Andrew Oglevie realizes dream for Notre Dame hockey, alters Irish reality

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — If it wasn't for video replay, Andrew Oglevie might not remember the biggest moment of his hockey career.

That moment came last Sunday in overtime against UMass Lowell, a game tied 2-2 with a berth in the Frozen Four on the line.

Fourth-seeded Notre Dame was completing a comeback from a goal down against a team that, just a week prior, had throttled the Irish, 5-1 in the Hockey East semifinals in Boston's TD Garden.

A few minutes into overtime, Oglevie, a sophomore forward who came into his own this year to score 21 goals, found himself alone in the slot, waiting for a pass from Notre Dame's top playmaker, Hobey Baker award finalist Anders Bjork.

Oglevie remembers the pass, the shot, and then?

"I remember letting it go, and I saw it bounce off the net, and then complete blackout, I have no idea what happened after that," Oglevie said during a media session Tuesday. "I just started running around. I just lost it."

That goal completed the second of two Notre Dame comebacks on the weekend, including a 3-2 win over No. 1 seed Minnesota after falling behind 2-0. It also propelled the Irish to their third Frozen Four, and first since 2011.

"Every kid dreams of doing something like that," Oglevie said. "I've never been able to do something of this magnitude before. It's pretty special."

Especially considering the work the sophomore from Fullerton, Calif., put in this offseason to become one of Notre Dame's top scoring options. A rigorous summer workout regimen alongside classmate Dylan Malmquist transformed Oglevie from a perimeter player to an integral part of the Irish on both ends of the ice.

"We always knew he had skill and ability," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. "The emphasis for him has been learning to play inside the dots and not be a perimeter-type player. I think he's bought into that."

Oglevie is no stranger to hard work. After a year at Culver Academies, he spent the next four seasons in the USHL, toiling away in Cedar Rapids until the time was right for him to come to South Bend.

"Everyone says that hard work pays off, I'm just happy that it's paying off for me," Oglevie said. "A lot of times throughout my career, and I'm sure the careers of others, you work really hard but things don't quite go your way. I'm glad to see it going my way, and can't stop now."

Underdog mentality

Coming off the one-sided thumping at the hands of Lowell in Boston, the Irish started slowly against Minnesota, falling behind 2-0 before they found some new life with Oglevie's goal with just over five minutes left in the second period.

Bjork completed the comeback with a pair of third period goals and the Irish moved on, but in their path once again was UMass Lowell, a team that has had their number throughout most of their time in Hockey East.

"I thought that Lowell could have a little bit of over-confidence in some ways because of how easily they had beaten us," Jackson said. "I was thinking that that might work in our favor, but it wouldn't have mattered if we hadn't had the right approach and attitude."

Jackson chose the underdog approach, and it worked.

"I talked about the role of being the underdog," Jackson said. "And the importance of why underdogs win."

One of the last teams to make the NCAA tournament, the Irish will again be underdogs on April 6 at the United Center in Chicago when they face the top-ranked team in the nation, Denver.

Pioneers up next

Jackson will see a familiar face on the opposing bench when his team takes on Denver. Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Notre Dame in Jackson's first year in South Bend.

Montgomery had come highly recommended from many years earlier by former Maine coach Shawn Walsh, a good friend of Jackson who coached Montgomery in college. One year when the two got together for their own personal coaching clinics during the offseason in northern Michigan, they made a list of former players who would make good coaches. Walsh brought up Montgomery.

With Montgomery coming fresh off a professional career in 2005, Jackson recalled the words of Walsh, who died from cancer in 2001.

"He was a perfect guy for my first year here," Jackson said. "Jimmy, as I'd been told by Shawn, was a very, very smart hockey guy, and passionate about the game. He was great with our players behind the scenes."

The next year, Montgomery landed an assistant gig at RPI, then spent time as a head coach in the USHL before he was hired by Denver in 2013 to replace George Gwozdecky.

Montgomery said it was his time in South Bend under Jackson that taught him how to run a program.

"I was very, very lucky that in my first year in the coaching profession that I was able to work for and learn under Jeff Jackson, and the entire staff that's there, Paul Pooley and Andy Slaggert," Montgomery said during Tuesday's NCAA teleconference.

"I learned A to Z how to run a program at a high level. I think it was probably the best decision I ever made, going there as a volunteer and sacrificing, because I could have had a paying job that year as an assistant coach. But I wanted to learn from someone who is great, and I think Jeff Jackson is great."

THE FROZEN FOUR

At The United Center, Chicago

National Semifinals

Thursday, April 6

Harvard (28-5-2) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (27-6-7), 6 p.m. (EDT)

Denver (31-7-4) vs. Notre Dame (23-11-5), 9:30 p.m. (EDT)

National Championship

Saturday, April 8

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m. (EDT)

Notre Dame's Andrew Oglevie (far right) leads the celebration with his team after scoring the game-winning goal against UMass-Lowell Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional final in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/MARY SCHWALM)