March 22, 2017
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame and Minnesota will meet for the sixth consecutive season on Saturday afternoon, but this season’s meeting comes with higher stakes as the squads square off in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Northeast Regional.
Future Big Ten foes, the Irish and Gophers will play at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. The winner will then play in the 2017 NCAA Northeast Regional Championship game at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 26 against the winner of Saturday’s first game between No. 2 seed UMass Lowell and No. 3 seed Cornell.
It marks the second consecutive season, the fourth time in the last five years and the ninth time in program history the Fighting Irish have made the NCAA Championship field. It will also be the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance by the Irish under head coach Jeff Jackson, who led the Irish to Frozen Four appearances in 2008 and 2011.
Matchup: No. 4 seed Notre Dame vs. No. 1 seed Minnesota
Date: Saturday, March 25
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Site: Manchester, New Hampshire
Arena: SNHU Arena
Play-By-Play: Allen Bestwick
Analyst: Billy Jaffe
Live Streaming: WatchESPN
Live Radio | Audio: WZOC 94.3 FM | WatchND
Play-by-Play: Darin Pritchett
Live Stats: / HockeyEastOnline.com
Live Updates: @NDHockey
Series History: Minnesota leads, 27-15-3 (45 games)
Notre Dame’s Northeast Regional History
- Notre Dame’s run to the 2011 Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota started at the Northeast Regional in Manchester, New Hampshire in what was then called the Verizon Wireless Arena.
- In the opening round, the Irish defeated Merrimack, 3-2, on an Anders Lee goal scored at 5:18 of overtime.
- Then in the Northeast Regional Final, Notre Dame downed New Hampshire, 2-1, to advance to the Frozen Four for the second time in program history.
- Mike Johnson made 37 saves in the regional final, while Stephen Johns and Billy Maday scored for the Irish.
- Johnson was named the 2011 Northeast Regional’s Most Valuable Player.
Against the 2017 NCAA Tournament Field
- The Irish are 7-6-2 against the NCAA Tournament field, including games against Minnesota Duluth (1-1-0), Penn State (0-1-1), UMass Lowell (1-2-0), Michigan Tech (1-1-0), Providence College (3-0-1) and Boston University (1-1-0).
Versus Minnesota in NCAA Play
- Notre Dame’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance came against Minnesota on March 27, 2004 in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- The Golden Gophers won 5-2 on that day.
- Future conference opponents starting with the 2017-18 season when Notre Dame joins the Big Ten as an affiliate member for hockey, the Fighting Irish and Golden Gophers will be meeting for the sixth consecutive season and for the 46th time overall on Saturday afternoon.
- In the eight meetings over the previous five seasons (2011-16), Notre Dame is 3-5-0 against Minnesota.
- Last season, the teams split a series at the Compton Family Ice Arena (Nov. 6-7, 2015), with Notre Dame winning game one, 4-3, and Minnesota taking game two, 4-1.
- In the game one win, Minnesota native Jordan Gross scored the game winner with under two minutes to play in the third period.
Notre Dame – Minnesota Connections
- Don Lucia, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate and Minnesota’s head coach, played four seasons at Notre Dame for head coach Lefty Smith (1977-81).
- As a defenseman,Lucia saw action in 124 games, scored seven goals and added 23 assists for 30 points and he was an alternate captain as a senior.
- Don’s son, Mario, played forward for the Irish under head coach Jeff Jackson from 2012-16 and he is in the midst of his first full professional season with Minnesota’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild.
- Minnesota Associate Head Coach Mike Guentzel’s son, Ryan, also played for coach Jackson at Notre Dame from 2007-11.
- The Irish roster features seven Minnesota natives, the most of any state.
Coach Jackson in the NCAA Tournament
- In addition to leading Notre Dame to eight NCAA Championship appearances and two Frozen Fours, Jeff Jackson coached at Lake Superior State from 1990-96, leading the Lakers to six NCAA appearances and two national titles.
- Jackson’s 14 appearances are the second-most by a 2017 NCAA Tournament coach, trailing Don Lucia’s 18.
- Jackson led Lake Superior State to NCAA titles in 1992 and 1994, while also leading the Lakers to a championship game appearance in 1993.
- Jackson and Lucia are also the only head coaches in the 2017 field with multiple national championships.
Notre Dame’s All-Time NCAA Tournament Results
Notre Dame is 6-8-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games (6-7-0 under Head Coach Jeff Jackson):
2004 – Midwest Regional (at Grand Rapids, Mich.)
L — Minnesota 5, Notre Dame 2
2006 – Midwest Regional (at Grand Rapids, Mich.)
W — Notre Dame 3, Alabama-Huntsville 2 (2 OT)
L — Michigan State, 2 Notre Dame 1
2008 – West Regional (at Colorado Springs, Colo.)
ÂW — Notre Dame 7, New Hampshire 3
W — Notre Dame 3, Michigan State 1
2008 – NCAA Frozen Four (at Denver, Colo.)
W — Notre Dame 5, Michigan 4 (OT)
L — Boston College 4, Notre Dame 1
2009 – Midwest Regional (at Grand Rapids, Mich.)
L — Bemidji State 5, Notre Dame 1
2011 – Northeast Regional (at Manchester, N.H.)
W — Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 3 (OT)
W — Notre Dame 2, New Hampshire 1
2011 – NCAA Frozen Four (at St. Paul, Minn.)
L — Minnesota Duluth 4, Notre Dame 3
2013 – Midwest Regional (at Toledo, Ohio)
L – St. Cloud State 4, Notre Dame 1
2014 – West Regional (at St. Paul, Minn.)
L – St. Cloud State 4, Notre Dame 3 (OT)
2016 – Midwest Regional (at Cincinnati, Ohio)
L – Michigan 3, Notre Dame 2 (OT)
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).