Irish dominate Nittany Lions to earn series sweep
Nate Moller | Monday, February 7, 2022
The No. 13 Irish (20-8-0, 12-6-0-5-1-0 B1G) had one of their most impressive performances of the season this past weekend in their series sweep of the Penn State Nittany Lions (14-15-1, 5-14-1-1-1-1 B1G) by scores of 7-2 and 3-0.
Third-period burst carries Irish
The Irish posted an emphatic win on Friday night with seven different players scoring each of the seven goals. The first period started off slow for both teams until the Irish got a power play midway through the period. Senior defenseman Spencer Stastney had consecutive one-timers during the power play, but Nittany Lion goaltender Liam Souliere made two saves.
The Irish finally got on the board at the 18:50 mark of the first period on a shorthanded breakaway from senior forward Graham Slaggert. Sophomore forward Landon Slaggert forced a turnover to gain possession. Then, graduate student Adam Karashik found Slaggert streaking up the middle of the ice. Graham Slaggert then beat Souliere high to the glove side to record his eighth goal of the season.
The penalty kill of the Irish was then on full display early in the second period. Notre Dame successfully killed off overlapping penalties that gave the Nittany Lions 23 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage. The Irish penalty kill is the best in the NCAA and was 5-for-5 on Friday night.
The Irish then struck again at the 3:28 mark of the second period to take a two-goal advantage. Freshman defenseman Jake Boltmann sent a stretch pass up the ice to freshman Justin Janicke. Janicke then beat Souliere high to the short side to score his first career goal. The Nittany Lions were able to get a goal back under nine minutes later when Connor Maceacherm slipped the puck past junior goaltender Ryan Bischel on a two-on-one chance.
The Nittany Lions were not within one goal for long, though. Graduate transfer defenseman Chase Blackmun scored a power-play goal with 1:11 to play in the second. The goal was Blackmun’s first goal with the Irish. The Nittany Lions were able to cut the margin to one goal yet again early in the third period. A little over three minutes in, Tyler Gratton scored off a rebound off the end boards.
It was all Irish after that point with the Irish scoring the final four goals of the game to win in convincing fashion. Junior forward Trevor Janicke tipped in a feed from Adam Karashik with 11:20 to play to give the Irish a 4-2 lead. It was his 11th goal of the year. Head coach Jeff Jackson believes that Janicke’s success this season can be attributed to the increased physicality of his game.
“Physically, he’s a very strong kid. I think he’s finally using that strength and using his body more to create scoring opportunities for himself and also to win all those little battles that take place all over the ice,” Jackson said.
Freshman forward Hunter Strand then scored just 1:05 later to give the Irish a convincing 5-2 lead. Landon Slaggert and junior forward Max Ellis tacked on the final two goals of the game late in the third period to give the Irish a dominating 7-2 victory. Ellis’ goal marked his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
Bischel records shutout, Irish sweep
The Irish continued their winning ways on Saturday to earn a 3-0 victory over the Nittany Lions. Bischel was fantastic for the Irish, stopping all 35 shots that he faced.
The game started slow on Saturday yet again with the Irish getting a couple of decent looks early on. At the 10:20 mark of the first period, freshman forward Tyler Carpenter got the Irish on the board by burying a feed from sophomore forward Ryder Rolston. Carpenter beat Nittany Lion goaltender Oskar Autio five-hole to record his first collegiate goal.
The Irish had a great chance with just over three minutes remaining in the period, but the puck hit the top crossbar. Neither team was able to score over the remainder of the period and the Irish would remain ahead 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. Bischel recorded nine stops in the first period.
Junior forward Jesse Lansdell gave the Irish the two-goal advantage midway through the second period. He picked up a short pass from Max Ellis and fired a shot low to the short side. Bischel then made a huge glove save on Ryan Kirwin to retain the 2-0 lead. Neither team scored over the remainder of the second period, and the Irish were successful in limiting the Nittany Lions’ chances in the third period.
The Irish secured the 3-0 victory with just over two minutes remaining off of an empty-net goal from Karashik which was his first goal with the Irish. Karashik scored after the Nittany Lions turned it over at the blue line almost immediately after pulling Autio from net.
Irish feature depth, defense
The ten goals scored by the Irish this weekend were scored by ten different players. Bischel also saved 67 of the 69 shot attempts he faced on the weekend. The Nittany Lions outshot the Irish 35-28 despite the 3-0 loss on Saturday which, according to Jackson, is a staple of Penn State hockey.
“They play a really tenacious game, and they recruit to that as well. The types of players that play for them play right into that and their style. You have to play a smart, patient game defensively and try to take advantage when they do get caught from being over-aggressive,” Jackson said.
Jackson was pleased with his team’s ability to step up and win despite some injuries.
“They [Penn State] made it really hard on us and we were fortunate we had two guys score their first goals here,” Jackson said. “That was critical with the guys we have out of the lineup — the next man up scored the game-winning goal.”
The Irish will return to action on Thursday and Friday when they travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.