Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

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

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Page 56 of 63 MAY 2018 57 as many weekends after doing so in fencing March 25 and women's bas- ketball April 1. In winning the Big Ten postseason title and getting to the NCAA cham- pionship game, the hockey team took a cue from the Notre Dame women's basketball program while displaying comparable composure and dramatic late-game heroics. • In the Big Ten semifinal versus Penn State March 10, junior forward Jack Jenkins scored with 30.5 seconds remaining in regulation for a 3-2 vic- tory. • A week later on St. Patrick's Day in the Big Ten championship game, sophomore forward Cam Morrison's dramatic tally 9:23 into overtime won the conference title against No. 5 Ohio State. The Big Ten competition/grind helped bring out the best in the Irish, who were joined in the Frozen Four by conference rivals Ohio State and Michigan. Penn State also made the 16-team field, while Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin all have won national titles the past 15 years. • On March 23 against Michigan Tech in round one of NCAA Tourna- ment action, senior Jordan Gross' sec- ond goal of the game, this one at the 16:24 mark of overtime, advanced the Irish past the WCHA champion, 4-3. The Huskies just missed winning in OT when Notre Dame's Jenkins knocked a rolling puck about an inch outside the goal line with a tremen- dous defensive play. • The next day the heroics belonged to junior forward Dylan Malmquist when his game-winning goal came with 27 seconds remaining in regula- tion, lifting Notre Dame to a 2-1 vic- tory versus Providence to capture the East Regional. • In the Frozen Four versus the Wolverines, after falling behind 2-0 early in the second quarter, the Irish rallied to a 4-3 victory when senior Jake Evans scored off a fast-break cen- tering pass from Morrison with 5.2 seconds remaining in the contest. The Wolverines dominated the first quarter, including a 15-2 advantage in face-offs, while taking a 1-0 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes and going up 2-0 just 17 seconds into the second period. Against Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame went to the late-game heroics well once too often. "I think back to the Michigan Tech game [in the first round] where the puck almost rolled into our net right before we scored the game-winner in overtime," Jackson said. "It's al- most like it's meant to be — but you can't rely on that. We can't go into the game thinking we're going to score the goal at the last minute. "I'd rather have won that game with a one-goal lead in the third and not have to go through that. But these kids have found a way to get it done." Until the end. FOUR IRISH SIGN WITH NHL The 2017-18 campaign supposedly was projected as a rebuilding one while adjusting to a strong new con- ference and losing two superb juniors, goaltender Cal Petersen and top scorer Anders Bjork, to the NHL. Instead, Notre Dame advanced to the Frozen Four a second consecutive year. Doing it a third straight — something not achieved since 2006-08 by Boston College, which defeated the Irish in the 2008 national title showdown — will be even more challenging. Standout seniors Jake Evans on of- fense and Jordan Gross on defense have signed with Montreal and Ari- zona, respectively. Meanwhile, junior mainstays Dennis Gilbert on defense (Chicago Blackhawks) and Andrew Oglevie on offense (Buffalo Sabres) also have inked with the NHL. Gilbert blocked 236 shots in his ca- reer, while Oglevie has been the top goal scorer each of the past two sea- sons for the Irish, finishing his career with 41 goals (nine game-winners) and 48 assists. Fortunately, Jackson, who has basi- cally been the Knute Rockne of the Notre Dame hockey program, has cultivated a championship culture/ program. "It'll certainly be a different look in our team, but we've got a lot of good players and fairly good group of leadership coming back," Jackson said. "It's a continuous cycle for us as coaches. It's just sometimes it's differ- ent people." ✦ JEFF JACKSON, JAKE EVANS, CALE MORRIS WIN TOP AWARDS Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena is looking more like a hardware store these days with all the team and individual awards achieved this past season. On April 3, head coach Jeff Jackson was honored with the Spencer Penrose Award, presented annu- ally by the American Hockey Coaches Association to the NCAA Division I Coach of the Year. He won the same award in 2007. In 13 seasons at Notre Dame, Jackson has taken Notre Dame to nine NCAA Tour- naments and captured a combined seven conference regular-season and tournament championships. A day later, senior captain Jake Evans was named college hockey's 2018 Senior CLASS Award winner, which is presented annually to a men's ice hockey senior student-athlete who thrives in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, Evans paced the team in points (46) and assists (33). The day before the title game versus Minnesota Duluth, sophomore goaltender Cale Morris merited the Richter Award as the nation's top netminder. The Larkspur, Colo., native led the nation in save percentage (.944) while playing 21 games against the country's top 15 scoring offenses and facing more shots than any other goaltender in the country (1,238). His 1.94 goals-against average ranked eighth in the country. "I don't know if there's any player in the country that's had as big an impact on their team as Cale Morris," Jackson said. — Lou Somogyi While playing against a stellar schedule and facing a national-high 1,238 shots on goal, sophomore goaltender Cale Morris led the country in save percentage (.944). PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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