Fifth overall seed Yale advanced to their first ever Frozen Four last weekend and will face off on Friday against #1 overall Ohio State. Here’s a quick look at the Bulldogs.
How They Got Here:
-26-8-1 overall record, 16-5-1 in conference play, second in the ECAC
-Lost ECAC playoff championship game to Colgate 2-1 in overtime
-Won NCAA quarterfinal vs. Colgate 2-1 in overtime
-Notable Season Series: 0-3 vs. Quinnipiac, 3-1 vs. Colgate, 1-1 vs. Harvard
What to Watch For:
-From a narrative and expectation standpoint, Yale is definitely the odd team out. Will Ohio State be able to finish off their first championship season? Is this finally the year that Hockey East breaks through against the mighty WCHA powers and brings a title to the league? Those are the big questions sucking up most of the oxygen heading into the weekend and doesn’t leave much room to talk about Yale. Each of the other three teams even has one of the final three Patty Kaz finalists to draw attention.
But the Bulldogs are at the Frozen Four for the first time in school history, with a good team that is the last survivor of a very deep ECAC conference. And it wouldn’t be the first time an ECAC team ruined a good WCHA storyline in the Frozen Four. Yale might not be drawing the same attention as the other teams in the tournament, but they’ve got as good a shot as any team left in the field.
-The formula for Yale to in State College this weekend is fairly simple. They’ve got to get out to an early lead and then choke the life out of their opponent defensively. The Bulldogs are 18-1-0 when they score first this season, and just 3-5-1 when they fall behind 1-0. That’s especially important this weekend because the Bulldogs don’t realistically have the firepower to get into a high-scoring shootout with any of the teams left. If it’s a 1-0, 2-1 type of game, it’s probably a coin flip game. If Yale gives up three goals, they probably can’t win.
-The way Yale gets that lead is most likely through the power play. Their power play converts at a ridiculous 41.2% on the season. Like many good power plays, things start on the blue line with junior defender Emma Seitz leading the team with six power play goals. The only defender with more power play goals in the nation will be her counterpart in Thursday’s game in Ohio State’s Sophie Jaques(who had 11).