PITTSBURGH — Quinnipiac beat Yale all season. Except when it mattered the most.

The Bulldogs stunned the Bobcats, the CONSOL Energy Center and the college hockey world on Saturday as they rode a wave of upsets to its completion: the national championship.

Sticks and helmets flew, goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13 disappeared into a sea of players and the Yale coaching staff swarmed head coach Keith Allain ’80 as the team sealed a 4–0 victory over Quinnipiac to claim its first NCAA Division I title in program history.

It was Yale’s first Frozen Four appearance since 1952, and made the nation’s oldest college hockey team the 19th program to join the list of DI national champions.

Malcolm stopped all 36 shots he faced, captain Andrew Miller ’13 scored one and earned a record-breaking 114th career assist, and Jesse Root ’14 put away the game with an empty-netter at 13:02 in the third period.

“This is a goal of ours and a dream,” said Malcolm, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday. “I’ve been tearing up earlier, but I mean it’s just an unbelievable feeling to share with the coaches and the team.”

The Elis broke through nearly 40 minutes of deadlock to take a 1–0 lead with just three-and-a-half seconds remaining in the second period. Defenseman Gus Young ’14 snagged a loose puck inside the blue line and shot it low on net while Clinton Bourbonais ’14 screened Hobey Baker runner-up Eric Hartzell, then deflected the shot through his legs.

That set the stage for the momentum to take a definitive turn in the third.

Left-winger Charles Orzetti ’16 started what would become a third-period scoring spree at 3:35, picking up his own rebound and niftily sliding it past Hartzell to put Yale up 2–0. Nine minutes later, right-winger Miller added to the tally for his second goal of the Frozen Four. The Yale captain picked up the puck in the middle of the ice, broke away, and fired a low shot through Hartzell’s five-hole.

Down 3–0, the Bobcats made a risky decision with nearly seven minutes remaining and decided to pull Hartzell in a 4-on-4 situation to give themselves a 5-on-4 advantage in hopes of breaking open the scoreboard.

But the plan backfired when Root won the faceoff and Miller shot out of the zone with the puck. He made a bounce pass off the boards to Root, who swooped in and scored on the empty net to seal the deal for the Bulldogs, 4–0.

“One of the things that I felt coming into the game tonight that gave us an edge is [Quinnipiac] hadn’t seen our A-game in the previous three games,” Allain said. “They saw the result of it, but I don’t think they knew what we had become as a hockey team. And I thought we could surprise them a little bit with that.”

Quinnipiac, which topped the national polls for most of the season, had beaten Yale in each of the teams’ previous three meetings. In their first matchup on Feb. 2, the Bobcats erased Yale’s early 2–0 lead with six unanswered goals. Yale fell to Quinnipiac again on Feb. 22 and in the ECAC consolation game on March 23, both times by a margin of three goals.

Yale has been surprising teams since this NCAA Tournament began. The Elis slipped into the bracket after Notre Dame’s defeat of Michigan gave them the last available slot. Yale successively took down No. 1-seeded Minnesota and No. 2 North Dakota in the West Regional before knocking out UMass-Lowell in overtime during the Frozen Four semifinal. By the time they were finished, the Elis had defeated the top three teams in the national rankings.

“If we look down the road and say we’re going to have to beat three number ones and a No. 2 seed, the task might have seemed daunting,” Allain said. “But we went into Grand Rapids and focused on Minnesota, took care of that job. We focused on North Dakota. When you chip away at it one at a time, obviously, it took a great deal of effort, but it’s not impossible, for sure.”

As silver confetti rained down at the conclusion of the championship game, Miller was named the third star of the game, Bourbonais was named the second, and Malcolm was named the first.

“Everyone played their hardest and competed their hardest,” said Miller, who was named the most outstanding player of the tournament. “To bring a national championship back to Yale is unbelievable.”

Yale has scheduled a celebration for the hockey team at Ingalls Rick at 5:00 p.m. today.

This article was updated to reflect the version published in print on April 15.

Correction: April 16

A previous version of this article stated that the men’s hockey team was the first Yale sport to win a NCAA team title since the men’s swimming team took one in 1953. In fact, the Yale women’s fencing program won NCAA team championships in 1984 and 1985.