Playing in Olympic-sized 3M Arena at Mariucci, which is five feet wider than Compton Family Ice Arena, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense seemed like it was due for a breakout game. After winning sixteen straight, the Irish had been shutout in their last two games going into Saturday night’s contest, where Minnesota Golden Gophers goaltender Mat Robson got the start for the second straight night. Coming into Saturday night, two of Robson’s five starts were shut out wins, the other being against the St. Cloud State Huskies.
It didn’t take long for the Gophers to get an opportunity to take the lead. 41 seconds into the game, skates got tied up when Irish sophomore forward Cam Morrison was coming around the net as Robson was moving. To the surprise of coach Jeff Jackson, Morrison was called for tripping. Shortly after an unsuccessful two-on-three for the Gophers, forward Brent Gates, Jr. was called for hooking with 10:56 left in the period and the Irish went on the power-play. Notre Dame had some good looks at the net but nothing to show for it. After some pushing and shoving by forwards Andrew Oglevie and Scott Reedy, both players were sent to the penalty box and a 4 on 4 ensued, but the game remained scoreless.
Shortly after the 4 on 4 ended, forward Leon Bristedt was called for goalie interference after making contact with his elbow to the back of the head of Irish goaltender Cale Morris. The penalty easily could have been for four minutes, so the Gophers could have considered themselves lucky that it was only a two minute minor. However, 29 seconds into the powerplay, defenseman Jordan Gross shot a bullet from the center point to make it 1-0. It was Notre Dame’s first goal in 140 minutes of play, the last score being in last Friday’s win over the Wisconsin Badgers.
Things got aggressive in the second period. Defenseman Tory Dello’s stick got lodged in the hand of a Minnesota player but he was called for high-sticking at 3:03 into the period, and the Gophers went on the power-play. Notre Dame turned to penalty kill, ranked sixth in the nation, and the score remained 1-0 thanks to a pair of great saves by Morris. At the end of the power-play, Morris was ran over, elbows-first, by defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren was sent to the box for goaltender interference, but there was also a questionable call on Gross for hooking and we had another 4 on 4 which saw no scoring from either team.
On what may have been a makeup call for incorrectly blowing a possible Notre Dame scoring chance offside, the Irish went back on the man advantage after forward Rem Pitlick was called for interference at 8:40. On the power-play, captain Jake Evans tipped home a feed from Andrew Oglevie to make it 2-0 Notre Dame. The goal, which was Evans’s ninth of the season, was reviewed and confirmed. Minnesota answered with a goal of their own with 3:37 to go in the second when forward Brannon McMannus beat Morris stickside on a two-on-one. The score would remain 2-1 going into second intermission.
In the third period, the Irish capitalized off a huge mistake by Friday night’s hero Casey Mittlestadt when forward Dylan Malmquist picked up a loose puck in front and deked Robson to make it 3-1 Notre Dame with under 13 minutes to play. Shortly after the goal, Bristedt was called for a cross check in front of Morris. The Irish got a few good shots on goal, including two that that hit the crossbar, but couldn’t pad their lead.
Here's Malmquist's fifth of the season, which gave the Irish a 3-1 lead! pic.twitter.com/YrrCwkneSv— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) January 28, 2018
Robson was briefly taken out of the game for an extra attacker with under four minutes left, but forward Colin Theisen was hooked down while going for an empty net goal. Rather than getting a penalty shot, Pitlick was called for tripping. Fifteen seconds later, Lindgren was called for cross checking to make it a 5 on 3. On the two-man advantage, Minnesota native Dylan Malmquist picked up his second goal of the night and sixth goal of the year to extend the Notre Dame lead. With just over a minute left in the game, Irish defenseman Andrew Peeke was called for holding, but it didn’t make a difference as the Fighting Irish ended their two game losing streak with a 4-1 victory.
Considering how few stoppages there were in Friday night’s contest, it was odd to see how many penalties were called on Saturday night. The game was very physical from the beginning, and Notre Dame took advantage by scoring three power-play goals. The highly praised Irish defense looked great, allowing only 17 shots on goal. With the victory, coach Jeff Jackson’s team avoids losing what would have been a season-high third straight game. Irish fans can rest easy.
ND - Jordan Gross (6) on the PP at 16:41 in the 1st from Bobby Nardella (12) and Andrew Oglevie (11)
ND - Jake Evans (9) on the PP at 9:23 in the 1st from Andrew Oglevie (12) and Jordan Gross (14)
MINN - Brannon McManus (6) at 16:12 in the 2nd from Steve Johnson (10) and Casey Mittelstadt (14)
ND - Dylan Malmquist (5) at 06:47 in the 3rd
ND - Dylan Malmquist (6) on the PP at 17:40 in the 3rd from Jake Evans (22) and Andrew Oglevie (13)
ND - Cale Morris stopped 16 of 17 shots, improves to 19-3-0.
Minn - Mat Robson stopped 26 of 30 shots, falls to 4-2-0.
ND - Cam Morrison, 2 for tripping at 00:41 in the 1st
MINN - Brent Gates, 2 for hooking at 09:04 in the 1st
ND - Andrew Oglevie, 2 for roughing at 13:27 in the 1st
MINN - Scott Reedy, 2 for roughing at 13:27 in the 1st
MINN - Leon Bristedt, 2 for goaltender interference at 16:12 in the 1st
ND - Tory Dello, 2 for high sticking at 3:03 in the 2nd
ND - Jordan Gross, 2 for hooking at 05:00 in the 2nd
MINN - Ryan Lindgren, 2 for goaltender interference at 05:00 in the 2nd
MINN - Rem Pitlick, 2 for interference at 08:40 in the 2nd
MINN - Leon Bristedt, 2 for cross-checking at 13:36 in the 3rd
MINN - Rem Pitlick, 2 for tripping at 17:05 in the 3rd
MINN - Ryan Lindgren, 2 for cross-checking at 17:20 in the 3rd
ND - Andrew Peeke, 2 for holding at 18:45 in the 3rd
- Jordan Gross
- Dylan Malmquist
- Andrew Oglevie
The Irish will head to State College, PA next week to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday and Saturday