Hockey is a funny sport. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entered their weekend series against the Wisconsin Badgers having lost three straight games. Coming off a weekend where they outplayed the Minnesota Golden Gophers but struggled to find the back of the net the Irish were hoping to capitalize on that strong play. Instead, they were outshot, spent a lot of time on the penalty kill, and left the weekend with two wins, one in overtime.
Notre Dame opened the scoring on one of their first attempts of the game. After a shot from Jack Jenkins went wide of the net, Cam Burke found the rebound and laid a pass back to Graham Slaggert who scored the opening goal of the game. Notre Dame added a second goal midway through the first when Michael Graham scored from the slot on the power play.
Here's a look at Graham Slaggert's goal to open the scoring at the Kohl Center! pic.twitter.com/57cELJaZGb— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) January 19, 2019
Wisconsin scored the next three goals, one in the first and two in the second, and took their first lead of the game. Bobby Nardella tied the game at 3 with a wrist shot late in the second period and the game stayed tied into the third.
Both teams traded power play goals to start the third and the game was tied at 4 when Notre Dame took the lead on a series of incredible passes that eventually landed on the stick of Mike O’Leary who one timed it into the net. Tory Dello added an empty net goal for the final score of 6-4.
Notre Dame was outplayed in almost every facet of this game. They were outshot, took five penalties, and Wisconsin dominated possession. What Notre Dame did do is dominate the faceoff circle and capitalize on Wisconsin mistakes, turning Badger turnovers and defensive lapses into goals.
ND - Graham Slaggert (2) at 2:07 in the 1st, assisted by Cam Burke and Jack Jenkins
ND - Michael Graham (2) on the PP at 9:44 in the 1st, assisted by Dylan Malmquist and Bobby Nardella
WISC - K’Andre Miller (5) at 13:37 in the 1st, assisted by Ty Emberson and Daniel Lebedeff
WISC - Roman Ahcan (3) at 1:44 in the 2nd, assisted by Dominick Mersch and Josh Ess
WISC - Tarek Baker (5) at 11:27 in the 2nd, assisted by Peter Tischke and Josh Ess
ND - Bobby Nardella (6) at 14:28 in the 2nd, assisted by Colin Theisen
ND - Michael Graham (3) on the PP at 4:22 in the 3rd, assisted by Andrew Peeke and Bobby Nardella
WISC - Will Johnson (7) on the PP at 8:23 in the 3rd, assisted by Ty Emberson and Seamus Malone
ND - Mike O’Leary (3) at 13:36 in the 3rd, assisted by Dyaln Malmquist and Michael Graham
ND - Tory Dello (1) on the EN at 18:43 in the 3rd, unassisted
ND - Cale Morris saved 33 out of 37 shots for the win
WISC - Daniel Lebedeff allowed 4 goals on 16 shots in the loss
WISC - Jack Berry allowed 1 goal on 7 shots
ND - Colin Theisen, 2 for interference at 2:52 in the 1st
WISC - Will Johnson, 2 for tripping at 9:03 in the 1st
ND - Luke Novak, 2 for cross-checking at 12:36 in the 1st
ND - Mike O’Leary, 2 for roughing at 11:08 in the 2nd
WISC - Tyler Inamoto, 2 for roughing at 11:08 in the 2nd
WISC - Tarek Baker, 2 for roughing at 3:09 in the 3rd
ND - Matt Hellickson, 2 for hooking at 6:47 in the 3rd
ND - Matt Steeves, 2 for roughing at 19:48 in the 3rd
WISC - Peter Tischke, 2 for slashing at 19:48 in the 3rd
WISC - Peter Tischke, 2 for roughing at 19:48 in the 3rd
For game two of the series, Notre Dame and Wisconsin moved to Chicago and the United Center. The teams played to a tie and that’s how it will stand on both their records, but because it was a conference matchup, they kept playing into overtime to see who would earn an extra point in the conference standings.
Wisconsin opened the scoring in the first period when Dominick Mersch found the back of the net. A flurry of goals late in the period saw Notre Dame tie the game before Wisconsin regained the one goal advantage. Michael Graham tied the game for the Irish on the power play, but the Badgers scored with only a second remaining in the period.
Michael Graham tied the game again in the second period. Matt Hellickson sprung Graham on a breakaway with a pass from the defensive zone and Graham found the back of the net for his second of the game.
Both teams had chances moving forward, but they played through the third period and first overtime with no deciding goal. In the second overtime, skating 3-on-3, Notre Dame finally broke through when Spencer Statsney scored on a wrist shot. Unfortunately the goal won’t count on Statsney’s stat sheet, but it did earn Notre Dame a vital extra point in the conference standings. The Irish now sit third in the conference with a game in hand.
WISC - Dominick Mersch (3) at 6:25 in the 1st, assisted by Jack Gorniak and Sean Dhooghe
ND - Michael Graham (4) at 18:29 in the 1st, assisted by Mike O’Leary and Bobby Nardella
WISC - Roman Ahcan (4) at 19:59 in the 1st, assisted by Brock Caufield and Tyler Inamoto
ND - Michael Graham (5) at 10:35 in the 2nd, assisted by Matt Hellickson and Mike O’Leary
ND - Cale Morris made 32 saves on 34 shots
WISC - Jack Berry saved 26 of 28 shots
ND - Tory Dello, 2 for slashing at 1:10 in the 1st
ND - Nate Clurman, 2 for boarding at 7:21 in the 1st
WISC - Dominick Mersch, 2 for interference at 17:44 in the 1st
ND - Spencer Stastney, 2 for holding at 2:56 in the 2nd
ND - Graham Slaggert, 2 for contact to the head at 10:54 in the 2nd
WISC - Wyatt Kalynuk, 2 for boarding at 14:44 in the 2nd
ND - Matt Hellickson, 2 for slashing at 7:42 in the 3rd
WISC - Roman Ahcan, 2 for tripping at 7:42 in the 3rd
ND - Jake Pivonka, 2 for tripping at 4:47 in OT
Notre Dame returns to South Bend for a conference matchup with the Michigan State Spartans next weekend. The Irish swept Sparty earlier in the year in East Lansing, but the two teams are currently 3 and 4 in the conference and separated by only a single point. A sweep for either team would be a great result.