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Yale forward Jesse Root returning home for Frozen Four

Yale’s Jesse Root is coming home.

The Bulldogs forward is a Pittsburgh native, and he’ll be playing for a national title in front of his friends and family when his team heads to there to play in the Frozen Four next week.

They wouldn’t be there without him.

Root was named the MVP of the West Region last weekend, as he helped lead the fourth-seeded Bulldogs to wins over national powers Minnesota and North Dakota. He scored the game-winning goal to knock off the top-ranked Gophers just nine seconds into overtime in round 1.

Root then scored what proved to be the decisive tally against the Fighting Sioux in the semifinals.

Now, instead of making the nine-hour drive to New Haven to watch him play (which they’ve done on several occasions), friends and family won’t have to travel far as his team chases a national championship next weekend.

“I’m excited for them,” Root said. “They’ll get to sleep in their own beds and make a 15-minute drive into the city to watch. It’s going to be a lot of fun to play in front of everyone.”

Root will also get to play in the Consol Energy Center, where his beloved Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice. “It’s going to bring back a lot of memories,” he said. “I’m really happy to be going back.”

Root is also cousins with former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. He said he doesn’t see the Hall of Famer a whole lot, as his family lives in Florida, but says that he refers to him as “Uncle Dan.”

His mother is hoping for a different kind of family reunion when the team gets to Pittsburgh.

“I have an Italian mother, and she’d like nothing better than to have the whole team over for a pasta dinner and feed us until we explode,” he said.