Sudden-death overtime is one of the most pressure-packed situations in sports.
When the continuation of a team's season hangs in the balance, like it was Thursday at the Frozen Four, the moment is bigger and the pressure greater.
Some how, some way, this Yale hockey team usually finds a way to finish on top.
After a 3-2 overtime victory against Massachusetts Lowell Thursday night in the national semifinals at Consol Energy Center, the Bulldogs are 6-0-3 in overtime games this season.
Some players were not sure of the exact statistic, but every team member is aware that there's something about these Bulldogs that they excel with the game on the line.
"I think overtime just suits our hockey team really well," junior forward Kenny Agostino said. "Just our whole mentality and the atmosphere around our guys -- we're just a hard-working, honest hockey team.
"We really do have a do-or-die mentality, and our mental toughness is what really separates us."
Slow starts for Lowell
Massachusetts Lowell continued a trend that dogged the River Hawks late in the season -- a slow start.
In their previous seven games, the River Hawks scored 21 goals in those contests, but only two in the first period.
After a scoreless first period in which they were outshot, 11-5, by Yale, Massachusetts Lowell got two goals 14 seconds apart late in the second period to tie the score.
But, after overcoming such a dangerous trend much of the past month, this comeback from yet another slow start ultimately was not enough to salvage a win.
"I think that just relates to the start -- just be more aggressive instead of sitting back and tonight we sat back for a good 10 minutes in the first," said sophomore forward Scott Wilson. "They were able to capitalize. I think not being able to score in the first just relates to not being aggressive in the beginning [of the game]."
Lack of penalties
A slew of players going in and out of the penalty box was not expected by anybody, but neither the Bulldogs or River Hawks could have anticipated this: There were 10 penalty minutes, with only two of those minutes belonging to Yale.
This season, Yale averaged 13.29 penalty minutes per game, while Massachusetts Lowell averaged 11.82 per game.
The loss was understandably painful for Massachusetts Lowell, but it concluded what was the most successful season in the River Hawks' history.
In addition to making the first Frozen Four for the first time, the River Hawks won 28 games and captured the regular-season and tournament championships in Hockey East.
A program that generated six wins two years ago and routinely played in the shadow of Boston College, Boston University and other nearby Hockey East powers, the season went a long way to putting the River Hawks on the map.
"I think we've obviously won a couple of championships, which is huge for us," Wilson said. "Lowell isn't the big BC who wins all of this stuff, but we really wanted this."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @craig_a_meyer. First Published April 12, 2013 4:30 AM