As has been the case for most of the tournament at Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena, the game between #1 Notre Dame Academy and #4 University School of Milwaukee was a rematch.
The first time they played this season the Tritons defeated the Wildcats 6-1. This time the Wildcats cut the gap significantly but the Tritons proved to be too much, as they have all season, and skated to a 7-4 win.
Notre Dame started fast and got on the board just 28 seconds into the game. Brenden Gruber swapped with Mason Peapenberg who fired the puck across the crease to Player of the Year Hunter Bill who knocked it in for the early 1-0 lead.
Gruber added a goal of his own eight minutes later after taking a feed from Kade McCarron in the slot and roofing it.
Things were looking rough for University School at that point, down two with just two shots on goal on their side, but as he's done before, Jack McGregor put the team on his back, and busted out for a breakaway on a feed from Mateo Nunag, beating Lleyton Jaschke and giving USM some life.
On the following shift, Nunag hit Jack Torinus in the offensive zone. Torinus got it down low to McGregor who fired at the net from a very low angle along the boards, and it found its way in to tie the game.
The period ended with USM bringing it back to even 2-2.
Notre Dame scored a quick goal again in the second period, just 1:18 in. Flanigan hit Joseph Coghlin out front and Coghlin wristed it in for a 3-2 lead.
Once again USM answered back. On a dump in Jaschke went behind the net to play it but it got by him. Nunag picked it up and passed it out front to McGregor who knocked it in before Jaschke could get back in. That made it a 3-3 tie and marked a hat trick for McGregor.
Notre Dame decided to make a goalie change and put Anton Widas in net. Jaschke finished with 4 saves on 7 shots.
Notre Dame extended the lead on a 3-on-2. Kade McCarron passed it to Quinn Koszarek in the middle who made a behind-the-back pass to Sam Kappell on the back door for the 4-3 lead.
Notre Dame extended the lead to 5-3 at the 12:04 mark of the period. Wyatt Herres found Flanigan down load and Flanigan slid it to Joe Gerbitz in the slot. Gerbitz fired at the net, and it hit off a USM defender's stick, and then off his chest to redirect into the net.
4:48 into the third period, Keegan McCarron went five-hole on a feed from Quinn Koszarek to make it 6-4.
Notre Dame didn't quick however and Augie Wolf cut the lead to 6-4 making a nice move around a Notre Dame defenseman and lifting the puck over Widas for the goal. It was Nunag's fourth assist of the game.
Notre Dame picked up a power play goal with 1:39 left on the clock to ice it. Joe Gerbitz fired at the net, and Coghlin tipped it through the tender's legs to make it 7-4.
That's where it would stay as the undefeated Tritons advance to the championship game between the winner of Hudson and Verona.
Mason Griener stopped 30 of 37 for the Wildcats in the loss. Widas stopped 8 of 9 after coming into the game in the second.