Notre Dame offers no apologies for string of heart-stopping victories

Notre Dame celebrates after Jake Evans’ goal with 5.2 seconds remaining put the Irish ahead of Michigan (photo: Melissa Wade).

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The 1980 Cleveland Browns earned the nickname “Kardiac Kids” for a season marked by games won as time wound down.

The 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish appear to ready to take on that moniker.

Jake Evans’ goal with just 5.2 seconds left extended the string of games won either in overtime or with about a half minute left to five.

It began when Jack Jenkins scored with 31 seconds left to propel the Irish past Penn State in the Big Ten semifinal game on March 10. A week later, Notre Dame beat Ohio State on Cam Morrison’s overtime tally to win the conference championship.

In the NCAA East Regional, an overtime win by Jordan Gross moved Notre Dame past Michigan Tech on March 23, and it was Dylan Malmquist scoring with 27 seconds left against Providence that sent his team to the Frozen Four.

While this five-game string of heart-pounding wins is remarkable, even more so is that it has been the pattern for Notre Dame most of the season.

“It hasn’t been just the last several games,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. “You look back to when we had that 16-game winning streak, we had a lot of 1-0, 2-1 games.”

Between Oct. 27 and Jan. 7, eight of Notre Dame’s wins were by a single goal.

Jackson joked with his team about what the heart-rate elevating wins are doing to him.

“My heart’s becoming calloused,” he quipped.

“He told us again tonight that he’s getting scar tissue or something on his heart,” said Andrew Oglevie when asked if he’s going to apologize to his coach for the pulse-raising finishes. “But, no, I’m not going to apologize.”

“We keep winning,” said Evans. “He can’t complain.”