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Notre Dame splits series with Minnesota

| Monday, November 9, 2015

No. 18 Notre Dame, coming off a two-game sweep of Connecticut over Halloween weekend, welcomed Minnesota to Compton Family Ice Arena this past weekend, splitting the series with a 4-3 win Friday and a 4-1 loss Saturday.

The Irish (4-2-2, 2-0-0 Hockey East) got off to a quick start Friday, leading the Golden Gophers 3-1 going into the third period of the game. Freshman left wing Dylan Malmquist and sophomores left wing Anders Bjork and defenseman Jordan Gross all tallied goals heading into the final period of play for Notre Dame. Irish head coach Jeff Jackson said he thought his team got off to a hot start but played with less urgency in the third period.

Sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross controls the puck during Notre Dame’s 2-0 loss to Boston College on Feb. 27.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer
Sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross controls the puck during Notre Dame’s 2-0 loss to Boston College on Feb. 27.

“I thought we were a little bit flat footed to start the third, but we had been playing well up until that point,” Jackson said.

The Golden Gophers (3-4-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) refused to relent and quickly took advantage of a five-minute major penalty on Malmquist with two power-play goals, tying the game at 3-3 with just under four minutes to play in the game. Gross rose to the occasion for the Irish to avoid overtime, netting the winning goal with a couple minutes left to play in regulation to seal the 4-3 victory.

“We were telling the guys on the bench to stay positive, and once we killed the five-minute major we said to attack and try and get it back in regulation,” Gross said. “I saw the forward covering me was puck-staring, and Jake [Evans] had a wide open lane coming up the slot, so I went to the back door and he made an unbelievable pass to me.”

Sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen recorded 31 saves Friday, with 17 coming in the third period alone to secure the Irish victory.

When the Irish returned to the ice Saturday night, the game unfolded quite differently. Notre Dame struggled throughout the game to generate scoring opportunities, with its lone goal coming from senior center Thomas DiPauli near the end of the second period.

“We were flat, and it’s up to us to try to figure that out,” Jackson said. “They had more jump, they had more juice and we didn’t. We were really sloppy with the puck, which is always an indicator to me that we were not mentally sharp.

“We missed the net a lot. I think we had 14 shots miss the net and 14 shots that were blocked.”

DiPauli, responsible for the only Irish goal of the night, said he was disappointed with the complacency the Irish showed right out of the gate.

“I think we had a comfort level that is just not acceptable when we play such a good team like Minnesota,” DiPauli said. “Obviously they got yelled at [Friday] because they came out flying tonight and we just came out a little too comfortable. We’re a young team, and I think this is going to teach us a valuable lesson.”

The Gophers responded to DiPauli’s tying goal with three third-period goals to earn a 4-1 victory. Minnesota freshman goaltender Eric Schierhorn finished the night with 28 saves, compared to Petersen’s 22.

The Irish will look to rebound this weekend as they host Northeastern on Thursday and Friday at Compton Family Ice Arena.

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