grosenick finished with 29 saves.

Union lost to Ferris State in the Frozen Four last spring, and Ferris State then lost to BC in the championship game.

Boston College, which got 30 saves from Millner, finished its season 22-12-4.

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