Friday night it was warmer in Compton Family Ice Arena than it was outside. That is saying a lot as Compton can get very cold. With snow falling outside, and Paul Cartier (organist for the New York Yankees/New York Islanders) the atmosphere inside was just electric. In order to keep in the discussion for the B1G regular season title, snagging as many points for staying in the race for the discussion for another NCAA Frozen Four tournament chance. As of Friday night the Irish are in striking distance for doing both.
This story has been written before. An opponent comes into Compton Family Ice Arena and just opens fire on the Fighting Irish goalies. To start of the the first period Michigan State did just that. Within the first eleven minutes of the game start the Spartans had 11 shots taken comapred to the Fighting Irish getting to the 5:28 mark to get their first shot which was blocked by State’s Sam Seliba.
Remember it’s not about quantity (it would be nice) but it’s the quality of the shot taken. At 16:30 Dylan Malmquist broke through as he lit the lamp from just in front of the goalie crease. Malmquist was assisted by Graham and O’Leary. In total the Spartans out shot the Irish 22-13 with 13-6 Shots on Goal. That’s irrrelevant when ND has a crooked number on the board. Cale Morris was in the zone. The only problem defensively was the rebounds were kicking back in the Spartans favor.
The second period got off to a quick start. Rather than taking almost the entire period to score, Malmquist lights the lamp on a Power Play goal. The Malmquist goal, assisted by Bobby Nardella and once again by O’Leary. An important note that played into the evening was the Irish Penalty Kill. The second period saw back to back penalties on the Fighting Irish. During the Spartans the time frame only one goal got by Morris. A rebound off of Morris went back to Cody Milan and put in on net. 5-3 is difficult to defend a rebound like that. The score goes to 2-1 Irish.
Late in the period the excitement picked up again. at 18:20 Cam Burke put the puck in the net from Lethermon’s left side. Burke’s goal, assisted by Matt Hellickson and Colin Theisen. The ensuing face-off is won by O’Leary and 27 seconds later Tory Dello finds the hole and lights the lamp from just in front of the goalie crease. Again, an assist by Graham and O’Leary. There is a theme developing here. All of this play is from smooth puck control. This is something that Coach Jackson has been talking about for a while.
Much like the First Period, the Irish came out and scored quickly. On the Power Play, Michael Graham (“Golden Graham” designed by Shake Down The Thunder Sports), scores on the Power Play at 1:53. Asissted by Andrew Peeke and O’Leary, Putting the Irish up 5-1. Sparty came unraveled a little bit and after the goal, a delayed penalty on the Spartans, empties the net for the Irish for an Extra Attacker, for 11 seconds before the play is whistled dead. at 4:12, Golden Graham, takes advantage of the 5-4 Power Play and again strikes gold as the puck goes in. Graham’s goal is assisted by Malmquist and Nardella. Putting the Irish up 6-1 at 4:12 in the third.
Late in third period, Sparty scores two quick goals one by Taro Hirose at 10:09 and Milan at 10:31. The goal is Milan’s second of the night. Setting up the final score of the game 6-3. On an interesting stat point, Cale Morris notched 49 saves on 52 shots fired at him, The Irish converted on three of their four Power Play opportunities.
Stars Of The Game
☘☘☘ Michael Graham 2 Goals and 2 Assists
☘☘ Mike O’Leary 4 Assists
☘ Dylan Malmquist 2 Goals and 1 Assist.
Coach Jackson Press Conference
Shake Down The Thunder Sports opens with a comment to Coach about the Malmquist, Graham O’Leary tandem and how he can’t be upset with their performance.
Coach Jackson’s response: ” You never figure the game out, you lose two, three primary scorers, it cause s your line to change and all of a sudden you find something. It’s almost what has happened here. Mike O’Leary stepped up as the First Line Center, he has taken hold of it and ran with it, “
Michael Graham the same thing. Neither one was getting power play time, all of a sudden they are given an opportunity and they take advantage of it. That’s what you hope happens, but you can never predict it.” It was not just about the first line, it was about the chemistry of the fourth line guys. We had a Freshmen line playing against the best line in college hockey. They play hard smart and know what to do.”
Dylan Malmquist Press Conference
Cheers and Go Irish!!! ☘⚡