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No. 20 Irish Hockey splits series at No. 12/13 Ohio State

Despite its scoring woes, the No. 20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team ground out a weekend split against the No. 12/13 Ohio State Buckeyes. After Ohio State won the Friday contest 5-2, the Irish bounced back with a 1-0 victory Saturday.

Ohio State wins Friday, 5-2

In Friday’s contest, Ohio State used three third-period goals to come away with a 5-2 win. 

After Ohio State got on the board four minutes into the game with a goal from Davis Burnside, the Irish were able to answer when senior forward Trevor Janicke found the back of the net on a one-timer with 44 seconds remaining in the first period. Graduate student defenseman Chase Blackmun set up the goal. 

The Irish then took the lead in the second period, as freshman forward Fin Williams scored from an unlikely angle near the goal line. It was the first career goal for the North Vancouver, BC, native, who dropped to a knee to celebrate.

Williams’ goal was a huge break for the Irish. The momentum continued to swing in Notre Dame’s direction minutes later when Ohio State’s Tyler Duke was whistled for slashing. With a chance to increase their lead to two on the power play, things were looking up for the Irish. 

The Buckeyes, though, had other plans. On the ensuing power play, Ohio State took a dagger to Notre Dame’s momentum. Not only did they have a successfully kill the penalty, but the Buckeyes added a shorthanded goal to boot. Defenseman Dominic Vidoli started the breakout himself, hopped up into the rush, and then finished off a beautiful give-and-go with Tate Singleton to tie the game at two.

In the third, Singleton would chip in with a goal of his own to put the Buckeyes up 3-2. Less than 90 seconds later, team scoring leader Jake Wise added a power-play insurance marker for Ohio State to make it 4-2. An empty net goal finished the night off in Columbus, with the home side coming out on top 5-2.

Irish find a way with 1-0 win Saturday

Back in the lineup after missing Friday’s game, graduate student forward Jack Adams scored 2 minutes and 33 seconds into the game Saturday night to provide the lone goal of the evening. Up 1-0 early, the Irish never looked back. Thanks to stellar defense and goaltending, they remain a perfect 4-0-0 when scoring the first goal.

Notre Dame received excellent goaltending from senior Ryan Bischel, who stopped all 37 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season. It was the fifth time this season Bischel has made 35 or more saves in a game. Bischel has started all 13 games for the Irish this year. And he may well have stolen his team a win on Saturday night.

That’s not to discredit the Irish skaters, who were also stout defensively in front of their goaltender. Notre Dame blocked 18 Buckeye shots, killed off three Ohio State power plays, and withstood a third-period barrage that saw Ohio State outshoot Notre Dame 19-3.

For Adams, the goal marked his first of the season. On his first shift of the game, Adams went straight to the front of the net as senior defenseman Nick Leivermann led the attack into the Ohio State defensive zone. The 6′ 6” Adams and a linemate, 6′ 4” freshman Niko Jovanovic, both set up shop outside the paint. Leivermann took a lap behind the Ohio State net and came out to the top of the far faceoff circle.

The offensively-minded Leivermann then smartly exposed the Ohio State defense with a cross-seam pass to his partner Blackmun. Blackmun hesitated before firing a shot to the front of the net. The rebound came loose, and Adams was able to use his large frame to grab the puck and sandwich it between the legs of Ohio State goaltender Jakub Dobes for the score.

Remarkably, Adams’ early goal proved to be the game-winner, his second career game-winning goal in a Notre Dame uniform.

Looking ahead

The weekend split keeps the Irish at .500 for the season, with a 6-6-2 overall record. In the Big Ten, Notre Dame is sixth with a 3-4-1 record in conference play.

Notre Dame will travel to Boston this Thanksgiving week to play against both the Boston University Terriers and Boston College Eagles. Wednesday, Notre Dame is playing at BU at 5 p.m. On Friday, they will travel to Chestnut Hill to play the Eagles at 4 p.m. Wednesday’s game will be available on ESPNU. Friday’s can be seen on ESPN+.

Contact Ryan Murphy at rmurph22@nd.edu.

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Irish fall to Spartans 2-1 in second home match against former Irish goaltender

After beating MSU 5-0, Notre Dame faced the Spartans again on Saturday, with the puck drop at 6:05 p.m. Early on, it felt like Michigan State was the more aggressive of the two teams, forcing turnovers with a forecheck that the Irish did not seem ready for.

The Spartans lit the lamp first by using physical play to generate a turnover, with MSU left winger Jagger Joshua applying pressure to winger Ryder Rolston, who made a bad pass out of the zone (likely intended for Nick Leivermann) that the Spartans picked up.     

State defender Nash Nienhuis held the puck while the Spartans cleared the zone before getting the puck to Karsen Dorwart, who put the puck on net. ND goaltender Ryan Bischel made the save, but the rebound was loose and fell to Joshua, who found twine.

After the goal, both teams went back and forth with the Spartans still being the more aggressive offense, outshooting ND 2-1 early on.

The Spartans’ assistant captain, defensemen Cole Krygier, gave the Irish an opportunity to get back into the game when he committed a boarding penalty. However, the Irish were ultimately unable to do anything with it. Krygier was not done yet, as he committed a dirty hit from behind, which turned into a five-minute major with just a little over three and a half minutes left in the period, putting the Irish up for the rest of the first.

That advantage was nullified after graduate student forward Chayse Primeau committed a holding penalty with just over a minute left in the period. After the end of one, the Spartans lead by one.

After both teams killed off their penalties, ND seemed to gain some momentum from the previous night back, even able to force turnovers. With just three minutes lapsed in the second period, MSU forward Tiernan Shoudy was called for a hooking penalty. This time, the Irish power-play unit seemed under more control, as the Irish were able to generate strong chances from the points, even getting their rebounds. Though they had a strong showing, the Spartans killed off the penalty.

When graduate student defenseman Chase Blackmun was called for an interference call, the Irish continued their special team’s momentum, clearing the puck from their zone and forcing the Spartans to regroup multiple times.

Late in the second, junior defenseman Zach Plucinski drove into the right corner of the Spartan zone, and as he turned toward the net, Leivermann caught his eye, completely wide open from the point. Plucinski made the pass across the zone and Leiverman was able to bury the shot, tying the game 1-1.

After a scoreless third period and overtime, the game went to a shootout. In the first round, Leivermann and MSU’s Tanner Kelly made their shot attempts. In the second round, graduate student forward Jackson Pierson failed to convert his, while Dorwart was able to put MSU up 2-1. The game came down to Rolston,, who was denied by MSU netminder Dylan St. Cyr — the first star of the game.

After the opening weekend of conference play, the Irish sit 4-2-2, with a conference record of 1-0-0-1. Though the Irish split the weekend with the Spartans, they still came away with four points, which is good enough for third in the Big 10, behind Ohio State (nine) and Penn State (six).

Notre Dame hits the road next weekend, where they will continue conference play in Minnesota against the Golden Gophers, who are currently fourth with a 1-1-0-0 conference record and a 5-3 record overall.

The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. central on Oct. 4 and 5.