After playing in the iconic Notre Dame Stadium last Saturday, the Notre Dame hockey team came back inside. Coming into Friday nights game ND has been on the winning side of their last eight out of ten. This season Minnesota has a new hockey coach. Bob Motzko. Coach Motzko is the former head coach of St. Cloud State. Minnesota and ND came into the game tied for third in the B1G. This a critical game for both teams.
The first period seemed more like a feeling out period. Both teams went up and down the ice for 20 minutes. Notre Dame dominated the first half statistically. Leading face-offs won 11-4 and shots on target 13-5. The Irish were not able to penetrate the stellar play by Minnesota goalie Mat Robson. Fighting Irish goalie Cale Morris performed just as well. Both teams were determined not to be scored on in the first period. And that is exactly what happened. After the first period of play both teams were knotted at zero.
The Irish came out on fire in the second period. The Irish were leading in shots attempted 15-9, but the Gophers tenth shot was the won that counted. At 12:04, the Gophers Tommy Novak slides the puck by Morris to put the Gopher’s up 1-0. After the goal by Novak, the Irish got a chance on the power play to put points on the board, but the Gopher’s play smooth penalty kill and the Irish could not score on the man advantage. The Irish dominated the stats, Saves 13-8, Face-offs 9-8, and the Irish led Shots 13-9, The Gophers took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
In the third period, the gloves figuratively. Who was going to win the game? Both teams came out firing. ND led the charge then the Gophers. During that wave of shots against Morris, at 5:35 Blake McGlaughlin put the puck on net and lights the lamp. The Gophers go up 2-0 with 14:25 remaining in regulation. Now the Irish are down two goals. The Irish are not giving up. Alex Steeves, Cam Morrison, and Mike O’Leary all had shots. Two are saved by Robson and one is blocked by defenseman Ben Brinkman of the Gophers. At 9:15, the Gophers go up 3-0 off the stick of Brannon McManus.
It’s tough when you are chasing points. 3-0 is a huge deficit when there is 9:15 left in regulation. The Irish start to fire the puck at a rapid pace. 11 shots are fired including one that hit of the pipes. Nothing is more dramatic in hockey than hearing that hollow pipe sound. Despite all that effort, The Gophers made sure there was no comeback on Friday night. Sammy Walker of the Gophers lights the lamp at 15:57. Putting the Gophers up 4-0.
Nick Leivermann made sure the Fighting Irish would not be shut out. At 16:50 Nick scores his first collegiate goal for the Fighting Irish. After the goal, the Irish had a chance to score. A power play for the Irish, gives them another chance to put points on the board with a man advantage. The Irish choose to pull their goalie for an extra attacker. At 19:49, Rem Pitlick for the Gophers scores the empty net, short handed goal to seal the 5-1 victory over the Irish.
The Irish meet-up tonight with the Minnesota at 7PM at Compton Family Ice Arena. The game can be seen on SNY and radio
#Go Irish ☘⚡