Well it’s that time of the year! The B1G Hockey Tournament is here. For the first time since entering the B1G Conference, the Irish are not the number one seed in the tournament. But that is OK. This year the Fightin’ Irish will defend their B1G Conference title starting in Minnesota. The B1G Conference once again proved that regular season wins do count and that there is no looking for help to get a higher ranking in the tournament.
The Regular Season Match Ups
Match-Up November 1&2 At 3M Arena At Mariucci
Game number one against Minnesota resulted in a 2-2 tie. But Minnesota won the extra point.
The first period was scoreless as both goalies Cale Morris (ND) and Jared Moe (Minn) both fought off six shots on goal in the opening period. The Second period saw an increase in action. Mike O’Leary got the first goal of the game at the 2:58 in the period. For the period the Irish had fifteen shots on goal including the goal by O’Leary. Minnesota had eight shots on goal with nothing getting past Morris. The third period had even more action than the second. Nathan Burke of Minnesota scored the equalizer at 5:41. Wasting no time was Trevor Janicke. Twenty five seconds later he lit the lamp for the Irish at 6:06 to give the Irish their second lead of the game. But Minnesota didn’t want that to be the case. Eighteen seconds later, Scott Reedy slide s the puck by Morris for the second equalizer of the game.
The first overtime saw no goals scored on the 5-5 match-up. The Second overtime almost went to penalty shots. Minnesota’s Sammy Walker lit the lamp at 1:37 to garner the extra point.
Minnesota wanted to come out set the tempo for game two. Set the tempo they did. The first period saw both goalies fighting off pucks from the net. Minnesota score the first goal of the period at 12:34 by Brannon McManus. The Gophers were not done. 3:39 at 16:13, Jack Perbix put the puck on net and past Morris to go up 2-0 in the first. Minnesota had twelve shots on goal while the Irish had ten of their own, none getting by Moe.
The second period saw the Irish get on the board. On the power play at 5:20 Nick Leivermann finally got the puck past Moe. At 13:46, Spencer Stastney gets the equalizer as he lit the lamp. Minnesota was not going to let the Irish get back in the game. Garrett Wait tool only forty two seconds and at 14:28 puts his team ahead 3-2. The Irish also stood their ground and where not going to be denied. Eighty five seconds later, Leivermann gets his second goal and an equalizer. The Irish had come all the way back. Morris saw thirteen shots in the period and stopped twelve, while Moe saw twelve and stopped nine.
The third period saw a resurgence of the Fightin’ Irish. The Irish peppered seventeen shots compared to the Gophers two. Those numbers would tally two Irish goals in the period. Charlie Raith opened the scoring at 1:25 and Trevor Janicke closed the scoring with an empty netter at 19:49. The Irish prevail in game 2 5-3. Morris tallied twenty four saves in the win, while Moe saved thirty four.
Match-Up February 14&15 At Compton Family Ice Arena At Notre Dame
You can bet the Gophers didn’t forget what happened these two teams played, Minnesota was going to make sure they tried and return the favor. The Gophers wasted no time and making that first goal. At 00:28, Scott Reedy put the puck by Morris to go up 1-0. At 13:00, Blake McLaughlin took his turn on net and put the Gophers up 2-0. Technically the Irish were having more opportunities than the Gophers. They had nineteen shots on goal forced on Jack LaFontaine compared to the Gophers eleven fired at Morris. But, it’s the quality of the shots versus the quantity. The Irish got one of those quality shots by Colin Theisen at 14:36 to put the Irish on the board before the first intermission. After one the Gophers lead 2-1.
The second period saw the Irish lockdown the Gophers. The Irish would score twice in the period. Nick Leivermann gets the equalizer at 3:04 and Cam Morrison would put the Irish up 3-2 after his goal at 15:26. This period was a reversal of the first. The Gophers actually had more shots with ten, while the Irish had just nine.
The third period saw the Gophers play with some urgency. Down 3-2 to start the period, they knew they were going to have to pull out all the stops. Both teams were firing on the opposing goalie. Sammy Walker figures out how to slip one by Morris and light the lamp at 10:13. The goalies once again played amazing. Morris stopped ten of eleven of the Gophers shots, while LaFontaine stopped all twelve of the Irish shots.
Both teams had opportunities in the 5-5 and 3-3, but it was not happening until Brannon McManus put off a shot at the crossbar that then trickled down Morris’ back to secure the extra point.
Like the previous three games, game 4 was not different , except for the lower score. The Gophers sent a message in the first period. The message was received by Morris. Morris stopped all fifteen shots fired at him in the period. Thankfully he did as the Irish squandered just one shot on goal. The bonus for the Irish is that the period ended and they were not in a large deficit.
The second period showed the Irish coming out and making the proper adjustments at the intermission. This time it was the Irish showing dominance as the fired sixteen shots and one of those shots getting past LaFontaine at 8:01 by Leivermann. The Irish defense allowed only five shots on goal in the span of the twenty minute period. The Irish 1-0 after two periods.
The third period was a pivotal period for both teams. The period didn’t have as many shots on goal and that worked out to the Gophers advantage. Of their six shots on goal, two of them got by Morris. At 3:34 Ben Meyers got the equalizer for the Gophers and at 6:16 McLaughlin got the game winner. Minnesota got the much needed win to close out the weekend.
The Irish saw two goalies in the four game series. Moe for the first two in Minnesota and LaFontaine in the second series. LaFontaine had been given the start in the second series after some minor trouble for the Gophers previous to the ND weekend. The goalies will be a key factor in the best of three series this weekend. But the offenses will need to generate opportunities to challenge the goalies and the opposing defenses in order to avoid having to play overtime hockey.
How To Watch ND vs Minnesota
#5 NOTRE DAME AT #4 MINNESOTA
Game 1: Friday, March 6 // 8 p.m. ET // TV: FS2*
Game 2: Saturday, March 7 // 8 p.m. ET // TV: FS North*
Game 3: Sunday, March 8 // 7 p.m. ET // TV: FS2* (if necessary)
* – Games 1 & 3 on FS2 will be streamed on the Fox Sports App via authentication (must be a FS2 subscriber to watch). Game 2 will have two options: FS North subscribers can watch on the Fox Sports GO app via authentication. Out-of-market, the game will also be available on BTN+ (requires BTN+ subscription).
LISTEN: 94.3 FM | UND.com
Cheers and Go Irish!🍀🏒🥅🚨⚡