The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team held on to beat the Wisconsin Badgers in a decisive game three of the Big Ten Quarterfinals today, winning 4-2 after splitting the first two games of the series. Notre Dame now moves onto the semifinals where they will travel to Ann Arbor, MI for a single elimination matchup with the Michigan Wolverines.
Just past the midway point of the first period, Notre Dame manages to take a 1-0 lead on a superb goal from Jack Adams. Hunter Strand had the puck behind the net and dropped off a no look pass for Adams, who let a shot fly from below the left faceoff circle at nearly the goal line. The puck ricocheted off Wisconsin goaltender Jared Moe and over the goal line for the first score of the game.
Just a few minutes later Notre Dame was on the power play and this time it was Landon Slaggert that found the back of the net for the 2-0 lead. Graham Slaggert had the puck at the point and passed it to his brother Landon who was stationed in front of the net. Landon went backhand to forehand and caught Moe sliding to his right, opening the short side of the net for an easy goal.
Shortly after Notre Dame extended their lead, Wisconsin pulled one back, when Sam Strange beat Matthew Galajda to cut the lead in half. The first period ended with the score 2-1 Notre Dame.
When play resumed in the second period, Notre Dame wasted very little time extending their lead, with Jake Pivonka scoring his first goal of the season less than two minutes in. Jesse Lansdell had the puck in the corner and found Pivonka coming down the slot for a pass. Pivonka wasted little time before letting a shot go, beating Moe high over his glove for the third Irish goal of the night.
Things wouldn’t get easy for Notre Dame from there though. Late in the second Daniel Laatsch scored Wisconsin’s second goal and again Notre Dame went into the intermission with only a one goal lead.
The third period was a quick and quiet one though. Neither team found themselves in the penalty box and there were only 15 shots total in the period, 9 by Wisconsin and 6 from Notre Dame. Wisconsin pulled Moe from the goal late in the period and with under a minute left in the game Trevor Janicke added an empty net goal to seal the win for Notre Dame and send them on to the semifinals and, more importantly, quite possibly sealing their ticket to the NCAA Tournament as well. That of course remains to be seen, but Notre Dame is in excellent position no matter what happens with the rest of the Big Ten Tournament.
Notre Dame: Jack Adams at 11:22 in the 1st with assists from Hunter Strand and Nick Leivermann
Notre Dame: Landon Slaggert on the power play at 14:14 in the 1st with assists from Graham Slaggert and Trevor Janicke
Wisconsin: Sam Strange at 16:01 in the 1st with assists from Liam Malmquist and Jack Gorniak
Notre Dame: Jake Pivonka at 1:55 in the 2nd with assists from Jesse Lansdell and Adam Karashik
Wisconsin: Daniel Laatsch at 15:22 in the 2nd with assists from Roman Ahcan and Dominick Mersch
Wisconsin: Sam Strange 2 minutes for boarding at 13:31 in the 1st
Wisconsin: Dominick Mersch 2 minutes for tripping at 6:28 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Nick Leivermann 2 minutes for tripping at 18:35 in the 2nd
Wisconsin: Jack Gorniak 2 minutes for cross-checking at 19:55 in the 2nd
Notre Dame: Matthew Galajda, 24 saves on 26 shots for the win
Wisconsin: Jared Moe, 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss
Notre Dame, as the 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, now heads out on the road for the semifinal. They will travel to Ann Arbor, MI next weekend for a single elimination game against the Michigan Wolverines, who beat the Michigan State Spartans this weekend in their own quarterfinal series. The semifinal game will be Saturday, March 12 at 6:30pm ET.