Frozen Four capsules
YALE VS. UMASS LOWELL
Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Yale at a glance: Seeded 15th in the 16-team NCAA tourney field, Yale (20-12-3 overall, 12-9-1 ECAC) upset the Gophers and North Dakota at the West Regional to get to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1952. The Bulldogs are led offensively by junior forward Kenny Agostino, a New Jersey native who has 40 points in 35 games and is a Calgary Flames draft pick. Sophomore defenseman Tommy Fallen, from Plymouth, is the lone Minnesotan on coach Keith Allain’s roster. Famous Yale hockey alumni include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who played on the JV team in the early 1960s, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a two-time letterman in goal for the Bulldogs, who graduated in 1969.
UMass Lowell at a glance: UMass Lowell (28-10-2, 16-9-2 Hockey East) is the hottest team in the field, having won seven in a row — including victories over Wisconsin and New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional — to get to the Frozen Four for the first time. Norm Bazin is in the second season as head coach at his alma mater. He spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado College and survived a near-fatal car accident a decade ago while on a recruiting trip for the Tigers in Washington state. UMass Lowell won a trio of NCAA Division II hockey titles in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including a 6-4 triumph over Minnesota State in the 1979 national title game.
ST. CLOUD STATE VS. QUINNIPIAC
Thursday, 7 p.m., Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
St. Cloud State at a glance: A trip to the Frozen Four was the second milestone for St. Cloud State (25-15-1, 18-9-1 WCHA) this season, after the Huskies won a share of their first WCHA title on the opening weekend of March. Despite those accolades, an unimpressive 5-6-0 nonconference record had the Huskies on the bubble to even make the NCAA tourney. They erased doubts about their legitimacy in the Midwest Regional with two lopsided wins, 5-1 win over Notre Dame and 4-1 over Miami (Ohio). Fifth-year senior forward Drew LeBlanc was the WCHA Player of the Year, an impressive comeback story. A nasty compound leg fracture sidelined him for much of last season. Former Gophers assistant Bob Motzko is in his eighth season as St. Cloud State coach.
Quinnipiac at a glance: After a 3-3-1 start, top-ranked Quinnipiac (29-7-5, 17-2-3 ECAC) snapped off a 21-game unbeaten streak to reach the top of the national polls. The Bobcats rallied for three goals in the third period to overcome 16th-seeded Canisius in its tourney opener, then upended Union 5-1 to win the East Regional. Senior goalie Eric Hartzell, from White Bear Lake, has all of the Bobcats’ wins, a 1.55 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. He is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Robb Stauber of the Gophers in 1988 and Ryan Miller of Michigan State in 2001 are the only goalies to win it.