Notre Dame hockey will play for a national championship tomorrow night thanks to yet another heart-stopping victory in what’s become a spring full of them last night. The Irish’s Jake Evans scored the winning goal with 5.2 seconds to go to give ND a 4-3 win over Michigan. That sends ND on to the finals in St. Paul, which will be a virtual road game against Minnesota-Duluth, who beat Ohio State in the other semifinal.

Evans’ goal was, as the Old Man in A Christmas Story once said about a lamp, indescribably beautiful, going double five-hole on the Wolverines:

Evans beautifully manages to maneuver the puck between the Michigan defender’s legs AND those of the netminder to win it. It’s insane.

The Irish trailed 2-0 after the Wolverines put in a goal 17 seconds into the second period before igniting. Andrew Oglevie scored on the power play just a couple of minutes after UM went up by two, and Evans sniped one from the blue line a couple of minutes after that to tie things up. From then on, the Irish dominated the period, although they didn’t score again.

The score stayed tied into the third, when Dylan Malmquist snagged a loose puck out of a face-off, bolted to the other side of the rink and fed Cal Burke for a beautiful goal that made it 3-2 ND. However, Michigan attacked the net relentlessly the rest of the period and scored a game-tying goal with five minutes to go. Only some tremendous play by the national goaltender of the year, Cale Morris, prevented Michigan from winning the game.

ND’s final goal is the stuff of legends. Many of us fans were probably resigned to overtime when the Irish finally gained possession of the puck in their own end with 12 seconds to go. Cam Morrison and Evans were not, and laser-beamed to the other end, similar to the Malmquist/Burke play from earlier in the period, setting up Evans’ Houdini goal.

The Irish have been dubbed the ‘cardiac kids’ by coach Jeff Jackson and it’s not hard to see why. Their last five wins:

  • Jack Jenkins scores with 31 seconds to go to beat Penn State (B1G semifinals)
  • Cam Morrison scores in OT to beat Ohio State (B1G finals)
  • Jordan Gross scores in OT to beat Michigan Tech (1st round NCAA)
  • Dylan Malmquist scores with 27 seconds to go to beat Providence (NCAA regional final)
  • Evans wins it with 5.2 seconds to go to beat Michigan (National semifinal)

There’s only one more nail-biter left in this crazy Notre Dame spring. Shall we end it with another title?

(Photo credit: AP)