The night before Saturday’s game with the Penn State Nittany Lions, it took a comeback victory for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to continue their run of never having lost on the road in regulation this season. Despite trailing 2-0 at the first intermission, Cale Morris made what was at the time a career-high 48 saves against a Penn State offense that loves to shoot the puck, and the Irish escaped the first game of the series with a 5-3 win in front of the second largest crowd in the history of Pegula Ice Arena. Lately, squandering leads has become a common occurrence for the Nittany Lions.
Thirty-four seconds into the game, Andrew Peeke was sent to the penalty box for holding and Penn State, who had gone 0 for 8 on the power play against Notre Dame this season, went on the man advantage, but the Irish penalty kill answered the challenge with ease. A little over six minutes into the contest, Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones made easy save that went in and out of his glove right at the top of the blue paint. Cal Burke poked it home with a backhand to score his team leading 13th goal to give the Irish an early 1-0 lead.
Jones almost gave up the puck again shortly after, and it forced Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky to call a timeout in hopes of settling down his struggling netminder. Despite this, the Irish forwards continued to get pressure on Penn State, and less than two minutes later, Dylan Malmquist’s third goal in three games made it 2-0. The goal was reviewed, and the fans at Pegula Ice Arena voiced their displeasure, likely due to the play of Jones, since the goal didn’t look to be very controversial.
The Irish power play, ranked 12th best in the nation, went to work after Penn State forward Alec Marsh was called for holding, but the Nittany Lions were able to kill it off. With 2:11 left in the opening period, Penn State got on the board. Cale Morris made the initial save, but Penn State forward Andrew Sturtz knocked it home after the rebound to make it a one goal game.
Penn State continued to challenge the Notre Dame goaltender, nearly tying the game. With 16 seconds left in the period, Tory Dello was called for kneeing and Penn State had a broken power play going into first intermission. Penn State would have 1:44 left of their power play to start the second period.
On the powerplay, Sturtz had a big chance to tie the game after a rebound, but Morris made a couple of big stops to preserve the Irish lead and kill off the penalty. Shortly after the Irish got back to even strength, forward Liam Folkes came from behind the net on Morris’s short side to light the lamp for his 10th goal of the season and make it a 2-2 game just over two minutes into the period.
Defenseman James Gobetz was called for interference at 4:41 of period. The only real scoring chance the Irish had on the ensuing power play was an unsuccessful two-on-one and the Irish couldn’t capitalize. Folkes looked like he was going to give Penn State the lead, but the stick of Jordan Gross blocked the shot and kept it tied. After Penn State captain James Robinson made contact to the head of Malmquist, he was sent to the box for roughing with under a minute left in the period. The teams would head into second intermission still tied. The Nittany Lions, known for taking a lot of shots on goal, out-shot the Irish 20-8 in the second.
Just like on Friday, we began the third period with a tie game. For the second time of the evening, the period started with a broken power play. This time, the Irish began with the period with 69 seconds left on the man advantage but couldn’t break the tie. Morris made a nice save on a short handed four-on-two right before Penn State got back to even strength.
Later in the third, Justin Wade was all by himself when he went backhand but the right pad of Peyton Jones kept the puck out of the net. Cam Morrison was knocked down by Gobetz who got the call for hooking. Notre Dame, who had been 0 for 2 on the power play up to that point, went back on the man advantage. The Irish won the draw but a Jake Evans one-timer didn’t make it to the net. Despite Notre Dame getting a few shots on Jones, the Nittany Lions killed off their third penalty of the evening.
Later in the third period, a shot into the mask of Morris was caught by the Notre Dame goaltender as he fell to the ice. The play was reviewed but the call stood as no goal. Right before the end of regulation, Dennis Gilbert had a great look at the net but his shot was wide and the teams would head into overtime. Morris’s career high of 48 saves would only last for under 24 hours, as he saved 50 at the end of the third period.
The five minute overtime was underway. Less than a minute in, Morrison had a great scoring chance in the middle of the zone but just missed the left post. Later in overtime, it looked like Robinson would seal it for Penn State but Morris made a miraculous skate save to keep the game going.
Wade reached out and grabbed the stick of Sturtz as he was going for a shot, which led to a penalty shot for Sturtz. Sturtz went with speed to the right post but shot it right into the left pad of Morris and the game continued. Despite both teams going back and forth and getting shots on goals, no one could find the net, ensuring both teams would receive at least one point for the contest and the game would go down as a tie, with a shootout coming up for the extra point in the Big Ten stadings.
Andrew Oglevie was the first shooter for the Irish but his shot went high and wide. Denis Smirnov was the first shooter for the Nittany Lions but Morris made an easy save on a backhand shot. Malmquist was next up for the Irish and went five-hole but the save was made by Jones. Folkes then tried to jam a shot near the right post but Morris made the save. Defenseman Jordan Gross was next for the Irish and beat Jones near the left pad for the first goal of the shootout. Sturtz was the last hope for Penn State to extend the shootout but he missed the net and the second point was secured for the Irish. Notre Dame is now 20-5-2 overall and 13 points ahead of the second place Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten standings, with three conference series left, starting with the Buckeyes next week at home.
ND - Cal Burke (13) at 06:38 in the 1st from Andrew Oglevie (14) and Jordan Gross (15)
ND - Dylan Malmquist (7) at 08:22 in the 1st from Andrew Oglevie (15) and Cal Burke (7)
PSU - Andrew Sturtz (12) at 17:49 in the 1st from James Gobetz (5) and Evan Barratt (7)
PSU - Liam Folkes (10) at 02:09 in the 2nd from Brandon Biro (20) and Nate Sucese (12)
ND - Cale Morris stopped 55 of 57 shots, is now 20-3-1
PSU - Peyton Jones stopped 30 of 32, is now 12-10-4
ND - Andrew Oglevie, 2 for holding at 00:34 in the 1st
PSU - Alec Marsh, 2 for hooking at 14:08 in the 1st
ND - Tory Dello, 2 for kneeing at 19:44 in the 1st
PSU - James Gobetz, 2 for interference at 04:41 in the 2nd
PSU - James Robinson, 2 for roughing at 19:09 in the 2nd
PSU - James Gobetz, 2 for hooking at 09:18 in the 3rd
ND - Justin Wade, 2 for holding at 03:24 in OT
- Cale Morris
- Cal Burke
- Andrew Oglevie
The #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will host the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes on Fri. Feb. 9 and Sat. Feb. 10 at Compton Family Ice Arena