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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 battle to split series against No. 3 Michigan

By Tom Zwiller and Andrew McGuinness

No. 18 Notre Dame hockey began its series against the No. 3 University of Michigan Wolverines on Friday night. In honor of Veterans Day, the sellout crowd sang the national anthem. And at its conclusion, four army ROTC cadets repelled from the jumbotron catwalk.

The game was incredibly physical before the puck drop, with both sets of wings getting into skirmishes awaiting the opening faceoff.

Early in the first, graduate student defenseman Nick Leivermann took a cross-checking penalty, giving Michigan the man advantage.

The Wolverines utilized the powerplay efficiently, scoring just under a minute into the penalty. Mackie Samsokevich took a pass from Luke Hughes and carried it from point to point. His cross-ice shot hit the post and bounced in, giving the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.

After a Luca Fantilli holding penalty gave the Irish a man advantage, Michigan was nearly able to kill off the penalty, clearing the puck twice. However, with just 14 seconds left in the penalty, Leivermann took a shot just above the left faceoff circle. The puck made its way behind the net, where graduate student forward Chayse Primeau found an open Leivermann, who buried the puck.

Early in the second, a poor turnover by sophomore forward Hunter Strand allowed Michigan’s T.J. Hughes to take advantage of an unset Notre Dame defense. Hughes found Eric Ciccolini, who scored from the slot to put the Wolverines up 2-1.

With just under nine minutes in the second, Michigan continued their aggressive play and scored the third goal, with Dylan Duke tipping a shot from Adam Fantilli right outside the crease.

Shortly after, an excellent breakout pass by Keaton Pehrson allowed Jackson Hallum an odd-man rush opportunity. Hallum beat his man, who appeared to be coming from a line change, creating a one-on-one with Irish graduate student netminder Ryan Bischel. Hallum beat him to the right with a backhand shot.

Irish senior forward Jesse Lansdell would provide the Wolverines with another power play opportunity with a tripping penalty. And the No. 2 power play unit in the country got to work. Off a faceoff in the Irish zone, Samoskevich found T.J. Hughes in the slot, and he put the Wolverines up 5-1.

The third period saw no goals for either team. Instead, a slew of penalties would make a minor league hockey team blush. The Irish had five penalties. Sophomore defenseman Ryan Helliwell earned a roughing minor. Senior forward Trevor Janicke earned two trips to the box. And his brother, sophomore forward Justin Janicke, got a 10-minute misconduct for roughing.

Not to be outdone, Michigan committed eight penalties, including two misconducts. One of which was a charging the goalie penalty by Nolan Moyle, who was ejected from the game.

Saturday’s game, however, would play out much differently. The Irish got off to a fairly strong start, generating several odd-man rushes and catching an early post courtesy of sophomore center Tyler Carpenter. However, the Wolverines would answer that close chance almost immediately after with a goal. Ethan Edwards cleaned up a rebound on a shot from the left point that was deflected en route to Bischel.

For the second straight night, special teams appeared to be tilting things in Michigan’s favor for good. The Irish generated tons of pressure on their first man advantage of the night but couldn’t light the lamp. The Irish did keep the Wolverines at bay for most of their first power play. But almost out of nowhere, Samoskevich beat Bischel clean with a wrist shot from the left hash marks, doubling the Michigan lead.

But this time, the Irish would not go quietly. Their performance in the second period wasn’t the prettiest — Notre Dame was outshot 8-6 and took a couple of penalties. But the finish they lacked in the first was suddenly readily available. For an Irish team looking for more from its depth, head coach Jeff Jackson had to be encouraged by the gorgeous passing play his fourth-line put together that ended with graduate student right winger Jack Adams finding Carpenter backdoor for his first goal of the year.

Then, a somewhat contested too-many-men call went against Michigan with 2:07 left in the second, giving the Irish a golden chance to equalize. Sure enough, they would take advantage, with Leivermann making an excellent pass to set up Primeau for a backdoor tap-in.

The Irish came out guns blazing to start the third, registering the frame’s first four shots and forcing Michigan netminder Erik Portillo to make some difficult saves. Bischel picked up his game too after the somewhat shaky Samoskevich goal, including a massive breakaway stop on Hallum about five minutes into the third. He then denied Wolverines star Luke Hughes off a net-mouth scramble a few moments later. Portillo answered with a huge stop on Notre Dame graduate student defenseman Ben Brinkman off a similar sequence.

After the Irish were unable to capitalize on another late period power play, overtime became necessary for the third time in Notre Dame’s season. After a strong defensive play by junior right winger Ryder Rolston to prevent a breakaway from Michigan’s Rutger McGroarty, senior left winger Grant Silanoff ended the game at the other end, with the rebound of his shot on a 2-on-1 caroming in off a sliding Edwards.

The victory was a much-needed one for the Irish. Before Saturday, they had lost three straight in regulation and had not won a game since Oct. 28. For most of the year, Notre Dame has not looked like the NCAA Tournament-caliber team they were last season. Now, this Irish squad knows they can skate with some of the best college hockey has to offer. That type of confidence boost could mean far more to their season than an already impressive victory over the talented Wolverines.

Contact Tom Zwiller at tzwiller@hcc-nd.edu and Andrew McGuinness at amcguinn@nd.edu.

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Gabe Perreault scores twice as NTDP tops Notre Dame men’s hockey team

The No. 8/9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s ice hockey team dropped its lone preseason scrimmage to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) under-18 team by a 5-3 score Sunday night. In a high-paced, back-and-forth contest, the NTDP capitalized twice on five power play opportunities to earn an edge against the Irish. 

Coming off of a 4-3 win on the road at Michigan State on Saturday night, the NTDP squad found themselves on their heels early. Less than a minute into the opening frame, Irish senior forward Trevor Janicke began an offensive cycle in the right corner, circling and leaving the puck for new teammate Jackson Pierson, a graduate student transfer from the University of New Hampshire. Pierson then circled in the corner himself and zipped a pass back to the right point for sophomore defenseman and Edina, Minnesota, native Jake Boltmann. Boltmann expertly walked the blue line and fired a shot off of the stars-and-stripes decorated pads of NTDP goaltender Carsen Mussen. The rebound came off the right pad quickly and right onto the stick of junior Ryder Rolston, who snapped the puck just between the right arm of the goalie and the post to give the Irish an early 1-0 lead. 

Notre Dame’s lead, though, was short-lived. After Irish defenseman Charlie Blackmun was given a 5-major penalty for a hit from behind, Notre Dame was forced to their first of 5 penalty kills this evening. In what would be a theme of the game for Notre Dame, the Irish penalty kill was stout until the very final moments of Blackmun’s penalty but could not finish the kill. As the penalty was winding down, the NTDP’s Alex Weiermair made an errant zone entry pass that teammate Oliver Moore picked up off the half wall. The Minnesota-committed Moore swooped in behind the goal and made a centering pass that was tipped onto the stick of Austin Burnevik in the slot, who snapped it past Irish senior goaltender Ryan Bischel to tie the game.

The first-period scoring was not done yet, though. Both teams traded line rushes until Notre Dame struck gold on one of theirs. In a beautiful sequence, graduate student captain Nick Leivermann picked up the puck on his own blue line and spearheaded the attack. Backing up the NTDP defense, he hit the offensive blue line and dished to sophomore forward Tyler Carpenter on the left flank, who rifled the puck again between the post and the right arm of Mussen to put Notre Dame up 2-1.

 But with Leivermann in the box for an unwise and unnecessary interference penalty, NTDP was able to turn the tide late in the first. Just after the penalty to Leivermann expired, Boston College commit Ryan Leonard rushed the puck in behind the Notre Dame net. He absorbed a hard hit that sent him sailing into the corner boards, but was nonetheless able to find Gabe Perreault with a pass. Perreault rounded the cage and tucked a wraparound inside the right post, sneaking it just barely past the outstretched pad of Bischel. With thirty seconds remaining in the first, the NTDP had tied the game again.

The score remained tied after two periods as well, with each team adding goals in the second. Once more, it was Notre Dame skating well to start the period. Early on in the frame, the NTDP turned the puck over in the Irish zone, and Notre Dame’s Hunter Strand and Jack Adams found themselves on a two-on-one from their own blue line. Strand carried the puck on the left, fed a flat pass to Adams on the right, who attempted the one-timer, but fanned on the puck. 

That was not the end of the story, however, for Adams. As Notre Dame continued to carry the play, Adams found himself in another two-on-one, this time with sophomore Justin Janicke carrying the puck on his left. Adams, a 6’6 graduate student forward from Boxford, Massachusetts, did not miss the mark on his second opportunity. He took the crisp pass from Janicke on his forehand, switched to his backhand, cut to the far post and shoveled the puck past the outstretched leg of Mussen to score. 

With Notre Dame in the lead 3-2, the NTDP would again level the game late in the period. After a Notre Dame powerplay during which the Irish could not manage a shot, and struggled at times to gain the offensive blue line, the NTDP’s Leonard helped set up fellow BC commit Will Vote to level the score. Leonard had just stepped out of the penalty box when he made a pass to the onrushing Oliver Moore, who left a drop pass at the left face-off circle for Vote. Vote snapped a shot that seemed to allude Bischel, beating him five-hole to bring the score to 3-3.

Then early in the third, the NTDP struck with the decisive game-winner. Once more, it was Perreault who scored for the NTDP, and once more the goal came on the power play. With junior defender Zach Plucinski in the box for indirect contact to the head of an NTDP player, another Boston College commit, Will Smith, stepped in across the Notre Dame blue line on the right side of the zone. Smith fired a laser-beam cross-ice pass to Perreault at the face-off circle, who beat Bischel high and to the glove side with an impressive snapshot. Perreault’s second goal gave the NTDP their first and only lead of the hockey game, in the game’s 41st minute. 

That lead was all the NTDP would need to beat Notre Dame on this night at Compton Family Ice Arena. There were times afterwards when it seemed like the Irish were going to throw everything and the kitchen sink at NTDP goaltender Carsen Mussen in order to tie the game. Indeed, the Irish attempted thirty shots in the third period. Twelve of those made it to goal, but most were blocked by NTDP skaters. The NTDP defense stood strong late in the game and did well to keep the Irish on the peripheries of their zone, away from rebounds and loose pucks in front of the net. 

Ryan Leonard, who played well for the NTDP and had already garnered two assists for his efforts, sealed the win for his team by scoring an empty net goal with just one second remaining in the game. When the final siren sounded at Compton, the scoreboard showed 5-3 in favor of the visitors. 

Notre Dame netminder Ryan Bischel, who had a strong .916 save percentage in 16  games played last year for the Irish, finished tonight with 26 saves on 30 shots. On the other end of the sheet, uncommitted goalie Carsen Mussen made 25 saves. The game’s leader in the stat column was certainly Gabriel Perreault, who displayed a good finish on his second goal and also led his team in shots on net. Perreault, whose father is former NHL veteran Yanic Perreault, is also uncommitted. 

The win continues the NTDP’s strong start to their season, as they are 6-0. The team will continue with their Kroger College Series at home next weekend as they host #20 Michigan Tech on Friday and Lake Superior State on Saturday. Notre Dame, meanwhile, heads to Colorado next weekend to get their regular season officially underway at the IceBreaker tournament. The Irish take on the defending national champion and #1/1 Denver Pioneers in the opener on Friday at 9pm EST. 

Future Prospects

On a USNTDP team littered with prospects, three Irish commits laced up the skates tonight for the national team. Carter Slaggert, son of Notre Dame assistant coach Andy Slaggert and brother to current Irish forward Graham and former Irish forward Landon, roused a nice ovation from the crowd tonight when he was introduced with the NTDP starting lineup. Meanwhile, Maple Grove, Minnesota, native Danny Nelson centered the second line with Minnesota commit Oliver Moore and St. Cloud State commit Austin Burnevik. Nelson is one of the tallest and heaviest skaters on the NTDP roster, weighing in at 6’3, 203lb. River Forest, Illinois, native Paul Fischer, a third Notre Dame pledge, blocked two shots while playing top pair minutes on defense for the NTDP.

Discipline the Key

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson was quick to point out in his post-game press conference that Notre Dame struggled tonight to stay out of the penalty box. On a night where the Irish were penalized 5 times, Jackson noted that the Irish are “not going to win games taking that many penalties.” Twice NTDP victimized the Notre Dame penalty kill, and they scored shortly after another powerplay ended. 

Denver Looms

The Irish begin their regular season Friday with not just any game, but a game against the defending national champions. Denver scrimmaged against the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) club hockey team on Saturday night and won big, 10-0. The Pioneers got goals from seven different scorers and a hat trick from sophomore Carter King. Although Denver will be without seven players who signed professional hockey contracts at the end of last season, they return 237 points, good for 5th in the nation in that department. The Pioneers will also be bolstered by Harvard transfer Casey Dornbach and Minnesota transfer Tristan Broz. 

When asked about the impending contest immediately after Sunday night’s game, coach Jackson said that he will be looking for his team to have better puck management, especially near the offensive blue line.

“When we started playing down lower in the offensive zone, we had a lot more success, and for me, that’s going to be the biggest key against Denver is that we do a good job managing the puck, and not put ourselves in positions where we are giving up transition opportunities,” he said.

The puck drops on the game and the 2022-23 regular season Friday at 9 p.m. EST. Notre Dame will then take on Air Force in the second half of the IceBreaker tournament on Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.

Contact Ryan Murphy at rmurph22@nd.edu