As the playoffs opened across college hockey, there are plenty of teams happy to reset after a difficult second half of the regular season.
No team needed that more than Notre Dame, which fell from one of the nation’s top teams to a club no longer nationally ranked.
But that’s what the postseason is for.
The Irish, behind a Trevor Janicke goal with 3:36 remaining in the second period, earned a 1-0 victory over No. 19 Minnesota, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three quarterfinal.
— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) March 7, 2020
Cale Morris posted a shutout, but needed just 12 saves on a night where Minnesota was severely outshot, 26-12.
While the Irish are a win away from moving on, Minnesota, a team inside the PairWise bubble just two weeks ago, is now one loss away from ending their season. The two teams play game two on Saturday.
Other Big Ten playoff results
Michigan 3, Michigan State 0
No. 11 Ohio State 9, Wisconsin 1
Princeton 4, Dartmouth 3 (OT)
At times this season has seemed an extremely difficult one for Princeton, but the Tigers, the 11-seed heading into the ECAC playoffs, earned a come-from-behind victory at Dartmouth to move a win away from the league quarterfinals.
Reid Yochim buried a pass on a rush from Corey Andonovski at 3:36 of overtime to give Princeton a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three first round series.
Reid Yochim Sends The Tigers To A Game One Win! pic.twitter.com/D7wxFgGSrs
— Princeton University Hockey (@princetonhockey) March 7, 2020
Just to get to overtime required Finn Evans to knot the game at three with 2:45 left in regulation. Christian O’Neill netted two goals for the Tigers while Jeremie Folger stopped 25 shots to earn the win.
Other ECAC playoff results
Harvard 5, St. Lawrence 3
Colgate 3, Brown 0
Union 3, Yale 0
Michigan Tech 4, Northern Michigan 1
In a heavyweight battle of two rivals, Michigan Tech scored the game’s final four goals – two of them into an empty net – to rally for a 4-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the WCHA.
Hank Sorenson got host Northern Michigan the board at 1:54 of the first. But from there, Matt Jurusik shut things down, stopping 34 shots.
— Michigan Tech Hockey (@mtuhky) March 7, 2020
After Alex Smith tied the game in the second, Tommy Parrottino not only got the go-ahead tally early in the third, he added two goals into the empty net for the hat trick.
Other WCHA playoff results
No. 3 Minnesota State 8, Alaska Anchorage 1
No. 10 Bemidji State 2, Lake Superior 0
Bowling Green 4, Alaska 2
Atlantic Hockey Playoffs
Holy Cross 2, Robert Morris 0
Despite entering the Atlantic Hockey tournament as the 10th seed, Holy Cross picked the perfect night to pitch a shutout as Matt Radmonsky stopped all 31 shots he faced to earn a 2-0 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three first-round series.
Neil Robinson scored the game-winning goal with 13:22 remaining and Pete Kessel added an empty-net goal during a major power play in the closing minute to account for the game’s only scoring.
NEIL ROBINSON 🚨
'Saders take a 1-0 lead! pic.twitter.com/CA5NHj4J3j
— Holy Cross M. Hockey (@HCrossMHockey) March 7, 2020
Justin Kapelmaster stopped 37 shots in taking the loss for the Colonials.
Other Atlantic Hockey playoff results
Air Force 3, Mercyhurst 1
Bentley 6, Canisius 1
Both No. 12 UMass Lowell and No. 15 Maine earned home wins on Friday to earn the final two home ice spots in the Hockey East tournament.
The River Hawks scored twice on the power play to earn a 3-1 victory over Connecticut. Maine’s only goal came from Mitchell Fossier with 10:39 left in regulation. Jeremy Swayman earned a very impressive shutout stopping all 48 shots he faced.
— UMass Lowell Hockey (@RiverHawkHockey) March 7, 2020
— Black Bear Hockey (@MaineIceHockey) March 7, 2020
Saturday will decide the final five positions in the Hockey East standings. Boston University can overtake UConn for the fifth seed with a victory. While No. 18 Providence has clinched a playoff berth, they will slip to eighth if No. 16 Northeastern beats BU on Saturday.
Both Northeastern and New Hampshire have their playoff lives on the line on Saturday. A win for Northeastern earns them a position in the postseason. But a loss or tie combined with a UNH win over Boston College would give the Wildcats the final playoff position and leave the Beanpot champs out of the postseason and NCAA tournament.
No. 2 North Dakota’s 4-1 loss to Omaha combined with No. 5 Minnesota Duluth’s 4-1 win over St. Cloud State sets up an interesting final Saturday in the NCHC.
A weekend after commissioner Josh Fenton awarded the regular-season trophy in North Dakota after a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over Western Michigan, he may need to repeat the act if the Fighting Hawks and Bulldogs repeat their Friday performances.
A loss for North Dakota to Omaha and a win for Minnesota Duluth over St. Cloud State would create a co-champions situation. If that were the case, the Bulldogs would become the top seed in the NCHC tournament, winning a tie-breaker over the Fighting Hawks.
— Omaha Video (@OmahaVID) March 7, 2020
Western Michigan and Denver both clinched home ice on Friday, though the two teams are tied at this point and Saturday’s results will dictate which team takes third place and which finishes fourth.