Three teams have reached the Frozen Four after four members comprised the top 12 seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota-Duluth was the only non-Big Ten team represented. "I couldn't have predicted that". Despite the momentum boost, the Fighting Irish were in a good spot going into the third and didn't waste time proving it.
"When you are fighting for your life to get into the tournament, you are playing playoff hockey a couple weeks earlier than everyone else", Thomas said.
Jake Evans netted a game-winning goal with 5.2 seconds left on the clock, which is par for the course for Notre Dame in this years tournament.
Notre Dame is 7-7-0 this season when the opponent scores first and 7-5-0 when trailing at the first intermission.
UMD was the last at-large team selected for this year's NCAA tournament, slipping into the 16-team field by one-ten thousandth of a rating percentage index point.
Notre Dame, Ohio State and MI finished in first, second and third place, respectively, in the Big Ten and made up 75 percent of the teams in the men's Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Bulldogs (24-16-3) will face the Michigan/Notre Dame victor in national championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The last time a current member won the national title was Michigan State in 2007. "You know what, you just don't know". We had big question marks, there's no question about that. "There wasn't a lot of people who believed in us coming into the season". And it's something we talked about. "But, we played well as a team". And my only regret is I don't have more time with the seniors. Every weekend was a new experience for our freshmen. After that, they were on the defensive for a good stretch in the middle of the period. It's bigger, with more pressure, more scrutiny, and a whole lot more on the line. And I think that started to show in the second half.
"We've been a team that's been able to start fast the majority of the year", UMD junior center Peter Krieger said.
The Bulldogs needed less than two minutes to ignite the heavily partisan crowd, with freshman defenseman Roehl scoring his third career goal after a cross-ice pass from Matt Anderson. In addition to the Irish, No. 1-seeded Ohio State blew past the defending champion Denver 5-1 to reach the Frozen Four, and No. 2-seeded MI blew past Boston University 6-3. You could feel it in warm-ups, and I hope it's the same way because I thought that game was an outstanding hockey game and I expect the same thing Saturday. But we've had a lot. "When we jump on teams fast, it's hard for them to recover from that and come back on us".
The goal was Evans' second in a game where MI jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs outshot the Buckeyes 17-4 in the first period Thursday.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, only return 10 who played that night, though only eight are expected to be in the lineup Thursday.
Jake Evans was the difference-maker for the University of Notre Dame on Thursday night at the 2018 Frozen Four.
MI had two power play opportunities after the Irish tied the game. "They had a couple of point-blank looks that Miska came up with big saves for us that kept us in the game".