Coming off of a loss outdoors, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team welcomed the Minnesota Golden Gophers to South Bend for a weekend series at Compton Family Icea Arena. The Irish generated a lot of offense over the weekend, outshooting Minnesota in both games, but they were only able to generate a single goal each game and lost both on home ice.
Notre Dame now sits sixth in the Big Ten Conference standings with 15 points and a 5-6-0 record.
The game started off slowly enough with nothing much to show for the first period. Despite the chances for Notre Dame, the two teams entered the first intermission scoreless. Minnesota struck first midway through the second period, but that was all the action from the second 20 minutes as well.
In the third period the Gophers broke the game open. Minnesota managed a goal about every five minutes of the final period, opening up a 4-0 at 15:57.
Later in the third, Nick Leivermann pulled one back for the Irish, scoring the first goal of his collegiate career. It was too little too late though, and Minnesota added an empty net goal for the 5-1 win.
Minnesota excelled on Friday night in the transition game, and scored several goals off of Notre Dame turnovers. Cale Morris had one of his rare bad games, giving up four goals on only 21 shots, but those are few and far between. Notre Dame outshot Minnesota 43-22 and that is an encouraging sign. If they can continue to generate chances at that rate the goals will come.
MINN - Tommy Novak (1) at 12:04 in the 2nd, assisted by Brannon McManus and Sampo Ranta
MINN - Blake McLaughlin (1) at 5:35 in the 3rd, assisted by Nathan Burke and Sammy Walker
MINN - Brannon McManus (7) at 9:15 in the 3rd, assisted by Sampo Ranta
MINN - Sammy Walker (5) at 15:57 in the 3rd, assisted by Blake McLaughlin and Sampo Ranta
ND - Nick Leivermann (1) at 16:50 in the third, assisted by Cam Morrison and Dylan Malmquist
MINN - Rem Pitlick (10) on the empty net at 19:49 in the 3rd, assisted by Ben Gates Jr. and Ryan Zuhlsdorf
ND - Cale Morris allowed 4 goals on 21 shots (17 saves) in the loss
MINN - Mat Robson allowed 1 goal on 43 shots for the win
MINN - Blake McLaughlin, 2 for slashing at 15:18 in the 2nd
MINN - Tyler Nanne, 2 for elbowing at 18:11 in the 3rd
On Saturday night, Notre Dame opened the scoring just before the midway point of the first period. Jack Jenkins found the back of the net to give the Irish a 1-0 lead that they would hold until the second.
Midway through the second, with Minnesota on the power play, they evened the score at 1. The scored stayed that way until late in the third.
The third period was back and forth, with both teams taking chances and failing to convert. Minnesota finally broke through at the very end of the period, scoring on an odd man rush with only 8 seconds left in the game for the 2-1 win.
Dyaln St. Cyr was stellar in net all night for the Irish, and they again outshot Minnesota. Losing two games at home to a conference opponent is not good, but Notre Dame saw outstanding goaltending from Mat Robson all weekend, and sometimes that can steal a game or two for a team. What is good is that Notre Dame controlled most of the offensive chances in both games. They haven’t often done that this year, and they’ve stolen more than a few games with great goaltending. If they can keep taking those chances on offense the goals will follow.
ND - Jack Jenkins (3) at 7:29 in the 1st, assisted by Dylan Malmquist and Cal Burke
MINN - Brannon McManus (8) on the PP at 10:47 in the 2nd, assisted by Tyler Sheehy and Rem Pitlick
MINN - Blake McLaughlin (2) at 19:52 in the 3rd, assisted by Tyler Sheehy
ND - Dylan St. Cyr saved 24 of 26 shots in the loss
MINN - Mat Robson saved 34 of 35 shots for the win
MINN - Jack Sadek, 2 for cross-checking at 9:41 in the 1st
ND - Nate Clurman, 2 for tripping at 14:34 in the 1st
ND - Mike O’Leary, 2 for cross-checking at 2:39 in the 2nd
ND - Colin Theisen, 2 for tripping at 8:25 in the 2nd
ND - BENCH, 2 for too many players at 10:38 in the 2nd
ND - BENCH, 2 for too many players at 13:48 in the 3rd
MINN - Brannon McManus, 2 for slashing at 13:58 in the 3rd
The Irish travel to Madison, WI for a Friday night game against the Wisconsin Badgers. They will follow that up with a second game against the Badgers on Sunday, playing at the United Center in Chicago.