The Dream is Over

The Notre Dame dream season ended tonight when Boston College beat them 4-1 in Denver. I am really disappointed, but if you had told me that I would be covering the Frozen Four on this blog at the beginning of the year I would have said that you were crazy. I like hockey. I love to go to games, but I have never had any teams that I cared about in the finals to even watch them. I watch one college team, and they defied the odds this year by getting to the title game. It figures that the year that makes history for the Irish program is also the first year that I did not attend a game. I was in Lafayette so much that it never really worked out. I may have to try and get in to a couple of games next season. I at least want to see the new banner. A season like this will do wonders to the new arena that is being planned for the Irish.
It is sad to say, but the turning point of this national title game was a call made by an official. With fifteen minutes left in the third period Notre Dame appeared to score a goal to pull within one. As the celebration began the referee announced that the call would be reviewed in the booth. As the play was being reviewed the announcers described how the burden of proof was hard to overturn in this case. The skate clearly had to be moving towards the goal for the goal to be waived off. The skate is clearly moving backwards. It looked like the Irish player wanted to kick the puck in, but he just whiffed on it. Apparently the replay judge read his mind because he overturned the goal. Later it was explained that the replay judged saw the skate moving forward. I hope he has a nice flight back to Boston. I normally don’t like to say that my team was screwed by the officials. So many other plays go into winning or losing a game. This horrible call completely changed the momentum. In the eternity that it took to make the call any momentum the Irish would have had would have been killed. Then the terrible call deflated the team. 35 seconds later the Eagles put the puck in the net to make the score 4-1. That is hard to take. The Irish never quit though. They fought hard until the end. The fans will probably always wonder what would have been if the goal had been allowed.

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Frozen Four: Notre Dame v. Michigan

The slipper still fits. Notre Dame defeated Michigan last night to advance to the finals of the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Michigan was the #1 overall seed, and Notre Dame was the last team in the tournament. That makes this even more amazing. Here is how it happened. Notre Dame scored two goals within the first six minutes of the game. A shorthanded goal with less than a minute left in the first period gives the Irish a 3-0 lead at the first intermission. Michigan scores two goals within fifteen seconds at the eleven minute mark of the period. Notre Dame then received a too many men on the ice penalty at the beginning of the third period, and Michigan capitalized to tie the game up. Both teams then traded goals forcing overtime. At just under six minutes left in the extra period freshman Cal Ridderwall scored the game winning goal. It was his second of the game The Irish face a tall task in Boston College who scored early and often against North Dakota. Maybe the slipper can fit for one more game. Notre Dame has beaten two straight football rivals to get to this point. A win over a third one will get them a championship. The game is Saturday night at 6:00 central time on ESPN.

Notre Dame Hockey Hits the Big Stage

Tonight the Notre Dame Hockey team plays its first game in the Frozen Four. They play at 9:00 tonight against fellow CCHA member Michigan. They have played Michigan twice this season losing both games. For some reason though records have seemed to matter little after the regular season ended. They have had an incredible run this postseason. They lost the first game of the CCHA playoffs to Ferris State before rallying to win the next two to advance to Joe Louis Arena. Once in Detroit they lost both games they played that weekend. They made it into the NCAA Tournament, but they were a four seed not expected to go very far. They have proven everyone wrong becoming the first #4 seed to advance this far. They beat New Hampshire and Michigan State in Colorado Springs on consecutive nights to advance. I wish the tourney was closer so that I could attend, but it is in Denver this weekend so I think I will just tune in to ESPN2 tonight to see if they can advance to the finals. Jeff Jackson has really turned this program around in a short time. They are without their top scorer, but still have managed to make history. Maybe they can make some more tonight.

Wild Thang, I Think I Love You!

Notre Dame 3 – Alabama-Huntsville 2
Notre Dame did not get the easy game it thought it would get tonight in Grand Rapids. They needed two overtimes to finally put away Alabama-Huntsville. Notre Dame scored two goals in the first five minutes of the game, but could not score again until the second overtime was nearly over. Ryan Thang scored the game winner, as well as another goal earlier in the night to lead the Irish. The Irish looked like they were going to run away with the game, but the Chargers changed their goalie. Marc Narduzzi came into the game after the second goal was scored, and stopped the next 49 shots he saw. He was unbelievable. The previous goalie had only made one save on the three shots he saw. The game lasted 95:15, and was the third longest game in NCAA history. The game could have ended in regulation, but Notre Dame had a goal waived off at the 3:34 mark of the third period. The refs said that the puck was kicked in to the net. I saw it happen live and on the replay, and I did not see the kick. It hit off the players knee. It ended up not being a factor tonight, but the fatigue from the extra play may enter in tomorrow. I thought that we would have an easy time with this team. They only got into the tournament because they were an automatic qualifier. Their record on the season was only 13-19-3, and they almost ended the season for the Irish. The Chargers were down 4 goals in the championship game of their conference, and came back to win 5-4. What makes it more interesting was that the goal that won the game was shorthanded. That is what worried me when they got the penalty that eventually led to the game winning goal tonight. They really played hard tonight, and you really have to applaud their effort. They seemed to get to a lot of pucks first. Either we weren’t hustling, or they were really going for it.
In the final game tonight Michigan State went down a goal early to Boston University, but rallied to win 5-1. They will face the Irish tomorrow night. The Irish and Spartans split the season series, with each team winning on the road. I am torn on whether or not to go. I have a ticket as part of the full session plan, but found out yesterday that one of my friends is having a part tomorrow. I really want to go to both, but have too much money invested in the hockey game to walk away I think.

Notre Dame wins the CCHA Tournament!

In other championship news the #1 Notre Dame hockey team beat Michigan 2-1 to take the CCHA Tournament Championship. That will mean another banner to hang in the fieldhouse this year. They have now taken the regular season championship, the tourney championship, and will await seeding for the NCAA tournament. This season has been a great one for Notre Dame Hockey. They have played well against the opponents in their conference, now they will get to see how they stack up with the best hockey teams in the country. The sports junkie has heard some comments about how a couple of schools in Minnesota are actually better than the Irish. It is now time to see who is truly better.

#1 Notre Dame 3 – Alaska 1

My first Notre Dame hockey game of the year was just the opposite of the last game I saw last year. Notre Dame was having a bad season, but hosted a three game CCHA playoff series with Alaska. I was at both games, and watched the Irish drop two straight 3-1, 1-0. This year the Irish are the #1 team in the country, and already claimed the regular season CCHA championship. The win tonight gave them 29, the most ever in a season in club history. This was a far cry from two years ago when Notre Dame was the worst team in the league. With the team playing well I could not get tickets to any of the last three series. I guess I just missed getting on the bandwagon. At the begining of the year I made a post on here about how excited I was for the season to start, but could not seem to get over to see them play. They look like a very exciting team, that could go a long way in the NCAA’s. They scored seven goals in the win last night, and 3 tonight. It is nice to see the team selling out games, and getting some attention. The sellout tonight was the 10th on the season. The Irish travel to Detroit next weekend for the final four of the CCHA championship. Then they will await the seeding for the probable NCAA berth. It should be an exciting two weeks for Notre Dame hockey.
On a side note, this was the second #1 ranked team that I had seen today. In the Big Ten Basketball Tournament I was able to see the #1 and #3 ranked teams in the country play. At night I saw the #1 ranked team in college hockey play. Not a bad day at all.