NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Rallying for victory in the series opener against Minnesota didn’t portend extended momentum for the Notre Dame hockey team.
Jordan Gross delivered the game-winning goal Friday at 18:04 of the third period, sending the Irish to a 4-3 victory after they surrendered a two-goal lead. But Minnesota ended hopes of a sweep with three goals in the third period Saturday en route to a 4-1 win, salvaging a split.
“We can’t be down on ourselves,” winger Thomas DiPauli said. “We did split the series. It’s definitely a teaching point. You can’t take a single shift off against a good team because they’re gonna make you pay in one way or another. I think it’s a good teaching point. We haven’t lost in a few games, so maybe it’s a good wake up call too so we don’t get too comfortable.”
Notre Dame (4-2-2) saved itself from a loss Friday with the goal from Gross, his second of the night.
Anders Bjork, Dylan Malmquist and Gross each scored in the second period to help the Irish build a 3-1 lead. But two penalties in succession — Malmquist took a five-minute major for elbowing and defenseman Luke Ripley followed with a cross check — brought Minnesota back into the game during the third period.
“I thought we played really well up to that point,” Jackson said. “But that’s a tough thing to happen. It’s kinda the last thing you want to happen in the third period with a lead.”
Leon Bristedt scored on the two-man advantage at 14:51 and Hudson Fasching added another at 16:38 before the major expired to make it a 3-3 game.
Petersen faced several shots during the extended penalty kill, making 17 saves in the third period alone and 31 total.
Notre Dame answered through Gross with less than two minutes remaining to retake the lead as the sophomore dove to the net and put home a wonderfully placed pass by center Jake Evans, his third assist of the game. Bjork picked up the secondary assist for his second of the game.
Evans also assisted on the Malmquist goal and Gross’ first.
“I saw that the forward covering me was kinda puck staring,” Gross said of the game-winner. “Jake Evans had a wide open lane coming up the slot. So I just kinda went to the backdoor and he made an unbelievable pass to me. I just threw it on net and it went in.”
Minnesota (3-4-0) opened the scoring Saturday with another goal from Bristedt, his fourth of the season, at 2:28 of the second period.
DiPauli scored at 17:40 of the second to bring the Irish back into a tie, cashing in one of just three shots on goal during the second period. Several shots missed the cage altogether or went into Gophers defenders.
“We missed the net a lot,” Jackson said, “which is more of my concern right now. I think we had like 14 shots miss the net and like 14 that were blocked. We’ve gotta fid a way to get pucks through to the net. I thought we had some traffic later in the game but we didn’t have a lot of traffic at the net either.”
Notre Dame generated 16 shots in the final period but couldn’t take the lead or find an equalizer once Minnesota went into the lead.
Michael Brodzinski scored at 6:08 to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead. Justin Kloos followed at 11:48 and Connor Reilly threw one into an empty net as time expired, capping off a sluggish effort in the series finale.
“I had that feeling right from the start in the first period,” DiPauli said. “I think we had a comfort level that’s not acceptable when you play such a good team like Minnesota. Obviously, they got yelled at, came out flying (Saturday) and I think we were just a bit too comfortable.”