It wasn’t quite a re-creation of Justin Holl’s iconic 0.6 goal, but it was as close as you’re going to get. With a face-off in the Notre Dame zone and about 12 seconds left on the clock and the game deadlocked, the game appeared headed to overtime.
But Notre Dame broke the puck out of their zone with Cam Morrison taking the puck up the ice on a 2-on-2 rush. Morrison drove wide down the left wing and made a pass to the slot, where Jake Evans one-timed a low shot that beat Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne with 5.2 seconds left in regulation to give Notre Dame a 4-3 lead and earn them a spot in Saturday’s national championship game.
It was a wild ride to get to that point. Michigan took a 1-0 first period lead on a Tony Calderone goal, and appeared to be in great shape when they moved ahead 2-0 17 seconds into the second period when a Dexter Dancs shot hit off a Notre Dame defender and deflected into the net.
But from that point, the Irish took control of the game and within six minutes, Notre Dame had tied the game at two on goals by Andrew Oglevie and Jake Evans.
When Notre Dame took a 3-2 lead early in the second period on a goal by Cal Burke, the Irish seemed to be in control of the game. But as Notre Dame sat back and tried to protect their lead, Michigan took advantage when Michael Pastujov scored a rebound goal to knot the game at three, setting up Evans last-second heroics.
The win is Notre Dame’s fifth consecutive one-goal victory, and puts them just one game away from their first national title.
Notes and Thoughts
-Notre Dame was the better team here tonight, but Michigan did what they needed to do to give themselves a chance to win this game. I wrote in my preview that Michigan needed to win the first line battle and get a little bit of luck. They did that with their first line striking early in the first period to put them ahead, and then caught a lucky break to get that second goal. Perhaps coincidental, but Evans’ game-winning goal evened the first line scoring at two apiece.
-Michigan getting that early lead actually forced Notre Dame to attempt to score, and made this game pretty fun to watch. When the Irish went up 3-2 early in the third period, the pace of the game slowed to a crawl. Luckily, Michigan was able to take advantage of a fortunate bounce and knot up the game to make the ending a little more interesting.
-It’s a tough end for Michigan, but it’s hard to feel bad when the better team clearly one. This tournament format is such that even with inferior goaltending, one good forward line, and one good defensive pair, a team still has a decent shot at winning because hockey. But the odds were stacked against Michigan and eventually, they caught up to them.
Shots on goal: ND: 9-15-3-25 MICH: 9-6-10-25
Shot attempts: ND: 23-28-7-58 MICH: 13-18-25-56
Prime scoring area attempts: ND: 6-10-4-20 MICH: 3-4-6-13
What do the numbers tell us?
This game had some huge swings in momentum both ways that resulted in a pretty close game. Notre Dame dominated the latter half of the first period and second period, then tried to go into a shell in the third period which allowed Michigan to even up the possession numbers. Neither team was getting a ton of looks in quality scoring areas, but Notre Dame made two of them in the third period count.
8:19 Tony Calderone from Dexter Dancs and Cooper Marody 1-0 Michigan
Dancs cycled the puck to Calderone in the left circle. Calderone walked out with the puck to the left circle and fired a wrist shot before Notre Dame could get a shot blocker in the shooting lane. His shot beat Morris for the goal.
0:17 Dexter Dancs from Tony Calderone and Joseph Cecconi 2-0 Michigan
Dancs took a high wrist shot towards the goal from the left half-boards. His shot was going wide, but deflected the shoulder of Notre Dame’s Dennis Gilbert and into the net.
2:41 Andrew Oglevie from Jake Evans and Jordan Gross (power play) 2-1 Michigan
Michigan blocked a Gross slap shot from the point, but Evans collected the rebound, and with Michigan scrambling, fed an open Oglevie at the left point. Oglevie’s wrist shot from the top of the circle beat Lavigne to the far side.
6:20 Jake Evans from Jordan Gross 2-2 tie
Off a Notre Dame faceoff win in the Michigan zone, Gross skated the puck towards the right half boards and fed a pass to the high slot where Evans one-timed a slap shot. Evans didn’t get all of the shot, but got enough of it to beat a screened Lavigne up high and tie the game.
1:35 Cal Burke from Dylan Malmquist and Andrew Oglevie 3-2 Notre Dame
Malmquist carried the puck down the left wing on a 2-on-2 rush and fed the puck to Burke in the middle of the ice. His one-timed shot leaked through Lavigne for the goal.
14:38 Michael Pastujov from Jack Becker and Nick Pastujov 3-3 tie
Pastujov got a loose puck at the mouth of the goal crease. His first attempt was stopped, but a failed clear by Notre Dame off one of their own players bounced back to Pastujov, and he was able to get his second attempt over Morris for the goal.
19:54 Jake Evans from Cam Morrison and Jack Jenkins 4-3 Notre Dame
Morrison skated the puck down the left wing wide and made a pass to the slot. Evans got his stick on the puck and put it through the five hole of Lavigne for the goal.