THE FRIDAY TICKET
Minnesota-Duluth knocks off Notre Dame at Frozen Four semifinal
April 7, 2011By Wally Langfellow of Minnesota Score
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Both the Fighting Irish (25-14-5) and the Bulldogs (25-10-6) were ready for action as the puck dropped inside the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul on Thursday evening. The opening period featured five goals; UMD’s Justin Faulk had three points in the opening period alone on three assists, tying a career high. Minnesota Duluth fought off a late Irish charge and held on to get the win 4-3, it was the first time since 1979 that a NCAA Frozen Four game ended 4-3 in regulation.
The game featured 11 penalties and three power play goals all scored by UMD. The Bulldogs are now 8-23 on the power play in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame scored their NCAA leading 13 shorthanded goals, tying with Boston College.
Notre Dame struck quickly, with a goal just 49 seconds in. It was Jeff Costello who got the scoring started on a wrister from just inside the left faceoff circle. It was his 12th goal of the year and first goal of the NCAA Tournament for him. His last goal came against Lake Superior State on March 13, the Irish’s opponent in the second round of the CCHA conference playoffs. Jeff Costello and Ryan Guentzel picked up assists on the Irish goal. Minnesota Duluth capitalized on a power play less than a minute and a half later to knot the game at one. J.T. Brown capitalized on a penalty by Notre Dame’s David Gerths. Brown scored from right above the crease after receiving a pass from teammate Justin Fontaine. It marked the 11th straight game in which Fontaine has recorded a point. Justin Faulk also got an assist on the goal. It was Brown’s 16th goal of the season and his first goal of the NCAA Tournament.
The game settled down for a bit after the second goal of the game but it was Notre Dame taking their second lead of the game at the 9:46 mark to start a furious period of scoring. Scoring the goal for the Irish was T.J. Tyan; it was his 23rd goal of the season, second most on the team. Tyan’s goal came from a friendly bounce off the boards as a Ryan Guentzel slap shot from just inside the blue line went left of the goal and was picked up by Tyan who beat the UMD goalie on his left. Justin Faulk picked up his second assist of the period on the
goal as well. The Bulldogs responded quickly scoring less than a minute later as Justin Faulk found Kyle Schmidt streaking down the nearside boards. Schmidt took the pass and beat ND’ goalie above his right pad. Joe Basaraba also picked up an assist on the goal.
Notre Dame took their third penalty of the first period at the 13:10 mark as T.J. Tyan was caught for tripping. Having already scored on one power play in the first period, UMD looked poised to take their first lead of the game during the man advantage. It took only 21 seconds into the power play for the Bulldogs to score as Mike Connolly scored his 28th goal of the season. Connolly received the puck in the slot from Fontaine and beat the goalie on above his right shoulder. Faulk got his third point of the period picking up an assist as well.
Minnesota Duluth’s M. Connolly took a penalty at the 5:34 mark of the first period giving Notre Dame their first power play of the game. The Irish tied to match UMD’s power play prowess as they got a great chance from the slot 20 seconds in. Reiter came up with the glove save to keep Notre Dame from tying up the game. It was the best scoring chance in the power play for Notre Dame, as the rest of the man advantage saw UMD block the Irish shot attempts over and over. It
could have easily been 4-2 as Notre Dame turned the puck over inside their blue line but Mike Johnson came up with an initial save and the scramble in front of the net did not pan out in a goal. The Notre Dame defensemen did a good job protecting the goal line and finally cleared the puck out. Johnson stopped a wrap around attempt moments later to keep the score at 3-2.
The biggest save of the period came in the final minute of play as Reiter ate up a slap shot from the slot. Notre Dame out shot UMD 15-11 in the first period but it was the Bulldogs who held the 3-2 advantage on the scoreboard. UMD was 2-3 on the power play in the first period.
The power play continued to be the story of the game in the second period as UMD made it 3-4 on the man advantage. Jack Connolly put UMD up by two with his 18th goal of the year at the 5:51 mark. J. Connolly received a pass from J. T. Brown, which found its way through traffic in front of the net and landed on his stick inside the right faceoff circle. With the Notre Dame goalie covering the middle of the net the left side of the net was wide open and J. Connolly did miss his shot. Fontaine also picked up an assist on the goal; it was Fontaine’s third point of the game. The rest of the period was fairly quiet as the defense from both teams settled in. The second period featured five penalties, UMD went 1-2 on the power play and ND went 0-3. The Bulldogs outshot the Irish 8-4 in the second period. Through two periods of play ND’s Johnson had 15 saves and UMD’s Kenny Reiter had 17.
It was only fitting that less than a minute into the third period Notre Dame found itself down a man as UMD went on their sixth power play of the game. This time the result was a little more fortunate for Notre Dame, as they found a way to not only stop UMD but closed within one goal scoring on a shorthanded slap shot by Calle Ridderwall. Ridderwall came streaking down the right side boards and fired from the left side faceoff circle. Picking up assists on the goal were Ben Ryan and Sean Lorenz.
Notre Dame kept coming as they peppered the net with wristers and weak slap shots, trying to urge the score to four all. UMD did a great job blocking many shots and closing down the shooting lanes. The Irish nearly tied it at the 16:16 mark, when a deflected puck came out in front of the UMD net. Reiter covered the puck to avoid any damage. Minnesota Duluth killed a penalty with less than ten minutes left in the period and then turned away a scramble in front of the net with just over six minutes left.
Minnesota Duluth withstood a final Notre Dame burst in the final two minutes. The Irish pulled their goalie with 1:08 left in the third period trying to increase the pressure. Notre Dame did not get any big chances in the final minute of play as the UMD defense held the Irish in check.
UMD moves on to play the winner of North Dakota and Michigan in the NCAA Championship Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Notre Dame went 0-5 on the power play but did score a shorthanded goal, Minnesota Duluth was great on the power play finishing the game 3-6. The Bulldogs will try to pick up the schools second National Championship of the year, after taking home the NCAA Division II football title. It will be the second National Championship appearance for the Bulldogs in hockey. UMD fell 4-3 in four overtimes in their only other trip to the NCAA Final in 1984.