Finish on a positive note! That is what was on the minds of the Notre Dame Hockey coaching staff and the Irish puckers. The Irish have not won at home since November 9th against the Buckeyes. The Irish simply need to take care of business. Saturday night was also the last game of the the first half of the season for the Fightin’ Irish.
The Nittany Lions came out of the locker room ready to play. Taking shots fromall over the ice. Cale Morris was all over each shot, as well as the defense in front of him. As we have said in the past it’s not the quantity of shots you make, it’s the quality of the shot. Once again quality outweighed quantity. Max Ellis scored his first collegiate goal from in front of Nittany Lions goalie Peyton Jones to light the lamp and put the Irish up 1-0 at 7:35.
At 12:47 a big play occurs in the crease involving Morris. The Nittany Lions goal is waved off as there was goalie interference and the goal is disallowed. Instead of being tied at 1-1, the score remains 1-0 and a loss of momentum for PSU.
As with the first period, the Nittany Lions came out shooting at will again. The Irish struggled briefly in the early portion of the second period while they were on the power play. The Nittany Lions made it feel like they were on the power play, they were actually playing short handed. Moments after the Irish play was killed off, Alex Steeves from Jones’ left hand side, put the puck in the net at 9:05 to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.
PSU still out shooting the Irish, didn’t put a dent into the net against Morris. Six minutes later, Graham Slaggert from the right hand side of Jones’ puts his shot in the net to give the Irish a 3-0 lead in the second period. By far this was the best forty minutes of hockey played by this team.
The third period was all about defense and it definitely showed up that way in the stat sheet. The shots attempted for the Nittany Lions was thirty six compared to the Irish nine. The Nittany Lions had thirteen S.O.G. compared to the lonely one by the Irish. You may be wondering how that can be. At 14:02 the Nittany Lions pulled their goalie. For approximately 5:49 the Nittany Lions played with an extra attacker. That is the equivalent of an extended power play. The Irish may have played a man down but, they executed well against the extra attacker.
The ‘Three Stars” for hockey will be set up differently from our football “Game Balls” awarding system. The one star will reflect the top player of the game, unlike the three games in football.
🏒🏒🏒 Max Ellis-Scored his first collegiate goal
🏒🏒 Matt Hellickson-2 Assists (Steeves goal, Slaggert goal)
🏒 Cale Morris-37 Saves
The Fightin’ Irish have wrapped up the first half of the season. At the break the Irish record is 9-7-2 overall and 5-3-2-1 in the B1G. The Irish will resume play on January 3rd at home against Western Michigan at 7 PM EST and the game will be televised on NBCSN. This will be a home and home series. They will play at home on Friday and then will travel to play Western Michigan in Kalamazoo on Sunday January 5th.