Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tough Ending, Great Season | by Kevin

Tournaments are exhilirating for winners and neutral observers, but miserable for the favorites who get caught on a bad night. Only once since 1979 have all four #1 seeds played in the men's basketball Final Four. As teams like Arizona in 1993 and Syracuse (hee) in 1991 can attest, one off night can bring a fine season to a screeching halt.

So it was for the ND hockey team last night in Grand Rapids. Bemidji State, a small school in northern Minnesota, stormed out of the gate to an early lead they never relinquished, and beat the Irish 5-1. That's it: season over, championship dream dashed. But let's not overstate what happened -- last night's game may have ended the Irish icers' season, but it did not erase the team's accomplishments.

Playing on a rink barely fit for a club hockey team, dressing in the same locker room that ND freshman P.E. students use, the team held the nation's #1 ranking for seven weeks this season. They entered the post-season tournament a #1 seed in their home region, the #2 overall team in the country. They won the school's second CCHA regular season title and second conference tournament title. Their final record was 31-6-3. In short, Jeff Jackson and his players had an outstanding season.

Congratulations to the Notre Dame hockey team. Roster and bios can be found at this link.