Jake Evans comes up clutch with dramatic late-game strike

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The realization had already set in that he would never wear that MI maize and blue again and Dancs' emotions couldn't be hidden.

"We lost seven (seniors), and three guys left early to the National Hockey League". They took some time to adjust to a new coach, and I think they've gotten better and better.

Notre Dame (28-9-2) will face Minnesota-Duluth (24-16-3) on Saturday in the national championship game (7:30 p.m., ESPN2).

They persisted as they have all season, scrapping for another tight win in a run so surprising, Sandelin hesitated as he tried to describe his return to the national title game with his young team.

"It's heartbreaking", senior forward Dexter Dancs said.

"It was insane. I remember that we were sitting close to the UMD section, the players came over to the section and somebody even had a print of the Duluth News Tribune in advance with UMD wins the championship on it". We're all right.' And their calmness has probably impacted me into being more calm. "We rely on them to play a lot of quality minutes defensively, but I think Dennis especially has the ability to do more than that". They started defending better, only allowing MI seven total shots in the period.

Senior forward Tony Calderone skated around off to the side of the net, back to the slot and sniped a shot past Notre Dame sophomore goaltender Cale Morris with 11:49 to go in the first period.

"There was a lot leading up to it", said Kuhlman, who has 12 goals and five assists this year.

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The Irish were able to generate some more opportunities in the latter part of the first period, but didn't have anything to show for it as they went to the locker room trailing 1-0.

Notre Dame's Jake Evans jumps into the arms of his teammates after scoring against MI. Calderone and junior defenseman Joseph Cecconi got the assists.

Kuhlman didn't score the overtime game-winner - that was Mackay - or even the game-tying goal credited to linemate Nick Swaney. A one-time pass from Jordan Gross led to a powerful slap shot from the high slot. That lead quickly increased by another goal in the opening minutes of the second, and it was starting to look like the Fighting Irish were getting on their heels a bit.

The teams went to the second intermission tied at two, but that didn't last long into the third and final period.

-March 10: In the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, Jack Jenkins' goal with 31 seconds left gave the Irish a 3-2 victory over Penn State.

MI may be upset about this loss, but they have to remember they're the third youngest team in college hockey.

And when the Bulldogs got the winning goal in overtime, Jorgenson said, the entire arena erupted.

Saturday night's matchup figures to be particularly personal for the five Minnesota products on the Irish roster who know numerous Duluth players dating back to high school battles on the ice.