WORCESTER, Mass. – The Bulldogs of Yale University have
advanced to the Northeast regional final with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the
University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. With the win, Yale faces Boston
College for the right to continue on to the Frozen Four at Ford Field in
Unlike the first game between Boston College and the
University of Alaska-Fairbanks, this contest featured a very physical game.
Both teams unleashed hit-after-hit over the course of the first period with
Yale scoring the only goal.
Almost six minutes into the period, Bulldogs junior forward
Denny Kearney scored on a deflection by a shot from senior defenseman Tom
Dignard. Considered the under-bull-dog by many, head coach Keith Allain never
lost faith in his team,
“I’m really proud of our guys, they played really hard,”
The second period started much like the first with strong
physical play, only Yale was able to put two goals on the board instead of one.
Kearney lit the lamp for the second time in the afternoon with a move that
Sidney Crosby would be jealous of.
As Kearney skated in on the goalie he dipped his shoulder to
fake a shot on his forehand followed by a move to the backhand. Sioux sophomore
goalie Brad Eidsness thought he had a save to keep North Dakota within one
until Kearney pulled the puck back to his forehand at the last second and slid
the puck into the net.
“On the first two odd-man rushes I passed the puck and it
didn’t work out,” said Kearney. “So this time I decided to take the shot.”
Down only two, UND was given a golden opportunity to cut the
lead in half when they were awarded a penalty shot. Senior assistant captain
Darcy Zajac was given the chance to swing momentum in the Sioux’s favor.
Unfortunately for them, Zajac’s shot rang off the side post that left the
scoreboard blank for the Sioux.
“I saw open low blocker and I just hit the post,” said a
visibly emotionally and physically exhausted Zajac.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second, senior
Mark Arcobello gave the Bulldogs their much-needed insurance goal. Sophomore
Brian O’Neill deflected the puck in Yale’s zone and fired a pass to Arcobello
who shot the puck wide of the net from the top of the slot. The Sioux defense
thought the scoring threat was over, but Arcobello knew otherwise.
“We knew the boards were pretty lively,” said Arcobello. “We
were taught to always follow our shots and I was able to get to the puck
first.” The puck ricocheted straight back as Arcobello skated past both ND
defenders and scored to put Yale up big.
During intermission Yale may have hoped that the Sioux would
give up being down by three with only one period remaining. It appeared as if UND had saved the best for last as the third period showcased a completely
different Sioux squad.
Only three minutes into the third period, UND controlled the
puck in Yale’s zone as the Bulldogs were frantic to clear the zone. Sophomore
forward Brett Hextall grabbed the loose puck, circled around the faceoff dot
and snipered the near-top corner over senior goalie Ryan Rondeau’s
“We hoped they wouldn’t get that first goal so early in the
third,” said Allain.
There is a belief in hockey that after a goal, the scoring
team has a greater chance of scoring again within the next three minutes. Just 2:59 later, junior Matt Frattin streaked into the
Bulldog’s zone on a breakaway. As Frattin was being pulled down from behind he
managed to swipe at the puck with his stuck and sneak the puck in-between
Rondeau’s legs to bring ND within one goal.
Yale gave ND a chance to tie the game with a bad penalty
with five minutes remaining in the game. Kearney, after scoring two of the
teams three goals, was put on the ice to shut down a lethal Sioux power play,
“It was a big part of the game, we just had to bear down,”
Yale stood their ground and celebrated the win after the final
A win for Yale tomorrow against Boston College would be huge for a program
that has rarely seen the NCAA tournament lately, while BC attempts
to return to the national championship game for the fourth time in five years.