This weekend is a celebration of the Irish spirit in more ways than one. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish overpowered the Minnesota Golden Gophers 2-1 in overtime Saturday to move on to the Big Ten tournament final. The Irish took control of the tone of the game early on, more than tripling the Gophers’ 5 shots on goal with 17, and claiming the first goal of the game. Mike O’Leary’s shot only found the back of the net after hitting Cam Morrison’s arm, leading to a prolonged review from officials to determine whether or not Morrison intentionally redirected the puck. Linesmen put the goal on the board, but the process obstructed the Irish momentum as Minnesota’s Sampo Ranta scored to tie the game with the team’s first shot on goal.
The second and third periods brought missed scoring opportunities for both teams; the two squads grew more evenly matched in their shots on goal and an Irish power play yielded no progress. The tone and advantage of the game were in anyone’s hands.
However, Minnesota’s Tyler Sheehy headed to the penalty box early in the extra period for hooking in what proved to be the strongest influence in breaking the tension of the second and third periods. Notre Dame’s Michael Graham then proved his vital role on the power play over this season once again with the game-winner in overtime to secure the Irish victory.
Michael Graham’s overtime winner pic.twitter.com/1Melc06uRN— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) March 17, 2019
Minnesota, Rem Pitlick for hooking at 19:31 in the 1st
Notre Dame, Graham Slaggert for hooking at 03:21 in the 2nd
Minnesota, Brannon McManus for hooking at 16:46 in the 3rd
Minnesota, Tyler Sheehy at 00:31 in OT
Notre Dame, Cam Morrison at 18:00 in the 1st, assists from Mike O’Leary and Michael Graham
Minnesota, Sampo Ranta at 14:15 in the 1st, assists from Ben Brinkman and Sammy Walker
Notre Dame, Michael Graham at 00:53 in OT, assists from Andrew Peeke and Mike O’Leary
Notre Dame: Cale Morris, 25 saves
Minnesota: Mat Robson, 35 saves
The Irish will play the winner of Sunday’s semifinal game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions in the tournament finals. If Penn State wins, the Irish will face the Nittany Lions at Compton Family Ice Arena Saturday March 23. In the case of an Ohio State win, the Irish will play at home against the Buckeyes Sunday March 24.
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