The fourth time was the charm.
Yale University shook off three earlier losses this season to league rival and top-ranked Quinnipiac University with a 4-0 win on Saturday night in the NCAA Division I national title game before a crowd of 18,184 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The victory in the latest "Battle of Connecticut" in this year's NCAA Frozen Four earned Yale, the 15th seed overall in the 2013 NCAA tournament, its first national championship in its 117-year-hockey history. It also marked the first Eastern College Athletic Conference national crown in 24 years, since Harvard beat Minnesota, 4-3 in overtime, in 1989.
Clinton Bourbonais broke a scoreless deadlock with his redirection of a Gus Young shot with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second period, and Jeff Malcolm made 36 saves on his 24th birthday to provide Yale with all the tools it needed.
“He did what great goaltenders do,” said seventh-year Yale head coach and former Bulldog netminder Keith Allain at NCAA.com. “He gave us a chance to win.”
Charles Orzetti, captain Andrew Miller, and Pittsburgh native Jesse Root (empty-netter) produced third-period goals as Yale (22-12-3 overall) won its fourth straight game against a ranked team, and its third against a No. 1 seed in this year's national tournament.
Miller, who also scored the game-winning goal in Yale’s 3-2 OT win over UMass Lowell in a national semifinal on Thursday, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Root had powered the Bulldogs into the NCAA West Regional final in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Good Friday with his goal just nine seconds into sudden death in a 3-2 triumph over second-ranked Minnesota. The next day, Yale scored four times in the final eight minutes to eliminate No. 7 North Dakota, 4-1.
Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist Eric Hartzell made 27 stops in his final appearance for Quinnipiac (30-8-5), which had just defeated Yale three weeks prior by a 3-0 count in the ECAC Tournament consolation game in Atlantic City. The Bobcats were ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the 2012-13 campaign, and had outscored Yale by a 13-3 count in their previous three meetings.
Not on Saturday night, though, sending the NCAA trophy to New Haven, Conn. for the first time.