With the second spot in the Big Ten standings on the line, Notre Dame hosted the Penn State in South Bend Friday. The Irish started the last series of the regular season in style with a 5-4 overtime win against the Nittany Lions.
The Irish offense showed a sense of urgency early on, surpassing the Nittany Lions’ shots on goal in the first period. Irish forward Jake Pivonka appeared to give his team the first goal of the game, but Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky successfully argued that there were too many men on the ice. Officials erased the goal, bringing the teams back to a scoreless footing and filling the Compton Family Ice Arena with boos.
Penn State’s Denis Smirnov further obstructed the Irish momentum by scoring the game’s first counted goal, with Ludvig Larsson claiming an assist.
The Nittany Lions carried their surge into the second twenty minutes with a goal from Liam Folkes just thirteen seconds into the period and another from Nate Sucese to bring the game to 3-0.
Momentum swung to the Irish after Penn State’s Evan Bell took a penalty for hooking and Matt Hellickson used the man-advantage to score. The two teams then traded goals, with Penn State forward Brandon Biro scoring just 87 seconds before Notre Dame forward Cal Burke responded with one of his own.
The eventful twenty minutes matched the intensity and uncertainty of the Big Ten standings as the regular season nears its end.
The third period belonged to the Irish, as junior forward Mike O’Leary scored less than five minutes into the frame to narrow the gap to 4-3. Sophomore Matt Steeves tied the game at four apiece about four minutes later and the teams headed to overtime.
A major penalty on Penn State’s Nikita Pavlychev for contact to the head late in the third period sealed the outcome as O’Leary took advantage of the power play to score Notre Dame’s winning fifth goal in overtime.
Penn State: Denis Smirnov at 1:27 in the 1st with assist from Ludvig Larsson
Penn State: Liam Folkes at 19:47 in the 2nd with assist from Cole Hults
Penn State: Nate Sucese at 14:43 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Matt Hellickson at 14:02 in the 2nd with assists from Tory Dello and Cam Morrison
Penn State: Brandon Biro at 6:25 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Cal Burke at 4:52 in the 2nd with assists from Colin Theisen and Cam Morrison
Notre Dame: Mike O’Leary at 4:47 in the 3rd with assists from Spencer Stastney and Dylan Malmquist
Notre Dame: Matt Steeves at 8:59 in the 3rd with assists from Jack Jenkins and Pierce Crawford
Notre Dame: Mike O’Leary in OT with assists from Dylan Malmquist and Bobby Nardella
Notre Dame: Cale Morris (31 saves)
Penn State: Peyton Jones (35 saves)
Penn State: Nikita Pavlychev, for tripping at 06:24 in the 1st
Penn State: Kevin Kerr, for holding at 01:24 in the 2nd
Penn State: Evan Bell, for hooking at 05:47 in the 2nd
Penn State: Cole Hults, for slashing at 09:20 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Andrew Peeke, for holding at 09:20 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Nate Clurman, for hooking at 18:45 in the 2nd
Penn State: Nikita Pavlychev, MAJOR, for contact to the head at 19:07 in the 3rd
Friday’s victory earned the Irish home ice advantage for the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Irish will face the Nittany Lions again at 7 tonight to end the regular season. Check out the game on TV on NBC Sports Chicago+, CSN Mid-Atlantic or SNY or stream online at nbcsports.com.
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