Our Notre Dame hockey coverage has been lacking at 18S this season. This is in part due to the non-stop entertainment (good and bad) coming from the football and men’s basketball teams, and mostly because infant sons and prep sports reporting schedules make it hard to make time to watch ND hockey.
But we couldn’t miss this one, not after the Irish made a surprise run to the Frozen Four in Chicago after barely sneaking into the NCAA tournament as a #4 seed. ND won the Northeast Regional with a pair of dramatic wins, coming from two goals down to beat top seed Minnesota before knocking off #2 seed — and soon-to-be former conference mate — UMass-Lowell in overtime. The Lowell win avenged a 5-1 loss to the River Hawks in the Hockey East semifinals.
The Lowell highlights are available here while the Minnesota game was put on YouTube in its entirety by some enterprising soul. The comeback begins at about the 58:10 mark.
It was Andrew Oglevie that scored the winner against Lowell, but the lion’s share of the credit has to go to Anders Bjork, who assisted on all three ND goals in the game. (Fitting, as Bjork led the team in goals, assists and points this year.) Bjork managed to beat a handful of Lowell foes to a loose puck in the corner and made a spectacular feed to Oglevie, who was waiting to snipe the winner.
Oglevie and Bjork also spearheaded the comeback against Minnesota, each scoring a second-period goal within a minute of each other to tie the score at two. Bjork tallied the winner with just under nine minutes to go.
This sets the Irish up to face the top overall seed in the tournament, Denver, on Thursday night, Apr. 6. Face-off will be at approximately 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2 unless the previous semifinal between Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth goes long. (Interestingly, the Frozen Four will be comprised of a 1, a 2, a 3 and a 4 seed.) Hopefully ND will have a sizable home-ice advantage with the Frozen Four at the United Center and ND the only nearby school competing.
We’ll have a closer look at the ND/Denver matchup as it draws closer — does 11 days seem like a long lead time to anyone else, or is that just me?
(Photo from Mill City Sports)