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Irish win conference point against Michigan State

| Monday, March 2, 2020

The Notre Dame hockey squad (14-13-7, 9-9-6-4) closed out their regular season home slate against the Michigan State Spartans (15-17-2, 11-11-2-0) in a series over the weekend.

Although the first game saw the Irish fall 1-3, they bounced back in the second game with a sold-out crowd cheering them on and finished the game against Michigan State the same way they did when they first faced off against the Spartans this year in East Lansing. The game would ultimately head into an overtime shootout and the Irish would steal the conference point away from the Spartans. 

After three periods, the score was knotted up at 2-2. But the game was not as even as the score showed — Michigan State was leading 2-0 with less than five minutes left in the game.

But just in the knick of time, sophomore forward Alex Steeves and senior forward Cam Morrison scored back-to-back goals to move the game into a stalemate and forcing an overtime period. 

In the overtime period, neither team was able to find the game-winning goal. Another overtime period was played this time with just three players playing on each side of the ice.

After time expired in the second overtime, the game moved into a sudden death shootout. 

Irish senior goaltender Cale Morris made a clutch save to open up the shootout, and on the very next attempt, senior defenseman Tory Dello netted one for the Irish to secure the win. 

Nathaniel George | The Observer
Irish sophomore defenseman Spencer Stastney handles the puck during Notre Dame’s 3-3 tie against Minnesota on Feb. 14 at Compton Family Ice Arena.

Irish head coach Jeff Jackson spoke on his teams win after the game. 

“It has been one of those wild years. We go up, down and all around, through it all I am proud of this group,” Jackson said. “I think that we probably could have done more throughout the year but it has been a strange year — probably one of the strangest I’ve been involved in. … But they have all stayed positive, they have done a great job off the ice. The culture is strong. It is just like we have been so inconsistent [with] some parts of our game … but I am proud of what they did tonight.”

Heading into postseason play, the Irish will head to Minneapolis to face off against the Golden Gopher in a best-of-three series for the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Jackson said that although the team enjoys their home fans, they have established a sort of road warrior presence throughout the season. 

“I think we are more focused on the road,” he said. “We have a set schedule — a set routine — we don’t have to worry about going to classes on Friday morning. They are together at the hotel, they have their normal routine after pre-game meal where they generally go take a nap. We are just generally more focused.”

Next up, the Irish will be looking to advance forward in the Big Ten Tournament when they face off against Minnesota in a three-game series in Minneapolis on March 6-8.

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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