Good evening from Xcel Energy Center, where at 6:37 p.m. (TV: ESPN) Minnesota Duluth and Notre Dame will face off for the NCAA Frozen Four championship, with the Bulldogs seeking their second title since 2011 and the Fighting Irish trying to break through for their first national crown.
Both teams excel living on the edge, with UMD playing 10 consecutive one-goal games in NCAA play and Notre Dame winning its past five games in either overtime or with 31 seconds or less remaining in the third period.
"It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s another 2-1 hockey game,’’ Bulldogs Scott Sandelin said Friday. “We can all surprise you and have a 5-4 game, but I’m just expecting it to be a real tight, lower-scoring game.’’
In NCAA wins over Air Force and Ohio State, Minnesota Duluth took 2-0 leads and hung on to advance. That formula might be more difficult against Notre Dame, which made the final when Jake Evans scored with 5.2 seconds left in the third period to beat Michigan 4-3 in the semifinals on Thursday.
“We can’t go into the game thinking we’re going to score a goal in the last minute,’’ Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson warned.
Will it come down to late heroics for the Fighting Irish or Bulldogs again? We might know around 9 p.m. – or maybe even later.