High marks all around for Pittsburgh as Frozen Four host city

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As the Yale hockey team celebrated under falling confetti Saturday night at Consol Energy Center, with the first national title in the program's 120-year history, Robert Morris athletic director Marty Galosi snuck onto the ice at the Zamboni entrance and took video with his cell phone to capture the moment.

It was a little slice of Pittsburgh history too, and begs the question: Will Pittsburgh host the Frozen Four again?

"Absolutely. That might be the adrenaline talking, but yes we want to host again. Yes," said Galosi, whose Colonials were the host school. "Pittsburgh shined on this one. I'm pretty proud of my hometown.

"I said something on Twitter that probably sounds cheesy, but Pittsburgh shined on this one in a lot of different ways."

The blare of marching bands and fans in hockey sweaters from every corner of the country descended upon Downtown for the four-day event that attracted a two-day total of 35,612 fans.

In the semifinals Thursday, Yale upset Massachusetts Lowell and Quinnipiac beat St. Cloud State to set up an all-Connecticut final Saturday between two rival programs about 10 miles apart in New Haven, Conn.

Yale, which had been on a hot streak since stumbling in the ECAC tournament, broke open the game with 3.5 seconds to play in the second period and went on to win, 4-0.

Goalie Jeff Malcom made 36 saves in the game of his career.

Attendance Saturday fell 239 tickets shy of a sellout, with 18,148 in the stands to watch a new team win a title in a city hosting its first NCAA championship in any sport.

"It was hard to know they or Pittsburgh had never hosted an NCAA championship," said Tom Nevala, chair of the Division I ice hockey committee and senior associate athletic director at Notre Dame. "They did a fabulous job and partnered with great folks. The crew at Consol [was] tremendous."

Attendance Thursday was announced at 17,438 but appeared to be fewer, which Nevala said can happen with a doubleheader that begins at 4:30.

"We'd love to fill it up to the brim every time, absolutely. But that was kind of negligible as far as I was concerned," said Nevala.

Still, Nevala said the execution of the event was great, and the committee is certain to consider Pittsburgh again.

"I would certainly consider it again. It was a great job by all involved," said Nevala, whose term ends later this season after a fourth and final year as chair.

Exactly when that could happen isn't as clear.

Philadelphia was awarded the Frozen Four for 2014, and bids for the next three championship sites -- 2015, 2016 and 2017 -- are due in July. Pittsburgh will not be among those next three bids, but could surface as a candidate in the years after that.

Galosi said final financial figures will be completed about 30 to 60 days from now, and will help officials evaluate how the event went. Robert Morris, along with significant backing from the Penguins, Visit Pittsburgh and Consol Energy Center organized the event in conjunction with the NCAA.

"Now that we've been through it once, a lot of questions are no longer unanswered," said Galosi. "It's like anything else. You can't simulate game speed. You can't simulate this. We've now been through at game speed and have a sense of the little idiosyncrasies and where we need to focus our attention more or less."

Pittsburgh fans were treated to several NHL prospects -- including Yale's Kenny Agostino, a former Penguin traded in the deal for Jarome Iginla, Quinnipiac's Jordan Samuels-Thomas and St. Cloud State's Ben Hanowski, who signed with Calgary Thursday.

And with the hometown edge was Mt. Lebanon native and Yale center Jesse Root, who this winter told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "It would be really cool to be back in Pittsburgh for [the Frozen Four] and have things come full circle in a sense."

On Saturday, it did.

"It's going to take a long time for this to even sink in," said Root. " We just kept our heads down, kept going and kept going. Now, we can finally look up and look around. I think we're going to like what we see."

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First Published April 15, 2013 4:00 AM


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