April 8, 2011
Saint Paul, Minn. – Special teams were the name of the game on Thursday afternoon in the opening game of the NCAA Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center as Minnesota-Duluth used three power-play goals to end Notre Dame’s season with a 4-3 defeat.
J.T. Brown, Mike Connolly and Jack Connolly scored on the power play and Kyle Schmidt added the fourth goal as the Bulldogs built a 4-2 lead after two periods of play and held on for the 4-3 win.
For fourth-ranked Notre Dame, the loss ends the season with a 25-14-5 mark and a trip to the second Frozen Four in the program’s history. The win sends third-ranked Minnesota-Duluth to Saturday’s championship game against Michigan as the Wolverines shutout North Dakota, 2-0, in the second semifinal game.
“Obviously people can see that the game was dictated by one thing – special teams,” said head coach Jeff Jackson.
“It was exactly what we saw on film. They have an exceptional power play and we couldn’t generate any offense on our power play. I thought we played a good game five-on-five. Other than that the game was completely determined by special teams.”
The Irish got off to a fast start in the game as Costello put Notre Dame on top with his 12th goal of the season just 49 seconds into the game.
Ryan Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, fed the freshman left wing inside the UMD blue line and Costello whipped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Bulldog goaltender Kenny Reiter over his blocker and just inside the left post for the 1-0 lead.
Minnesota-Duluth evened the score at 3:04 of the first with their first of three power-play goals. With David Gerths off for hooking, Justin Faulk moved the puck from the left point to J.T. Brown in the left circle. Brown turned and fired a shot on the ice that beat Mike Johnson through his pads for Brown’s 16th goal of the season.
The Irish answered less than six minutes later on a Tynan’s 23rd goal of the season at 9:46. Nick Larson kept a Bulldog clearing attempt in at the right point and passed the puck across the blue line to Guentzel as he entered the UMD zone. Guentzel’s shot was wide of the goal but came off the boards to Tynan on the goal line. The freshman center tucked a shot inside the right post before Reiter could move across the crease to give the Irish a 2-1 lead.
Just 1:06 later, the Bulldogs got their lone even strength goal of the night when Schmidt broke down the left side and beat Johnson with a shot to the short side for his 10th of the year at 10:52 to tie the game at 2-2.
The Minnesota-Duluth power play gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 13:31 when Mike Connolly netted his 28th goal of the season, whipping a shot from the between the hash marks past Johnson for a 3-2 lead. Justin Fontaine picked up his second assist of the night and Justin Faulk his third on the play.
The goal ended a five-goal opening period where the Irish out shot the Bulldogs 15-11.
The second period saw just one goal as Minnesota-Duluth netted its third power-play goal of the night, this time by Jack Connolly who beat Johnson from the right face-off dot at 5:51 for his 18th goal of the season to give the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead.
The Irish couldn’t get anything going offensively and had just four shots in the period.
“I thought after Duluth scored the third goal, we dipped a little bit emotionally and that our youth showed up a little,” said Jackson.
“I thought our body language got bad and I gave it to them after the second and they responded, something they’ve done all year. I’m proud of what these kids did. They played a great team tonight for this team with that many young kids. It’s a credit to the seniors specifically, but the entire team for doing a great job all season long.”
The Irish got back in the game in the third with Ridderwall scoring his 16th goal of the year, this one short-handed at 2:05 to cut the UMD to 4-3 with plenty of time left in the contest.
With Riley Sheahan off for a penalty and the Bulldogs on the attack, defenseman Sean Lorenz broke up a play in front and got the puck to Ben Ryan who moved it ahead to Ridderwall in the neutral zone. The senior left wing carried it into the Bulldog zone and hammered a slapshot past Reiter’s glove and off the right post for his 16th goal of the season.
Notre Dame carried the play in the third, out shooting Minnesota-Duluth, 15-2, in the period but could not score again in the game.
For the night, the Irish had a 34-21 edge in shots. Reiter finished with 31 saves while Johnson had 17 for the night. The Bulldogs were 3-for-6 on the power play while Notre Dame was 0-for-5.
** Calle Ridderwall’s short-handed goal was the 13th of the season for Notre Dame and ties the Irish for first in the nation in that category.
** Jeff Costello’s goal just 49 seconds into the game was the fastest goal in NCAA Tournament play for the Irish. In 2004, Cory McLean scored 54 seconds into an NCAA game versus Minnesota.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#4/#9 Notre Dame (25-14-5) 2 0 1 - 3#3/#11 Minnesota-Duluth (25-10-6) 3 1 0 - 4
Scoring First Period: ND: Jeff Costello 12 (Ryan Guentzel, Sean Lorenz), 00:49; UMD: J.T. Brown 16 (Justin Faulk, Justin Fontaine), PPG, 3:04; ND: T.J. Tynan 23 (Guentzel, Nick Larson), 9:46; UMD: Kyle Schmidt 10 (Joe Basaraba, Faulk), 10:52; UMD: Mike Connolly 28 (Fontaine, Faulk), PPG, 13:31.
Penalties: ND: 4 for 8 minutes; UMD: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: UMD: Jack Connolly 18 (Brown, Fontaine), PPG, 5:51.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UMD: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UMD: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 15 - 4 - 15 - 34Minnesota-Duluth 11 - 8 - 2 - 21
Goaltender Saves:ND: Mike Johnson (58:34) 8 - 7 - 2 - 17UMD: Kenny Reiter (60:00) 13 - 4 - 14 - 31
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 5UMD: 3 for 6
Attendance: 19,139 (sellout)