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Yale tops UMass Lowell in Frozen Four opener

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale celebrates Andrew Miller's (17) game-winning goal in overtime to beat Massachusetts Lowell during their national semifinal game in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center..
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale's Kenny Agostino celebrates with Andrew Miller after Miller's game-winning goal in overtime to beat Massachusetts Lowell in their national semifinal game in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale celebrates their second goal of the first period against Massachusetts Lowell in their Frozen Four national semifinal game Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale's Andrew Miller beats Massachusetts Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for the game-winning goal in overtime in their national semifinal game in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm stops Massachusetts Lowell's Riley Wetmore during the second period of their national semifinal game in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale's Colin Dueck defends Massachusetts Lowell's Joseph Pendenza during the first period of their national semifinal game in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Massachusetts Lowell's Josh Holmstrom (12) celebrates with Riley Wetmore after Wetmore's second-period goal against Yale in their Frozen Four national semifinal game Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Massachusetts Lowell's Riley Wetmore beats Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm for a second-period goal in their Frozen Four national semifinal game Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale right wing Antoine Laganiere (28) gets the puck behind Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the first period of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Massachusetts Lowell center Joseph Pendenza (14) celebrates his second-period goal against Yale with Jake Suter (28) during their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm (33) can't stop a shot by Massachusetts Lowell's Riley Wetmore (right) during the second period of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale's Josh Balch (left) is checked to the ice by Massachusetts Lowell defenseman Jake Suter (28) as goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a sprawling save during the first period of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
The Yale bench piles on right wing Andrew Miller to celebrate his game-winning overtime goal against Massachusetts Lowell during their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale right wing Andrew Miller (17) slips the puck between the legs of Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) in front of defenseman Chad Ruhwedel (3) for the winning goal during overtime of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) lies in the crease as he reacts with defenseman Greg Amlong (22) and center Joseph Pendenza (14) to the winning goal by Yale's Andrew Miller during overtime of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Massachusetts Lowell forward Joseph Pendenza (14) checks Yale's Jesse Root (center) into Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the first period of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale right wing Andrew Miller (17) slips the puck between the legs of Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck for the winning goal during overtime of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Yale right wing Andrew Miller (17) celebrates his winning goal against Massachusetts Lowell with Kenny Agostino (18) during overtime of their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Massachusetts Lowell captain Riley Wetmore kneels on the ice while Yale celebrates a 3-2 overtime win after their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Massachusetts Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) and center Joseph Pendenza (14) wait on the ice while Yale celebrates a 3-2 overtime win after their national semifinal game in Frozen Four on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

It could be considered an upset, if only because Massachusetts Lowell was a No. 1 seed entering the Frozen Four at Consol Energy Center.

No. 4 seed Yale dominated large stretches of Thursday's first national semifinal, more than doubling UMass Lowell's shot total and finally securing a 3-2 victory on senior Andrew Miller's goal with 13:01 remaining in overtime.

“That's probably the biggest goal in the history of Yale hockey,” coach Keith Allain said of the Bulldogs' first win in the Frozen Four. The school's only other appearance in the Frozen Four in 1952 resulted in a loss.

Yale (21-12-3) faces Quinnipiac in Saturday's national championship game. The Bulldogs are the third No. 4 seed to advance to the championship game and the first ECAC team to play in the title game since Colgate in 1990.

“People can say what they say, but we beat some really good hockey teams,” Miller said.

Ninety minutes prior to the opening faceoff, Yale's players relaxed by kicking and heading a soccer ball in a hallway outside their locker room. The Bulldogs were so good, the ball rarely touched the ground.

When the game opened, Yale was the more relaxed team and played like it.

The Bulldogs were faster and more aggressive. They created tempo and kept the puck in UMass Lowell's end while peppering freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who was brilliant in defeat with 44 saves.

UMass Lowell coach Norn Bazin said it was apparent early that his team was struggling.

“The magic wasn't there in terms of skating and being able to adjust on the fly,” Bazin said of the River Hawks, who entered the Frozen Four having won 14 of their last 15 games. “Some days you're on and some days you're not. Today we were not.”

Yale's Mitch Witek picked the perfect time for his first goal of the season. Witek scored on the power play with 7:05 remaining in the first period. The goal was set up when UMass Lowell forward Shayne Thompson went off for high sticking.

Antoine Laganiere made it 2-0 when he tapped in a rebound of a Matt Killian shot with only 55 seconds left in the period. Yale outshot UMass Lowell, 11-5, in the opening period.

However, UMass Lowell flipped the momentum in the second period. The River Hawks exploded for two goals in less than 20 seconds to tie the score at 2-2.

Junior Riley Wentmore wrapped a backhander around goaltender Jeff Malcolm at the 5:22 mark. Dereck Arnold and Penguins 2011 draft pick Scott Wilson were credited with assists.

Fourteen seconds later, Joseph Pendenza received a clever backhand pass from A.J. White on the right wing. Pendenza's goal made it 2-2 at the 5:08 mark.

UMass Lowell attempted only three more shots the remainder of the game.

After regulation, Yale had attempted 40 shots to 18 for UMass Lowell. Hellebuyck's acrobatics in goal kept the score close early — and late. At game's end, Yale outshot UMass Lowell 47-18.

“It was a good bouncing puck, and I think it caught a defenseman flat footed,” Miller said of his game winner. “They have a really good goaltender, and he played a really good game. We were able to put one past them, and it's an honor to move on.”

“It was as good an effort that we've had,” Allain said. “As much as we created offensively, I thought we were rock-solid defensively.”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.

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