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Irish open conference play with tie, win at Minnesota

| Monday, November 4, 2019

The No. 4 Irish opened Big Ten play with a 2-2 tie Friday night against Minnesota on the road. They continued their undefeated start with a 5-3 win Sunday.

Despite power play opportunities for both squads, along with several shot chances, the contest opened with a scoreless first period. Each goaltender, freshman Jared Moe for the Gophers (3-4-1, 0-1-1 Big Ten) and senior Cale Morris for the Irish (5-0-1, 1-0-1 Big Ten), tallied six saves in the first period of play as well. For Notre Dame, things looked promising early on as sophomore defenseman Nate Clurman appeared to have slotted one several minutes into the game. However, after an official review, the goal was reversed on account of goaltender interference.

The Irish would have another chance just under three minutes into the second period, and this time the puck found the back of the net to put the Irish on the board. It was senior forward Mike O’Leary who gave the Irish a 1-0 lead as he put a rebound past Moe. The goal marked O’Leary’s fifth on the season, and with it, he extended his point streak to five games. In his last 24 games, O’Leary has tallied 28 points.

Ann Curtis | The Observer
Irish junior Colin Theisen looks up the ice during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Michigan on Feb. 13 at Compton Family Ice Arena.

The action picked up in the second period, as Moe was forced to make fourteen saves and Morris tallied eight, but O’Leary’s goal would be the only one of the period, and the Irish would head into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore forward Nathan Burke of Minnesota answered the Irish lead early on in the third, but Irish freshman forward Trevor Janicke would come right back to hand the Irish the lead once more only 25 seconds after Minnesota struck. It was Janicke’s second goal on the year. But after Janicke’s goal, things stayed hot as Scott Reedy tied the game once again only 18 seconds after the freshman struck for the Irish. After a 43 second span with three total goals, the period would end with the contest tied at 2-2, which was fortunate for the Irish considering Morris’ clutch glove save with just over three minutes in the game to keep Notre Dame’s hope alive.

Neither team scored in the five-minute five-on-five overtime, officially making the game a tie. In the second, three-on-three overtime, Minnesota managed to score with under two minutes left, which officially handed them the extra point in the Big Ten standings.

On Saturday night, the Irish bounced back from their tie performance to earn a respectable 5-3 win over the Gophers.

Nearly halfway through the first period, the Gophers managed to get on the board as junior forward Brannon McManus scored on a pass from sophomore forward Sampo Ranta on a 2-on-1 chance. Nearly four minutes later, freshman forward Jack Perbix added to the first-period lead for Minnesota, and the Gophers headed into the locker room after the first with a 2-0 advantage.

But, as they often have under head coach Jeff Jackson in the past few years, the Irish bounced back early on in the second period. On a power play chance, sophomore defenseman Nick Leivermann slotted one low past Moe after the assists from sophomore forwards Alex Steeves and Graham Slaggert. It was Leivermann’s first goal of the season.

Later on in the second, sophomore defenseman Spencer Stastney squared the contest at 2-2 on a wrist shot high after senior captain forward Cal Burke and senior forward Cam Morrison forced Moe to make consecutive saves.

Sophomore forward Garrett Wait, however, gave the Gophers the lead once again just 42 seconds later on a low wrist shot.

Nevertheless, Leivermann soon struck again from the slot on a pass from Janicke, and the Irish tied the contest once more.

The Irish went on to seal the contest in the final period of play. Just over a minute into the period, sophomore defenseman Charlie Raith handed the Irish a one-goal lead on the pass from junior defenseman Matt Hellickson. The Irish hung on to the lead for the remainder of the period, and Janicke sealed the contest on an empty-net goal in the final minute of play to hand the Irish a 5-3 lead.

in the contest, Janicke extended his point streak to three games, and Morrison tallied his 14th career multi-point game.

Leivermann, who is originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, commented on his performance and how it felt to play on the road against Minnesota after the game.

“Both goals I had were plays helped out by other players, but it is fun to play here,” he said. “To come in and see the way [Raith] played the last six games, lights out, has been great. It was awesome to see him score his first goal.”

The Irish will take on No. 13 Ohio State next week at home to continue Big Ten conference play in a two-game series Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m., and the puck drops Saturday at 7 p.m.

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