Frozen Four notebook: Lebo fans Root for Yale
Yale's Jesse Root had a large contingent at Consol Energy Center for his homecoming. But the former Mt. Lebanon High School star was so focused on the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal against Massachusetts Lowell that he had no idea how many of his fans were on hand.
He didn't seem to care much, either.
“I don't know,” Root said after Yale upset the River Hawks, 3-2, in overtime to advance to the national championship game on Saturday. “My mom kept that under wraps.
“Warm-ups were pretty surreal, just looking around and being in the Penguins' arena. As a huge Penguins fan still, it's pretty incredible.
“We still have a job to do on Saturday now. It's awesome to have that opportunity. I'm focused on our next opponent.”
Root's father, David, counted 13 family members who were on hand, “and a lot of friends.”
Root, who came up through the local youth hockey ranks, took time to give a shoutout to his old team, the Pittsburgh Hornets, and to area youth hockey in general.
“Pittsburgh's hockey has come such a long way since when I started,” he said. “I had some great teachers and great coaches.”
It's in the name
Who knew Bulldogs take so well to the ice?
Yale's victory made it three straight years that teams with the Bulldogs nickname advanced to the national championship game. Ferris State lost to Boston College in the 2012 finals, and Minnesota-Duluth beat Michigan to win the title in 2011.
Yale captain Andrew Miller was named first star of the opening semifinal game.
The senior right wing had a secondary assist on the first goal and scored the winner. It was Miller's 17th goal this season.
The second star was Yale senior right wing Antoine Laganiere, who attempted a team-high seven shots and gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with a goal at 19:08 of the first period. It was his 15th goal.
The third star was UMass Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who stopped 44 shots, including 13 in the second, 16 in the third and six in overtime. Hellebuyck, a freshman, led the nation with a .953 save percentage and a 1.31 goals-against average.
For the record
Yale's Miller tied the school record for career assists (113) held by 1984 Olympian and former NHL player Bob Brooks, who played for the Bulldogs from 1979-83. Miller has at least one assist in each of Yale's three NCAA Tournament games.
When UMass Lowell posted a pair of goals 14 seconds apart in the second period to tie the game at 2-2, it marked the sixth-fastest back-to-back goals by one team in Frozen Four history. … The UMass Lowell-Yale game was only the second to go into overtime in the 2013 NCAA tourney; the other was Yale's win over Minnesota. The Bulldogs are 6-0-3 in OT this season; UML is 2-2-2.
Bob Cohn and Kevin Gorman are staff writers for Trib Total Media.