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Irish sweep road series versus Maine

| Monday, February 13, 2017

No. 16 Notre Dame kept the good times rolling this weekend, sweeping its road series with Maine and continuing to climb the Hockey East standings down the stretch run of the regular season.

The Irish (17-9-4, 10-5-3 Hockey East) were tied with UMass-Lowell for fourth in the Hockey East standings entering their two-game series against the Black Bears (10-17-3, 4-13-1).

Irish junior goalkeeper makes a save during Notre Dame's 4-1 victory against Vermont on Feb. 4 at Compton Family Ice Arena.Kelly Vaughan | The Observer
Irish junior goalkeeper makes a save during Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory against Vermont on Feb. 4 at Compton Family Ice Arena.

With serious conference implications at stake, the Irish came out strong Friday night at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine. Just 65 seconds into the opening period, sophomore forward Jack Jenkins staked the Irish to a 1-0 lead with his fourth goal of the season. Then, at the 6:22 mark of the first period, junior forward Anders Bjork sped through the Maine defense and fired top-shelf for his 17th goal of the season to put the Irish up 2-0.

Andrew Oglevie also scored his 17th goal of the season, as the sophomore forward made it 3-0 Notre Dame just 1:37 into the second period by putting a shot on goal past the Maine goalkeeper and Jenkins, who was screening in front of the net.

From there, Maine would eventually get on the board with a goal halfway through the third period, and then, with four seconds left, added a goal on a power play with an extra attacker on the ice to bring the final score to 3-2.

However, on Saturday night in Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine, it was the Irish who had to play catch-up. Maine jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into the opening period as the Black Bears converted on a rebound opportunity in front of the net. Maine extended the lead to 2-0 at the 3:03 mark of the second period off an odd-man rush chance to send its home crowd into a frenzy.

Two Maine penalties at 8:25 of the second period gave the Irish a 5-on-3 power play, and Notre Dame quickly capitalized as junior defenseman Jordan Gross smashed home a shot from the top of the circles for his eighth goal of the season. The Irish power-play unit struck again late in the second period, as sophomore forward Dylan Malmquist slotted a one-timer into the net for his eighth goal of the season to tie the game at two apiece.

“I think our power-play [execution] was really important,” Jackson said. “It’s been a little inconsistent over the last month … but we took advantage of the opportunities that were given to us.”

Malmquist wasn’t done, however, as he scored on a breakaway just 2:46 into the third period to give the Irish the lead, 3-2. That score remained until Oglevie added an insurance goal at 16:21 of the third for his 18th of the season, capping the win and weekend sweep for the Irish.

“We had to play with discipline because on the road it’s especially crucial,” Jackson said. “It’s something that we’ve really stressed, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping our penalty minutes down this year.”

Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Cal Peterson, who totaled 46 saves over the weekend, also made his 80th consecutive start in the Notre Dame net, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. Saturday’s start also marked his 100th career appearance in net for the Irish.

The sweep bumped the Irish into a tie for third in Hockey East with four conference games remaining. The top four teams earn a first-round bye in the Hockey East playoffs.

Notre Dame looks to keep rolling this weekend when its hosts Providence at Compton Family Ice Arena.

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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