Familiar foes to battle for national title

It's going to be an all-Connecticut national championship game after Quinnipiac and Yale were victorious on Thursday.

Jordan Samuels-Thomas played a role in two of Quinnipiac's three first-period goals, and the Bobcats rode the early outburst to a 4-1 win over St. Cloud State in the Frozen Four at CONSOL Energy Center.

Samuels-Thomas scored a power-play goal 1:49 into the game, then picked up the lone assist on Ben Arnt's tally at the 5:07 mark.

Later on, Jeremy Langlois exited the penalty box and beat St. Cloud State goaltender Ryan Faragher to make it 3-0 at 11:19.

Joey Benik put the Huskies (25-16-1) on the board at 6:25 of the second period, but Kellen Jones restored the three-goal advantage eight minutes later.

Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell, one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, made nine of his 33 saves in the third period.

The Bobcats (30-7-5) will have to beat ECAC rival Yale for a fourth time this season on Saturday in order to capture their first NCAA Division I title.

Yale advanced to its first-ever national championship game when captain Andrew Miller scored just under seven minutes into overtime in Thursday's first semifinal contest against UMass-Lowell.

Antoine Laganiere and Mitch Witeck each scored once for the Bulldogs (21-12-3), who shocked Minnesota in the West Regional Opener before upending perennial powerhouse North Dakota in the regional final to reach Pittsburgh.

Jeff Malcolm made 16 saves to backstop the victory.

Joseph Pendenza and Riley Wetmore lit the lamp for UMass-Lowell (28-11-2), which won the Hockey East regular-season and playoff championships.

Connor Hellebuyck posted 44 saves in the setback.

The Bulldogs potted a pair of goals in the first to take control after 20 minutes, but the River Hawks responded with two goals in a 14-second span late in the second to even the score.

After peppering Hellebuyck with 16 shots in a scoreless third period, Yale finally broke through just under seven minutes into overtime when Miller chipped the puck past a defender at the blue line and recovered it just above the right circle before cutting in front and beating Hellebuyck with a backhander through the five-hole to send his team to victory.