Blackhawks prospect Dennis Gilbert, Notre Dame to play for 2018 NCAA championship
The 2015 third-round pick will try to help the Fighting Irish win their first national hockey title.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Dennis Gilbert and Notre Dame defeated Big 10 foe Michigan 4-3 on Thursday to advance to the national championship game against Minnesota-Duluth.
Notre Dame rallied from a 2-0 deficit before the Wolverines tied the game with 5:22 remaining in the third period. But Irish captain Jake Evans, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, scored with 3.7 seconds left to send Notre Dame to its second national title game appearance. Notre Dame previously made the 2008 title game, when it fell to Boston College.
The captain comes through with only seconds to spare to win the game for the Fighting Irish!!#FrozenFour pic.twitter.com/lscS86r0w0— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 6, 2018
Notre Dame's 5 straight 1-goal wins. Time of winning goal:— College Hockey News (@chnews) April 6, 2018
Big Ten semis ... 31 seconds left
Big Ten finals ... OT
NCAA 1st Round ... OT
NCAA 2nd Round ... 27 seconds
NCAA Semis ... 5 seconds
Minnesota-Duluth defeated Ohio State 2-1 in the first semifinal. The Bulldogs lost in last years’s title game to Denver and Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman at the United Center in Chicago.
This year’s national title game is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, the same venue Minnesota-Duluth won its first national title in 2011 over Michigan.
Gilbert, a 2015 third-round pick, is a shutdown defenseman and did not record a point in Notre Dame’s win, but he unfortunately did play a role in Michigan’s second goal as the puck bounced off him and into the net.
Dexter Dancs makes it 2-0. Just shoot, baby. pic.twitter.com/6RkIx7Nkb0— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) April 6, 2018
Gilbert did come up big later in the game with Michigan on the man advantage. The puck was loose in front of a wide-open net, but Gilbert cleared it to prevent the Wolverines from scoring.
While Gilbert, a former Chicago Steel player, is the lone Blackhawks prospect in the Frozen Four, he’s not the only one with Illinois ties left in the tournament. There are five Illinois natives on the Irish roster: forwards Pierce Crawford (Park Ridge) and Jack Jenkins (Lake Bluff) and defenseman Tory Dello (Crystal Lake), Bobby Nardella (Rosemont) and Justin Wade (Aurora).
How to watch
Game will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app.
Saturday, April 7
Championship: Minnesota-Duluth vs. Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. ESPN2