After his team allowed victory to slip away in regulation, Denver's Wesley Berg made sure it wouldn't happen again in overtime.
Berg scored the game-winner 1 minute, 57 seconds into the extra period to lift the Pioneers over Notre Dame, 11-10, Saturday in an NCAA men's lacrosse semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field.
Denver (16-2), which has never won an NCAA lacrosse title, will face Maryland (15-3), which has not won the crown since 1975, in the championship game at 1 p.m. Monday at the Linc. Maryland held on to defeat Johns Hopkins, 12-11, in the other semifinal.
Leading by 10-6, Denver allowed four straight Notre Dame goals - three from Sergio Perkovic, who scored all five of his goals in the fourth quarter. The last Irish score came on Nick Ossello's unassisted shot with nine seconds left in regulation.
Notre Dame won the faceoff in overtime. However, Denver gained possession and finally answered with Berg's game-winner, which came on a feed from Tyler Pace.
"It was difficult because the guys were a little bit shaken," Denver coach Bill Tierney said. "They had just held Notre Dame to six goals for the first 56 minutes and allowed four in the last four. But they regrouped and got it together at just the right time."
Tierney revealed that Berg's goal came on a play that was originally designed for teammate Zach Miller. That play broke down.
"I'm just glad that I was in position to make something happen when I did," Berg said. "We just stayed calm and got through it. Now it's time to focus on what's in front of us and go out and try to win our first national championship."
Berg scored three goals for Denver, which has reached the final four in four of the last five seasons.
The loss was painful for top-seeded Notre Dame. Last season the Fighting Irish advanced to the final and lost to Duke on championship Monday.
"It's tough because we started the season with our eyes on winning a national championship, and we came up short," Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said.