By defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday night and clinching the Big Ten regular season championship, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish clinched the only bye in the upcoming Big Ten tournament. However, things wouldn’t get easier for the Irish, who welcomed the Buckeyes back to Compton Family Ice Arena for the second game of their series on Saturday night. After Friday’s conference clinching victory, Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson emphasized the challenge for his team to build on the big win.
A few minutes into the game, the Irish had an opportunity to jump out in front when defenseman Matt Joyaux was called for hooking at just over three minutes into the game. The short-handed Buckeyes seemed to have a two on one scoring chance but a bad pass by forward Brendon Kearney into the left wing corner prevented Ohio State from taking the early lead. The penalty was killed off with ease by the Buckeyes.
A few minutes after failing to score on the power-play, a right point shot by defenseman Matt Miller was deflected by forward Matthew Weis past Cale Morris stickside to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead. The Buckeyes had to feel confident about Weis’s goal, as they were an outstanding 12-0-2 when scoring first this season.
Another Buckeye defenseman picked up a penalty later in the first period, when Tommy Perran was called for holding at 14:19. The Irish were able to get some shots on goal, but once again, their power-play unit couldn’t capitalize. With twenty seconds left in the power-play, Joe Wegwerth was called for high sticking, and an Ohio State power-play unit that went 5 for 9 last week against the Michigan State Spartans had their first man advantage of the evening.
While short-handed, Jake Evans looked to even the score on a breakaway, but Ohio State goaltender Sean Romeo made a big stop. The Irish killed off the penalty, but shortly after getting back to even strength, Tory Dello was called for cross-checking at 18:46 to give the Buckeyes a broken power-play. The score would remain 1-0 Ohio State going into the first intermission. Morris continued to shine as he has all season.
To open the second period, the Irish penalty kill unit prevented the Buckeyes from extending their lead. A few minutes after killing off the penalty, a clean breakaway from Ohio State’s top scorer Mason Jobst was denied by the right pad of Morris. Morris would later stop a partial breakaway from Kearney when Dello was called for another penalty. Right after the Buckeyes brought the extra attacker on the ice, Joyaux launched a rocket from the left point which got past Morris to make it 2-0.
Despite scoring on the delayed penalty, the Buckeyes still went on the power-play (good ole college rules) but Ohio State couldn’t extend their lead. With 6:59 to go in the second period, Notre Dame found themselves on another power-play after Weis was called for tripping. The Irish at that point had been 0 for 14 against the nationally top-ranked Ohio State penalty kill this season and did all they could to end that streak, but Romeo proved to be too much for the Irish and the game remained 2-0.
Dylan Malmquist picked up a loose puck at center ice to go on a partial breakaway but was chopped down from behind by Gordi Myer who went to the penalty box for slashing. The power-play drought against the Buckeyes finally came to an end shortly after the Irish went on the man advantage. Cam Morrison got a piece of a rocket slapshot from Andrew Oglevie to beat Romeo stickside and make it 2-1 with 2:55 to go in the period. The goal ended another drought, as it was the first in seventeen games for Morrison.
The puck is down for the third, let’s go Irish!— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) February 11, 2018
Here’s Morrison’s tip in to close out the 2nd pic.twitter.com/A5PpvwvY00
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Irish defense was third in the NCAA giving up 1.97 goals per game, while the Buckeyes’ defense was sixth at 2.21. Up to this point, the great defensive play continued for both teams. Another strength for both teams was their goaltending. Arguably the two best netminders in the Big Ten weren’t making it easy for their opposition. To open the third period, Notre Dame had outshot Ohio State 33-25 and the score remained 2-1 Buckeyes.
At 3:58 in the 3rd, Bo Brauer was called for high sticking, and an Ohio State power-play unit that was 0 for 3 had their chance to pad their lead. On the penalty kill, Cal Burke looked to have a partial breakaway but the puck was poked away by Romeo who came out of his net. Romeo would go on to make a career high 39 saves for the Buckeyes on Saturday.
After Ohio State once again failed to score on the power-play, Kevin Miller tipped the puck over the shoulder of Morris to score his second goal of the series and make it 3-1 with 13:04. Things quickly went from bad to ugly as forward Sam McCormick tipped a loose puck through the legs of Morris to make it 4-1 with 12:07 to play.
After the fourth goal, Morris was pulled and highly anticipated freshman Dylan St. Cyr saw his first action since October 26th against the Omaha Mavericks. The goaltender from Northville, MI was 1-2-1 with a 3.22 GAA and a .914 save percentage coming into Saturday’s contest. St. Cyr would see the Ohio State power-play unit, as Malmquist was called for high sticking at 11:01 but the score remained 4-1.
Kearney would score an empty-netter for the Buckeyes when St. Cyr was pulled for an extra attacker at the end of an Irish power-play that saw Joyaux sent to the penalty box for slashing at 14:19. 5-1 would turn out to be the final score for a game where the Irish really didn’t have all that much to play for. The loss was Notre Dame’s first home loss since October 26th against Omaha.
Technically this was considered an upset, considering Notre Dame’s conference record and ranking as the number one team in the nation, but this result probably wasn’t a surprise to many. Yes, the Irish can’t afford to lose momentum going into the Big Ten tournament, but with the top seed and hosting a conference semifinal game locked up, this shouldn’t be a loss we lose any sleep over. These teams could very well meet again the Big Ten championship game, which would be at Compton Family Ice Arena.
OSU - Matthew Weis (10) at 08:49 in the 1st from Matt Miller (7) and Gordi Myer (7)
OSU - Matt Joyaux (1) with EX at 08:55 in the 2nd from Brendon Kearney (7) and Luke Stork (4)
ND - Cam Morrison (5) on the PP at 17:35 in the 2nd from Andrew Oglevie (16) and Bobby Nardella (15)
OSU - Kevin Miller (5) at 06:56 in the 3rd from Wyatt Ege (9) and Luke Stork (5)
OSU - Sam McCormick (2) at 07:53 in the 3rd from John Wiitala (9) and Mason Jobst (17)
OSU - Brendon Kearney (3) on the EN at 16:21 in the 3rd from Christian Lampasso(2)
ND - Cale Morris stopped 27 of 31 shots, falls to 21-4-1
ND - Dylan St. Cyr stopped 6 of 6 shots, ND
OSU - Sean Romeo stopped 39 of 40 shots, improves to 16-7-4
OSU - Matt Joyaux, 2 for hooking at 03:06 in the 1st
OSU - Tommy Parran, 2 for holding at 14:19 in the 1st
ND - Joe Wegwerth, 2 for high sticking at 15:53 in the 1st
ND - Tory Dello, 2 for cross-checking at 18:46 in the 1st
ND - Tory Dello, 2 for slashing at 08:55 in the 2nd
OSU - Matthew Weis, 2 for tripping at 13:01 in the 2nd
OSU - Gordi Myer, 2 for slashing at 17:19 in the 2nd
ND - Bo Brauer, 2 for high sticking at 03:58 in the 3rd
ND - Dylan Malmquist, 2 for high sticking at 11:01 in the 3rd
OSU - Matt Joyaux, 2 for slashing at 14:19 in the 3rd
- Sean Romeo
- Matt Joyaux
- Luke Stork
The #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face the Michigan Wolverines in a home and home series on Fri. Feb. 16 at Compton Family Ice Arena and Sun. Feb. 18 at Yost Ice Arena