April 25, 2018

Frozen Four: How everything went wrong for MI hockey in final seconds

07 April 2018, 12:21 | Donald Newman

2018 Frozen Four schedule, start times and live streams

By Slender Ice to Frozen Four: The Not Likely Saga of Minnesota-Duluth

Later in OT, senior defenseman Willie Raskob one-timed a pass from senior wing Alex Iafallo for the game-winner to send the Bulldogs onward in the NCAA tournament and, eventually, to the national championship game. The Irish scored in the closing minute of the Big Ten semifinals against Penn State, won the B1G title in overtime against Ohio State, needed overtime to get past Michigan Tech in the first round of the NCAA tournament and scored with 27 seconds remaining against Providence to advance to the Frozen Four.

Calderone scored midway through the first and Dancs shot from the left wall deflected off the arm of Notre Dame's Dennis Gilbert in front of the net for a 2-0 MI lead 17 seconds into the middle period. Cale Morris and the Irish penalty kill unit stepped up yet again to preserve the 3-2 lead. The victor will take on the victor of Ohio State and Minnesota-Duluth for the national championship Saturday night.

Just about five minutes later Jake Evans shocked the Wolverines with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, giving the Irish an opportunity to complete for their first ever National Championship.

Burke struck early in the third period and looked poised to be the hero until Michael Pastujov banged home a rebound to tie it for MI.

Evans converted on a give-and go with linemate Cam Morrison, poking a shot between the pads of MI goaltender Hayden Lavigne.

The Notre Dame rally began on the power play when Oglevie got the Irish on the board with his 14th of the season.

Tanner Laczynski would convert on the power play in the third period for the Scarlet and Gray, but that would not be enough to counter the tallies by Louie Roehl and Jared Thomas.

It was Notre Dame's most dramatic goal yet in a postseason of cardiac-inducing finishes.

Lavigne made 35 mostly tremendous saves that day. Michigan's Lavigne matched him with 25 saves on the evening.

Hayden Lavigne thought he got enough of the puck to make the save. "My energy will always be a little low; but I've kind of gotten used to it". The puck went off Hughes' skate, then beat Lavigne five-hole.

Coming into the Frozen Four, the Fighting Irish had won four straight games by scoring in the final minute or overtime. He carried the puck in towards the circle before finding Evans in the high slot, who wristed it into the upper-left corner of the goal to tie things at two. Cal Burke and Jake Evans were lights out tonight for the Irish.

Defense mattered for the young Bulldogs when a 17-4 shot advantage in their favor in the first period flipped when a more aggressive Ohio State squad outshot them, 16-11, in the final two periods on Thursday night.

Notre Dame last made the title game in 2008, ultimately losing to Boston College. The teams split four games in the regular season. All six did, and the Bulldogs edged in-state rival Minnesota by one-ten thousandth of a percentage point in the RPI ratings to earn the final at-large spot in the 16-team NCAA tournament. Duluth lost 3-2 to Denver in the title game last season in Chicago.

Evans now has 13 goals and a team-leading 32 assists and 45 points in 39 games during the 2017-18 campaign. That was the program's one and only appearance in a Frozen Four.

Puck drop on Saturday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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