St. Cloud State's Hobey Baker Award finalist came through when it mattered most. Nic Dowd scored the game-winning goal 17 minutes, 21 seconds into overtime to defeat Notre Dame 4-3 Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.
The Huskies advance to make it an all-Minnesota West Regional championship game against the No. 1 Gophers at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
"As soon as Dowd pulled in to shoot that, I knew where it was going. He's our leader and it shows with that timely goal," said St. Cloud State goaltender Ryan Faragher, who had 39 saves.
Thomas DiPauli of Notre Dame tied the score at 3-all midway through the third period.
Despite the Huskies' inability to get shots on goal, they managed to be in control most of the night. They scored first and responded after each of Notre Dame's first two goals. The Irish outshot the Huskies 42-28, but St. Cloud State outshot Notre Dame 16-6 in overtime.
Notre Dame was eager to avenge last year's NCAA tournament loss in the same round to St. Cloud State. The Irish entered the weekend as arguably one of the hottest teams during the last month of the season with three wins against Boston College, the tournament's overall No. 2 seed.
St. Cloud State hadn't played a game in two weeks and was coming off two home losses to Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the National College Hockey Conference playoffs. Coach Bob Motzko said the long break allowed the team to refresh and re-establish itself as the team that once ranked No. 1 this season.
"It took four periods for us to play well and we finally did," Dowd said. "[Faragher] gave us life and kept us in it."
Ryan Papa and Brooks Bertsch in the opening period and Jonny Brodzinski in the second had the other goals for SCSU.
Notre Dame has had trouble winning in the NCAA tournament against Minnesota programs. They are now 0-5 against the state teams in the tournament with back-to-back defeats to St. Cloud State.
The total attendance for the opening day of the West Regional was announced as 9,232.