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Yale celebrates first national championship

by Bob Snow /

Malcolm celebrates bithday in style

PITTSBURGH -- What a Happy 24th Birthday for Yale University goaltender Jeff Malcolm.

Not many athletes at any level get a birthday gift like the one Malcolm celebrated Saturday, as the Alberta native made 36 saves for his Bulldogs, shutting out the No. 1 nationally ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats to preserve Yale's first-ever national championship in a 4-0 victory at Consol Energy Center.

"I think when I was five or six, I got Power Wheels for a gift," he told when asked if could remember a gift this special. "You know, those little jeeps. I don't know if I still have it, but this is a pretty good gift to remember for a long time."

"It was kind of a joke on the team that half of us didn't say anything about [getting the win for his birthday], but half did," said Colin Bourbonais. "It's the best present you could give this kid. He was a wall out there."

-- Mike G. Morreale

PITTSBURGH -- It was a good night, indeed, for Yale University's Clinton Bourbonais, Jeff Malcolm and their teammates.

When the Consol Energy Center belted out a pre-game rendition of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," the fans in Bulldog blue got that feeling going in the stands with thundering support for their Yale underdogs, the 16th and final seed against the Quinnipiac Bobcats – the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the No. 1 team in the country.

Put a whole bunch of zeroes after any number 1-9, and you catch the drift of the number of times any hockey kid dreams of scoring the championship-winning goal.

Or slamming the door between the pipes.

Yale, held scoreless by Quinnipiac in their last two meetings, pumped home four goals to make it a very good night for the folks in New Haven, Conn., taking home the NCAA hardware in the 4-0 final.

Bourbonais, the junior from Dexter, Michigan, got Yale on the scoreboard just four ticks from the end of the second period with what proved to be the game-winning goal to get Yale off and running to the best night in program history.

Bourbonais also assisted on the insurance goal at 3:35 of the third period when freshman Charles Orzetti beat Hartzell on a tough angle from the corner that slipped by Hartzell's short side.

"My teammates dumped it in and got it along the wall," Bourbonais told about his historic goal. "Gus [Young] threw it to the net. I got enough wood on it and it went right between [Eric Hartzell's] wickets. We knew there was 21 seconds left with the faceoff and I knew it was going in, so I just camped out and it ended up going in.

"I never thought about scoring the championship goal," he said.

How about when you were a kid?

"You do think of these things as a kid," Bourbonais reflected. "Put your roller blades on, shoot the net with the garage behind you, and count ‘3-2-1' goal! I've been watching this game since I was three years old, and this is just unbelievable. It was the biggest goal of my career. At about three and a half minutes left, I kind of knew it was going to be the game-winner."

Thanks to the play of Malcolm, who entered the game at 19-6-2 with a 2.33 goals-against average – and outdueled Hartzell, a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

The newest pride of Lethbridge, Alberta, played the game of his life with 36 total saves, none better than several point-blank shots by Quinnipiac in a 15-save second period.

"He was the best player on the ice," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said of Malcolm's contribution.

"I'm just one of the 26," Malcolm said downplaying his dynamic performance. "That's how it always is; I'm no more important than anyone else. In the second period, I just felt comfortable; was getting into it. They kept coming and coming.

"Top to bottom, we had it tonight and here we are."

Indeed, that top-to-bottom contribution also included a third-period clean break-in on Hartzell at 9:06 by senior captain Andrew Miller. He put a five-hole exclamation point on Yale's victory off a center-ice feed from Kenny Agostino to make it a 3-0 game.

Appropriately, Pittsburgh native Jesse Root scored the final goal of the NCAA season – an empty-netter at 13:02.

A Miller assist gave him Yale's all-time record for career assists at 114. He was also named the Frozen Four MVP.

"Malcolm sat tall as he has all year," Miller said. "And we played a good team today. We have some great players on our team and a lot of the guys that don't get noticed, they're our heroes."

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