NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Playing the first of several ranked opponents didn’t turn into victories for Notre Dame hockey. But it didn’t turn into losses either.
The Irish played to a pair of 3-3 draws against No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend at the Compton Family Ice Arena, rallying Friday and surrendering a lead Saturday.
Goaltender Cal Petersen made 39 saves each night, including 28 over the final two periods Saturday as Duluth mounted a comeback after trailing 3-1 in the second period.
“It was almost a mirror image of (Friday) night,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “Our kids battled though. We hung on there and Cal had to play real well there for us to even tie that game. There was points in time in the first period I think we started to see a little bit of what this team is capable of once we get consistent in our game.”
Notre Dame (1-1-2) took a lead at 9:15 of the first period on Saturday when winger Dylan Malmquist scored the first of his two goals. Thomas DiPauli tacked on another at 4:58 of the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Malmquist scored again at 6:42, pushing the lead to 3-1 after Tony Cameranesi got Duluth on the board. Cameranesi struck again at 10:36, making it a 3-2 game after 40 minutes.
Freshman defenseman Neal Pionk pulled Duluth even with the first goal of his career at 3:45 of the third.
But the Irish held on to its second draw in as many nights by killing penalties, including a critical Duluth power play in overtime after Connor Hurley got sent off for slashing.
Duluth didn’t score on 12 power play chances in the series.
“Much better,” Jackson said of the penalty kill. “But Cal makes the difference. He did a pretty good job of controlling his rebounds on the penalty kill and that’s a big, big factor. Justin Wade is a man out there. I’m so impressed with him. He blocks shots. He’s a warrior. We’ve got other guys that are doing a good job. Andy Ryan is always smart on the PK and he pays the price. Some of the younger guys are learning to develop that.”
Wade played a critical scoring role Friday to spur Notre Dame back from an early deficit.
Duluth sped to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period on goals from Austin Farley and Alex Iafallo, then looked poised to put the game away after Ryan took a five-minute major penalty for contact to the head at 6:44 of the second period.
Ryan headed to the locker room with a game misconduct in addition to the major, leaving Notre Dame without one of its best penalty killers. And all this came after the Irish got hit with a minor for too many men on the ice, leaving 1:35 of 5-on-3 power play for Duluth plus the additional standard advantage for the major when that expired.
But instead of conceding, Wade scored his first goal of the season at 9:39 to pull the Irish to within one goal. They killed off the rest of the major after Wade’s goal.
“We made a couple bad plays with the puck and turned it over and were down 2-0 just like that,” Jackson said. “But it was a gutsy effort in the second period for our guys to come back, especially after that penalty kill — five-minute major and being short handed two men for a couple different instances.”
Wade scored after center Steven Fogarty carried the puck into Duluth’s zone and declined to shoot, instead leaving the junior defensemen in position to score the second goal of his career.
“I had like two people behind me and we were on the kill,” Wade said. “I just wanted to put it on net. I wasn’t really expecting a goal. I just expected to put it on net, maybe a rebound and then I was just gonna get back to my position and make sure they didn’t have a 3-on-2 or 2-on-1 back.”
Little more than four minutes later, defenseman Bobby Nardella scored to make it a 2-2 tie and seize the momentum back heading into the second intermission.
Duluth recaptured the lead at 5:27 of the third period on a goal by Austyn Young. Sam Herr scored about two minutes later on the power play to pull Notre Dame even, which ended up being the final result.
Peterson made 14 saves in the third period to preserve the draw. Notre Dame’s penalty kill went a perfect 7-on-7 against the Duluth power play a week after allowing four goals on six kills against Penn State.
“It starts with Petersen in goal, certainly,” Jackson said. “You can’t be a good penalty kill team without good goaltending. Realistically, Andy Ryan is one of our best penalty kill defensemen, so I give a lot of credit to those young defensemen that were killing penalties. The only upperclassman killing penalties was Justin Wade and he was a man out there.”