The final series of 2020 began for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night as they welcomed the Michigan State Spartans to Compton Family Ice Arena. It was the first series for the Spartans in two weeks, as last weekend’s matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Wisconsin program, while the Irish came into the series still looking for their first home sweep in what is shaping up to be a tight race in the Big Ten.
Power-plays have been a struggle for both teams this season, and tonight was no different. The first penalty of the evening was called on Notre Dame sophomore Trevor Janicke for high sticking and killed off with ease by the Irish.
Things got chippy later in the period, when Michigan State’s Jagger Joshua and Notre Dame’s Jesse Landsdell were both called for cross-checking. On the ensuing 4-on-4, Michigan State forward Tommy Apap broke the scoreless tie by winning a battle down low for a puck that bounced off the wall. The goal was reviewed but the call stood, and the Spartans took a 1-0 lead into intermission.
The Irish dominated the second period, out-shooting the Spartans 13-4. After a collision in front of the net, Michael Graham was called for goaltender interference, and once again Notre Dame killed off the Michigan State power-play.
Alex Steeves tied the game back up by going backdoor past Michigan State goaltender Drew DeRidder after a beautiful pass from Graham Slaggert. The goal marked four straight games were Steeves has found the back of the net.
— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) December 20, 2020
Steeve's scores in his 4️⃣th straight and leads the Irish in goals on the season with 5️⃣!#GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/WNQAf1aSnW
The power-play frustration continued for Notre Dame in the final frame. On three occasions, one of which a five-minute opportunity, they had the man advantage but were unable to capitalize. The Irish had no trouble getting pucks on net, but DeRidder stopped all 19 shots he saw in the third.
Much like the second and third periods, overtime was controlled by the Irish, who just couldn’t get anything past DeRidder. The Irish out-shot the Spartans 7-0 in the extra five-minute frame, and even closed it out with another man advantage when Tommy Miller was called for hooking with less than two minutes to go.
With the game now officially scored as a tie, the teams went to a shootout. Up for grabs was the extra point in the Big Ten standings. Notre Dame’s first two attempts were converted by Max Ellis and Nick Leivermann while Ryan Bischel stopped both Michigan State shots he faced.
Michigan State: Tommy Apap (4x4) at 14:16 in the 1st, with assists from Dennis Cesana and Mitchell Lewandowski
Notre Dame: Alex Steeves at 14:18 in the 2nd, with assists from Graham Slaggert and Nick Leivermann
Notre Dame: Trevor Janicke at 06:57 in the 1st for high-sticking
Michigan State: Jagger Joshua at 12:21 in the 1st for cross-checking
Notre Dame: Jesse Landsdell at 12:21 in the 1st for cross-checking
Notre Dame: Michael Graham at 02:52 in the 2nd for goaltender interference
Michigan State: Christian Krygier at 05:52 in the 3rd for checking from behind
Michigan State: Christian Krygier at 05:52 in the 3rd, game misconduct
Notre Dame: Nate Clurman at 08:42 in the 3rd for tripping
Michigan State: Charlie Combs at 13:29 in the 3rd for hooking
Michigan State: Nicolas Muller at 16:14 in the 3rd for tripping
Michigan State: Tommy Miller at 03:14 in OT for hooking
Notre Dame: Ryan Bischel, 19 saves
Michigan State: Drew DeRidder, 47 saves
The Irish will conclude the first half of the 2020-21 season with the Spartans on Sunday at 5:00 PM ET. To catch the game, tune in to NBC Sports Chicago/Philadelphia or stream via the NBC Sports App.