The fourth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish kicked off the 2021 Big Ten Tournament on Sunday afternoon, welcoming the fifth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions to Compton Family Ice Arena, which due to COVID-19 concerns, is hosting the entire tournament this year. The teams came into the weekend very familiar with each other, having played last weekend in a series where the Irish swept the Nittany Lions.
Riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak, the Irish got off to a great start. Just over a minute in, the Irish capitalized off Penn State having too many players on the ice, when Colin Theisen buried home a rebound. 31 seconds later, Jesse Landsell beat Oskar Autio top shelf to make it 2-0. The first 9 shots taken in the contest were all from Notre Dame.
What would’ve been the first Penn State goal of the afternoon was taken away after an offsides review. After getting his goal called off, Alex Limoges set up a Christian Sarlo shot that was initially called to have hit the cross bar. After yet another review, it was called a goal and the teams went into intermission with Notre Dame ahead 2-1.
The middle frame was all Penn State. They tied it up when Connor McMenamin beat Dylan St. Cyr five hole to tie it early in the period. The Irish were on their second man-advantage of the game after Kenny Johnson was called for roughing on Solag Bakich, but couldn’t cash in like they did in the first.
Midway through the period, McMenamin slipped it through the pads of St. Cyr once again after a great outlet pass from Kevin Wall. After Grant Silianoff was called for a trip on Bobby Hampton, Penn State got a power-play goal of their own when an Alex Limoges feed found Tim Doherty who put the puck up high over the glove of St. Cyr.
A Notre Dame turnover behind their own net proved to be costly when Chase McLane put a loose puck in the back of the net to make it 5-2. A couple minutes later, the Irish got back on the power-play thanks to a slashing call on Jared Westcott. On the power-play, head coach Jeff Jackson made the gutsy call to pull St. Cyr for a two-man advantage, which paid off when freshman Ryder Rolston gave the Irish life with his first career goal.
With just over 3 minutes to go, St. Cyr was pulled for another man advantage. Despite plenty of pressure by the Irish, McLane would score his second of the afternoon on the empty net to make it 6-3. as the Nittany Lions moved on to the Big Ten semifinals where they will face the Wisconsin Badgers on Monday.
Notre Dame: Colin Theisen (PPG) at 02:10 in the 1st, assisted by Alex Steeves and Landon Slaggert
Notre Dame: Jesse Landsdell at 02:41 in the 1st, assisted by Matt Hellickson and Max Ellis
Penn State: Christian Sarlo at 18:52 in the 1st, assisted by Alex Limoges
Penn State: Connor McMenamin at 03:19 in the 2nd, assisted by Kevin Wall
Penn State: Connor McMenamin at 10:10 in the 2nd, assisted by Kevin Wall
Penn State: Tim Doherty (PPG) at 14:55 in the 2nd, assisted by Alex Limoges and Connor MacEachern
Penn State: Chase McLane at 08:20 in the 3rd, assisted by Mason Snell and Connor MacEachern
Notre Dame: Ryder Rolston (PPG) at 12:56 in the 3rd, assisted by Jake Pivonka
Penn State: Chase McLane (ENG) at 19:28 in the 3rd, assisted by Jared Westcott
Penn State: Team penalty, 2 for too many players on ice at 01:03 in the 1st
Penn State: Kenny Johnson, 2 for roughing at 06:36 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Grant Silianoff, 2 for tripping at 13:42 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Nick Leivermann, 2 for interference at 19:20 in the 2nd
Penn State: Jared Westcott, 2 for slashing at 11:06 in the 3rd
Notre Dame: Jesse Landsdell, 2 for charging at 13:07 in the 3rd
Notre Dame: Dylan St. Cyr (L) saved 33 of 38 shots
Penn State: Oskar Autio (W) saved 33 of 36 shots
The Irish are eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament and will wait on the NCAA Tournament selection.