On March 28 Jesse Root ’14 scored just nine seconds into overtime of the Western Regional semifinals to send the No. 2-ranked Minnesota Gophers packing. The next night, he scored another game-winning goal as the Bulldogs defeated North Dakota to advance to Yale’s first Frozen Four since 1952. The Pittsburgh native sat down with the News to talk about his team’s recent run of success and the Elis’ upcoming trip to Pittsburgh for a national semifinal matchup with Massachusetts-Lowell.
Q: How did it feel last weekend not only to succeed as a team, but also personally to have scored the game-winning goals in two exciting and important games?
A: The most exciting part was getting to the Frozen Four.
Q: How are you generating so many prime scoring opportunities, especially at this crucial point in the season?
A: I don’t think anything has really changed except maybe a little more intensity knowing that it’s either win or go home.
Q: What has clicked in your line over the past few weeks?
A: I think we’re just more used to playing with each other. We’ve been back together for a couple weeks now so that’s been helpful.
Q: What have the team’s practices been like for the past week? Are you happy with where the team is?
A: They’ve been as intense and as focused as they’ve been all year.
Q: Does all the media and on-campus attention help to energize the team? Does it ever make it hard to focus?
A: All the support on campus has been outstanding and we really appreciate the continued support from the Yale community.
Q: What’s it like to be going home for the Frozen Four? Will your family and friends be coming out to support you and the team?
A: It’s really exciting. I have a lot of family and friends coming to the games and I couldn’t be happier to be playing in front of them.
Q: Is the playoff mindset different than that of the regular season? Does the higher level of competition factor into how you look at or prepare for the games?
A: No, we prepare the same way for every team but it all comes down to our in-game execution.
Q: Did you previously play with anyone currently on UMass when you were younger or at Taft?
A: Yes, I actually played on a line with Joe Pendenza when I played for the Boston Junior Bruins in 2010.