2011 Frozen Four National Semifinal Recap - Minnesota Duluth vs. Notre Dame
The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs used a balance scoring effort against Notre Dame to advance to their second National Championship and their first since 1984—when they lost to Bowling Green in triple overtime.
In the first National Semifinal game of the 2011 Frozen Four, UMD got four goals from four different skaters. Also for the Bulldogs both Justin Fontaine and defenseman Justin Faulk had three assists.
Heading into game, the key was going to be special teams. This proved to be the case. Special teams has carried UMD all tournament and this game was no different. The Bulldogs had 3 power play goals on Thursday. On the other side of things, UMD’s penalty kill was dominant; they allowed zero goals from the Irish in five power play attempts.
As great as the Bulldogs special teams were they did give up a shorthanded goal that allowed Notre Dame back into the game. Calle Ridderwall’s “shorty” for the Irish was 2:05 minutes into the third period and made it a one goal game at 4-3. This goal seemed as though it was the turning point in the game. Notre Dame then received an extra bolt of energy. For the rest of the game, it seemed as though UMD was playing on its heels.
The first period was very frantic and the scoring back and forth for the first 20 minutes. Notre Dame’s Jeff Costello scored 49 seconds into the game. That Notre Dame goal was its fastest in the NCAA tournament competition. However, the lead did not last long for the Irish. UMD also scored on its first shot, which was a power play goal by J.T. Brown.
Notre Dame then answered the Bulldogs by a goal of their own by T.J. Tynan. Similar to the first Irish goal, UMD quickly answered by a goal by Kyle Schmidt who went top shelf on Notre Dame’s goalie Steven Summerhays.
The next goal would be a power play goal by Mike Connolly to end the first period and give the Bulldogs a 3-2 heading into the second period. The final tally by UMD would be another power play goal scored by the other Connolly, Jack.
So needless to say, the difference in the game was Duluth’s special teams (both the power play and penalty kill) and the line of Connolly-Connolly-Fontaine. Both Connollys had a goal and Fontaine had 3 assists.
The attendance for the game was 19,139 at the Excel Energy Center.Minnesota-Duluth will meet Michigan on Saturday for the National Championship.
By Alex Bausch
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