Senior F Andrew Miller scored the game-winning goal 6:59 into overtime as Yale defeated UMass Lowell, 3-2, Thursday night in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal at the Consol Energy Center.
With the loss, UMass Lowell ends its best season in its Division I history with a 28-11-2 record, which included the Hockey East regular season and tournament titles as well as the NCAA Northeast Region Championship.
Yale (21-12-3) moves on to the NCAA Championship Saturday (7:00) against the winner between Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State.
The loss also halted a seven game winning streak for the River Hawks, who return all but three seniors - Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.), Colin Wright (Burlington, Ont.) and Malcolm Lyles (Miami Gardens, Fla.) - for the 2013-14 season.
"(Yale has) an excellent hockey team, and they played a great game," said head coach Norm Bazin, who was named the recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award for Division I Coach of the Year Wednesday. "Certainly as far as we're concerned, I'm proud of this group for this season. But tonight, we certainly didn't have it."
UMass Lowell, which had surrendered only 18 first period goals this season, gave away two to the Bulldogs, but did well to even the score in the second period.
Yale also outshot UMass Lowell, 47-18, the latter a season-low for the River Hawks and a season-high for shots surrendered. Freshman G Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.) stopped 44 shots, also a high for the season, while senior Jeff Malcolm had 16 saves.
Miller scored the winner 6:59 into the extra session when he took a pass from freshman F Carson Cooper, went in alone on Hellebuyck, faked a backhand and slipped it in underneath.
Yale opened the scoring 12:55 into the first period in the closing seconds of a power play when freshman D Mitch Witek left fly from the right point and beat Hellebuyck to his glove side.
Yale outshot UMass Lowell 11-5 in the first period and doubled its lead with 51 seconds remaining. Sophomore F Matt Killian attempted to sneak in a shot from the right endline, which Hellebuyck poked free, but senior F Antoine Laganiere was there for the putback.
UMass Lowell nearly pulled one back 4:40 into the second period when Wetmore picked off a pass on a Yale power play and went in alone on Malcolm, only to lose control of the puck in an attempt to beat Malcolm to his glove side.
Wetmore would get his, however, the first of two just 14 seconds apart beginning at 14:38. Senior F Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) wristed into the slot where Wetmore, stationed in front of the net with his back to the goal, back handed to his right past Malcolm's stick side.
Nearly off the ensuing faceoff, freshman F A.J. White (Dearborn, Mich.) raced down the right side and dropped off for junior F Joe Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.), who beat Malcolm with a wrist shot inside the far post at 14:52.
A scoreless third period saw Yale build a 16-3 shots-on-target edge, with Hellebuyck maintaining his poise to force overtime.