March 23, 2018
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Notre Dame’s experience in close games paid off in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, as Jordan Gross‘ overtime goal sent the Fighting Irish past Michigan Tech, 4-3.
Notre Dame (26-9-2) entered the weekend as the overall second seed in the tournament and got everything it could handle from the WCHA-champion Huskies (22-17-5). After a scoreless first period, Michigan Tech took the lead before the Irish responded to take a 2-1 advantage with a pair of goals less than five minutes apart in the second.
Notre Dame held the lead into the third period, but the Huskies quickly tied it, as Gavin Gould found the back of the net just 56 seconds in to the third.
Gross looked to be the hero as he scored a power-play goal at 6:19 of the third to put the Irish back on top. The Huskies had other ideas, however, as Jake Jackson beat Cale Morris with 56 seconds to play, tying things up.
It was an eventful overtime period, as both teams had multiple chances to end the contest. Gross reaffirmed his role as hero, as he took a wrist shot from the center point on a feed from Jake Evans and beat Tech’s Patrick Munson to send the Irish to the East Regional Final. The possession started with a Cam Morrison breakaway attempt that Munson was able to turn aside.
It marked the third one-goal victory in as many postseason games for Notre Dame. The Irish won the Big Ten semifinals with a 3-2 victory over Penn State as Jack Jenkins scored with 31 seconds left, before Cam Morrison scored at 9:23 of overtime to win the B1G title game over Ohio State.
Morris, a Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalist, finished the game with 36 saves for the Irish. His counterpart, Munson, made 28 saves.
The Irish went 1-for-2 on the power player, while Michigan Tech failed to score on its only extra-man attempt. The Huskies held a slight edge in faceoffs, 43-38.
NOTRE DAME GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
1-1 | The teams were battling for possession when Dylan Malmquist played it behind the Michigan Tech net. Andrew Oglevie poked it away from Michigan Tech defenseman Seamus Donohue and played a perfect drop pass to the back post where Malmquist swooped in to knock it home before Munson could slide back over to his left.
2-1 | The Irish took the lead less than four minutes later. Mike O’Leary dumped the puck in front from the right point to Colin Theisen who was able to redirect it in front where Joe Wegwerth was waiting. Wegwerth slammed it home above the right shoulder of Munson to put the Irish in front.
3-2 | The Irish took the lead again at 6:19 of the third period when, skating on the power play, Jordan Gross blasted a slapshot from the point low past Munson for his ninth goal of the season. Bobby Nardella and Oglevie assisted on the goal.
4-3 | After a pair of stunning saves by Morris and a diving clear off the goal line by Jack Jenkins, the Irish came back the other way. Cam Morrison skated into the Michigan Tech zone and his shot attempt was forced to the corner by Munson. Jenkins picked it up and played it to Evans behind the net who skated out to the left wall before sliding it to Gross at the center point. The senior’s shot beat Munson just inside the far post to give the Irish the victory.
- Jordan Gross had his third career two-goal game, while scoring his eighth career game winning goal. It was the defenseman’s third game-winning goal of the season.
- With a pair of assists, Andrew Oglevie had his 19th career multi-point game and 10th of the 2017-18 campaign.
- In five career NCAA tournament games, Oglevie has two goals and two assists for four points.
- Jordan Gross skated in the 156th consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Jake Evans skated in his 128th consecutive game dating back to his freshman season (155th overall).
- The Irish are 10-2-1 when tied after one period.
- Notre Dame is 20-1-0 when leading after two periods.
- In one-goal games this season, the Irish are 12-3-0.
- The Irish are 3-1-2 in overtime this season. It was the second-straight overtime game for Notre Dame, following a 3-2 extra-session win over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.
- It was the seventh overtime game in the NCAA tournament for Notre Dame, with the Irish holding a 5-2 record in those contests. The last NCAA game with an extra session was last year’s Northeast Regional Final, when Oglevie scored at 2:44 to send the Irish past UMass Lowell, 3-2, and into the Frozen Four.
- The Irish are 37-28-0 in postseason play under Jeff Jackson, including a mark of 9-8 in the NCAA tournament.
- Michigan Tech’s first shot on goal of the game came at 10:35 of the first period.
- In Notre Dame’s 10th NCAA appearance, the Irish are in the East Regional for the first time. Notre Dame has twice appeared in Northeast Regional, advancing to the Frozen Four on both occasions. The Irish have been placed in the Midwest five times and the West twice, advancing to one Frozen Four from the West.
Notre Dame advances to the regional final, where the Irish face the winner of tonight’s second semifinal game between second-seeded Providence College and third-seeded Clarkson. Faceoff for Saturday’s game is set for 6 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU and WatchESPN. The Irish will be looking to punch a ticket to their fourth Frozen Four, while returning to the national semifinals for the second consecutive year. The 2018 Frozen Four will be held April 5-7 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
— ND —