Notre Dame extends unbeaten streak over break
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, January 13, 2016
No. 13 Notre Dame pushed its unbeaten streak to eight games over winter break as it finished off its nonconference schedule.
The Irish (10-4-7, 6-1-2 Hockey East) upset then-No. 3 Boston College on the road Dec. 10 with a trio of third period goals.
Sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross drew Notre Dame within a goal on a shot from the point just shy of halfway through the final regulation period. Freshman center Andrew Oglevie snapped a wrist shot home to tie the game with fewer than five minutes remaining, and freshman defenseman Dennis Gilbert’s slap shot put the Irish in front with just 22 seconds remaining to complete the comeback.
Sophomore goalie Cal Petersen pushed the Irish wining streak to four games the following weekend, stopping 92 of No. 17 Denver’s 95 shots on goal (.968 save percentage) as the two teams skated to a pair of ties. The game ended 1-1 on New Year’s Day and 2-2 the following day at Magness Arena in Denver. Petersen earned Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in net, his second such honor of the year and the fourth of his career.
Irish senior left wing Sam Herr notched the game-tying goal with 30 seconds remaining in the second contest against the Pioneers.
Notre Dame returned to the Midwest last weekend for a home-and-home series with former CCHA rival Western Michigan, the team the Irish beat to kick off their eight-game unbeaten streak in the final game of the Shillelagh Tournament on Nov. 28. The Irish returned to the friendly confines of Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday and responded with one of their best offensive performance of the season, drubbing the Broncos, 7-1.
All 12 Notre Dame forwards recorded a point in the contest, which included a highlight-reel goal from sophomore left wing Anders Bjork. Bjork carried the puck down the right boards, blowing around a Bronco defenseman before driving to the front of the net and snapping a shot just under the crossbar nearside.
The Irish built a 3-0 lead in the second game of the home-and-home series the next night in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but the Broncos scored three third-period goals to force a 3-3 tie as Notre Dame capped its nonconference schedule.
Bjork missed the Denver series while representing the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championships in Helsinki, where he and Team USA brought home the bronze medal. The Americans defeated the Swedes to claim bronze, 8-3, in a game in which Bjork tallied two goals and was awarded Team USA’s Player of the Game award. The Boston Bruins prospect tallied three points on three goals while appearing in all seven games of the tournament for the U.S.
Notre Dame equipment manager Dave Gilbert and coordinator of hockey operations Nick Siergiej joined Bjork overseas in the same roles for Team USA.
Notre Dame hits the ice to resume Hockey East play when it hosts Merrimack on Friday and Saturday night at Compton Family Ice Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop Friday night at 7:35 p.m., while play Saturday will start at 7:05 p.m.
The Irish have six conference series remaining in their season, in addition to one game at home against Boston College. Notre Dame currently sits third in the Hockey East standings with 14 points, trailing UMass Lowell by three points and Boston College by two.