Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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56 MAY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI I t was fitting that Notre Dame's 2017-18 hockey season ended with a one-goal verdict in the Frozen Four national title show- down. Less fitting was the Fighting Irish came up on the short end this time. After five consecutive one-goal vic- tories — most in the 11th hour, if not beyond — during postseason action that earned them the moniker "Car- diac Kids," head coach Jeff Jackson's Fighting Irish finished another superb campaign with a 2-1 heartbreaking defeat to Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA championship game April 7 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn. Notre Dame (28-10-2) entered the contest a remarkable 14-3 (.824) in one-goal outcomes. Meanwhile, the Cinderella Bulldogs, the last team to eke into the 16-team field by the thinnest of margins, ended the season with a 25-16-3 ledger — and ended up winning all four NCAA Tournament contests by one goal. "This group was unbelievable," said Jackson, who led Notre Dame to its fourth Frozen Four in the past 11 years, plus a Big Ten regular-season and postseason championship in its inaugural year in the league. "They were relentless, they were resilient. We had great leadership, and I feel awful for our seniors. They did a heck of a job all season long. "We still walked away with two trophies and played in the national championship game. So there's a lot to be said for what they accomplished this year. They had a 16-game win- ning streak [tied for second-longest in the NCAA since the 1993-94 season]. We had a great year in the Big Ten. We ran into a better team tonight, so we have to respect that." In all four of Notre Dame's NCAA Tournament games, the opposition scored first — but this time the re- silient Irish could not rally to victory after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. The Bulldogs were then on the cusp of breaking the game open early in the second period with back-to-back power-play opportunities, and they outshot Notre Dame 7-0 in the first five minutes of that period. Sopho- more goaltender Cale Morris and the defense withstood the early flurry and then capitalized minutes later on their own power play with junior An- drew Oglevie's team-high 15th goal of the season at 7:40 in the second period. Minnesota Duluth entered the con- test 22-0-1 in games where it held the lead after two periods, and it hung on to capture its second national title — both in St. Paul. They also won it in 2011 while defeating Notre Dame again by one goal (4-3) in a Frozen Four semifinal contest. Overall, the Bulldogs outshot the Irish 10-7 in the first period, 18-8 in the second and 7-5 in the third for a 35-20 advantage overall. The Duluth defense blocked 21 shots. "We needed to try [to] tie the game in the second, because once you get to the third period, they're a shut-down team," Jackson said. "They don't al- low much through the neutral zone." JUST SHORT OF THE HAT TRICK Notre Dame was attempting to cap- ture its third national title — a non- hockey version of the "hat trick" — in HEARTBREAK Amazing 'Cardiac Kids' fall 2-1 in national title game Senior forward Jake Evans' game-winning goal with 5.2 seconds left gave Notre Dame a 4-3 victory over Michigan in the Frozen Four April 5. The Fighting Irish lost two days later in the championship game. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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