The No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team fell twice on the road this weekend at No. 3 Minnesota, 4-1 and 3-0.
In game one on Friday night, the Golden Gophers shelled the Fighting Irish net with 54 total shots on goal. After a scoreless first, Minnesota got on the board in the second period with a goal from Mason Nevers, who was left unguarded in front of the net on a centering pass. Seven minutes later, the Golden Gophers struck shorthanded, as sophomore Matthew Knies scored on a breakaway. With Minnesota, up 2-0 after the second, freshman Jimmy Snuggerud scored twice for the home squad in the third to put the game out of reach. The Irish finally found twine on a goal from sophomore forward Justin Janicke with just 46 seconds left in the game. It was the only goal Notre Dame would score this weekend.
The shot column was closer on Saturday night in game two, but the result remained the same. Minnesota got an even-strength goal from senior Jaxon Nelson and a power-play goal from Knies in the second period to go up 2-0 after two again. Then in the third, freshman Logan Cooley finished things off with an empty netter.
The line of Knies, Cooley and Snuggerud was dominant this weekend for Minnesota. The three former first-round picks combined for 5 goals and 9 total points, accounting for 50% of the Gophers’ points output this weekend.
Senior goaltender Justen Close started both games for Minnesota. He kicked out 44 of 45 shots to bring his save percentage to .919 this season. Senior Ryan Bischel started both games for Notre Dame as well, with freshman Jack Williams playing 7 minutes of time in relief of Bischel to end Friday night’s game. The Irish net-minders combined to allow 6 goals on a whopping 74 shots against, good for a .918 team save percentage this weekend.
Minnesota and Notre Dame will meet again when the Gophers travel to South Bend in mid-January. In the meantime, Minnesota will remain home this weekend to take on high-flying Penn State, who is off to a 9-1-0 start. The Irish return to Compton Family Ice Arena to host rival Michigan. The puck drops Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.
Contact Ryan Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org