A Frozen Four matchup between rivals Notre Dame and Michigan is bound to be everything we could wish for.
Notre Dame has earned a trip to the Frozen Four for the second year in a row. And now the Irish Hockey team will try to win the school’s second National Championship in the same week — following up the Women’s Basketball National Championship victory Sunday night.
The classic Notre Dame/Michigan rivalry doesn’t end on the gridiron. Notre Dame and Michigan hockey have been long-time rivals going back to the CCHA days. This will be the 140th meeting between the two programs. Last time they met in the Frozen Four was 2008, when Notre Dame came away with a 3-2 overtime victory. The two clubs split the series 2-2 this season.
The front half of the Irish/Wolverines matchups were part of Notre Dame’s 16-game win streak, while the two losses came during the questionable conclusion of the Irish’s regular season. As the 16-game win streak came to an end, Notre Dame finished the regular season 4-6-1. It was clear that the second half of the conference schedule was a struggle for the newest member of the Big Ten. That stretch included 4-2 and 1-0 losses to the Wolverines.
So the question has become, what Notre Dame team will we see? The one that won the Big Ten tournament, or the one that didn’t win a series for the second half of the conference season?
Recently it seems to be somewhere in the middle. Between the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame has done just enough to get by. All four wins have been decided by one goal each, with two games going into overtime.
If one thing is for certain — Notre Dame has had their clutch game in full effect. That said, should we be worried about the luck of the Irish running out?
One thing that’s in the Irish’s favor is that they have been here before. The experience of advancing to the Frozen Four last season should be a huge advantage for the Irish.
Players to watch
- Cooper Marody Forward, 6-0, Junior
• Marody is a big part of Michigan’s top line
• Has 50 points on 16 goals and 34 assists (3rd in the nation) this season
• Scored four goals in the last three games
- Quinn Hughes Defensemen, 5-10, Freshman
• Youngest player in college hockey
• Projected top-10 pick in the upcoming NHL draft
• 29 points with 24 assists this season
• Had a season-high four blocked vs. Notre Dame (Feb. 18th)
- Cale Morris Goalie, 6-1, Sophomore
• Leads the nation with 26 wins and a .945 save percentage
• 1.91 goals-against average this season
• Named to the NCAA East Regional All-Regional team
- Made 55 saves in two victories
- Jake Evans Forward, 6-1, Senior
• Leads the team with 42 points (11 goals and 31 assists)
• Had the primary assist on the overtime game-winning goal in the NCAA Regional semifinal
• Assisted on the game-tying goal in the NCAA East Regional Final
Notre Dame will look to earn a trip to the National Championship Thursday night. Puck drops at 9:30 PM ET on ESPN2.