Wichita State guard Demetric Williams, left, celebrates with teammate Cleanthony Early after Williams hit a 3-pointer during Saturday’s NCAA Tournament victory over Ohio State in Los Angeles.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jesse Root scored the go-ahead goal with 4:56 left and Yale beat North Dakota 4-1 on Saturday in the NCAA West Regional final to reach the Frozen Four for the first time.
Fourth-seeded Yale (20-12-3) scored four times in the final 7:35.
“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.”
Josh Balch started the spree, and Root gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead on a power play, a day after scoring at 9 seconds of overtime in Yale’s 3-2 victory over top-seeded Minnesota.
“Both of my goals this weekend were special,” Root said. “Any time you get to move on is real special.”
Stu Wilson and Kenny Agostino added goals for Yale.
“It’s a great accomplishment for any team,” Yale senior forward Andrew Miller said. “We’ve been close. Getting over the hump and actually doing this is a great feeling.”
Corban Knight scored in the first period for North Dakota (22-13-7).
“It’s difficult to have a clear perspective of this,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “Yale played an outstanding game.”
Anthony Day added two assists for Yale.
Yale outshot North Dakota 39-25. The Bulldogs had a 25-16 advantage after the first two periods, but were constantly frustrated by the North Dakota defense and goaltender Clarke Saunders.
“I just told them, `Keep doing what you’re doing,”’ Allain said.
“We wanted to push it and find ways to score that second goal,” Hakstol said. “That would have been a game-changer.”
Saunders wound up with 35 saves for the Fighting Sioux. Jeff Malcolm stopped 24 shots for Yale.
Yale almost didn’t make the post-season and entered the 16-team NCAA national tournament this week as the final seed. The Bulldogs had been outscored 8-0 in two losses last weekend before entering the NCAAs.
“We have a young team and that helps us bounce back from tough weekends,” Miller said.
“I can tell you a lot. I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words,” Allain said. “I think you saw it for six periods and nine seconds the mental makeup of this hockey team. We were behind all game and didn’t get a bounce until Balch broke through at the end and that tells you a lot about this group. That’s what makes them special.”
Allain, a former NHL and Olympics assistant coach, is the third Yale graduate to be coach of the team.
“I probably wouldn’t be coaching in college hockey if it wasn’t for the Yale job,” he said. “I was pretty comfortable working in the National Hockey League. But Yale hockey has meant the world to me and will continue to be so. This was very special.”
The national semifinals are April 11 in Pittsburgh.
QUINNIPIAC 4, CANISIUS 3
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kevin Bui scored in a 6:26 span in the third period and top-seeded Quinnipiac overcame a two-deficit to beat Canisius.
The Bobcats, upset in the ECAC semifinals by Brown but still the No. 1 overall seed in the field of 16, will face defending national champion Boston College or Union on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Down 3-1, Quinnipiac (28-7-5) cut it to one on Peca’s goal at 8:02 of the third period. Samuels-Thomas tied it on a power play with 9:18 to go at 10:42, and Bui beat goalie Tony Capobianco off a rebound with 5:32 left.Connor Jones had a goal and an assist for the Bobcats.
Stephen Farrell and Duncan McKellar scored 44 seconds apart in the second period for Canisius (19-19-5), and Kyle Gibbons beat Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell at 3:43 of the third.
ST. CLOUD STATE 5, NOTRE DAME 1
TOLEDO, Ohio — Joey Benik had two goals and an assist to help fourth-seeded St. Cloud State beat top-seeded Notre Dame.
The Huskies (24-15-1) 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 Hanowski also scored, and Ryan Faragher made 17 saves.
Mike Voran had a short-handed goal in the third period for Notre Dame (25-13-3).
MIAMI (OHIO) 4, MINNESOTA STATE 0
TOLEDO, Ohio — Ryan McKay made 21 saves for his shutout of the season and Miami beat Minnesota State.
Curtis McKenzie scored midway through the second period and Marc Hagel, Cody Murphy and Max Cook added goals in the third for the second-seeded RedHawks (25-11-5). Miami made it past the first round of the tournament for the first time since 2010, its last trip to the Frozen Four.
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