Bulldogs Prepare For Thursday Semifinal
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Bulldogs were busy on Wednesday preparing to face the nation's hottest team, UMass Lowell, in tomorrow's Frozen Four Semifinal. However, Yale did have to take care of some media obligations before and after its 60-minute skate on the new ice at Consol Energy Center.
A large selection of Elis were shuffled around between meetings with ESPN, Dial Global Sports Radio, ncaa.com and the Big Screen Network (scoreboard video) for an hour before getting 30 minutes to prepare for practice. A group of student-athletes sat with ESPN talent Barry Melrose, John Buccigross and Clay Matvick while other Bulldogs were in front of cameras for TV, scoreboard promotions or the ncaa's website.
Keith Allain's squad enjoyed a fast-paced and fun skate with a small crowd of fans, including many Yale alumni, watching in the stands. There were lots of smiles and happy faces under the blue helmets as they enjoyed the surroundings and basked in the glory of the moment.
Some things stood out as players, coaches and support staff looked around the inside of the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. On each level of the building, the tributes to great Penguins players and games are stunning pieces of art, including drawings, photos and statues of all sizes. Once you go through a portal into the seating area, all has been transformed into an NCAA Championship venue. That means all signs and ads you'd see during a Penguins game are covered. The dasher boards are all NCAA, Yale, UMass Lowell, Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State.
When the Elis finished their skate, the over 300 media credentialed for the weekend – other than ESPN - had a chance to ask questions. Captain Andrew Miller, Pittsburgh native Jesse Root and senior defenseman Colin Dueck joined Allain at the official press conference.
"It's an honor to be representing our school. We've worked hard just like every other team here. We're excited to play on Thursday and excited to play in this great rink and this great host city of Pittsburgh," said Miller during the press conference.
Allain was asked what he learned about his team with the wins over Minnesota and North Dakota.
"The one thing that was most impressive was their tenacity, their inner belief that if they stick with a plan they'll be successful, and just the commitment that they've made to one another and how close they are as a group. I think it shows through in a weekend like that."
While three Bulldogs and their coach were on stage to answer questions in a formal setting, the Yale locker room was open for media to pick the brains of the rest of the team. About 25 reporters – some with cameras - walked in to speak with players by their lockers.
After lunch at the hotel, the Elis had a few hours to rest before heading for the Frozen Four Reception at Heinz Field. And it wasn't the normal, rush-hour trip through a city. This bus was led by a police escort replete with sirens and flashing lights. A little overboard, but fun for everyone on the bus, including the driver.
The home of the Pittsburgh Steelers was a great place to hold the reception. Everyone had an opportunity to go into the stands and see the field and the scoreboard, which ran Frozen Four welcome messages and included the logos for all four schools.
The bus from Heinz took the team to Common Plea, a famous steakhouse in the Steel City for a fabulous meal. It was the perfect finishing touch on a great day in Pittsburgh.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director