By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A 43-day break from games on its home ice did nothing to hinder the top-ranked University of Notre Dame hockey team in pursuit of its 15th straight win Sunday at the Compton Family Ice Arena (4,896).
The Fighting Irish (18-3-1, 12-0-0-0 B1G) used two second-period goals and reliable goaltending to defeat Big Ten Conference rival Michigan 2-1, matching a program-best winning streak (15 consecutive wins from Nov. 4, 1983 – Jan. 21, 1984, as a club team) and extending their best as a Division I program.
Sophomore goaltender Cale Morris made 33 saves for a .971 saves percentage and improved to 17-1-0 on the season.
Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne made 34 saves for the Wolverines (8-10-2, 3-6-2-1 B1G) .
The Irish also won the special teams battale as Notre Dame finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Michigan was 0-for-3.
COACH JACKSON’S THOUGHTS
On what he saw from his team in the first two games coming off the break…
“I think we’re still getting our game together. When you finish the first half after three solid months — training camp, all those things — and you take a month off, it’s almost like you’re starting over. Your timing is a little bit off, you’re not as sharp in some areas. It probably showed up more at Yost on Friday than it did tonight. I thought we had some really good spells, and we had some really tough spells, especially coming out of our zone. All in all, some of the areas we wanted to clean up a bit, we got some more shots tonight; our special teams were good both nights. We want to make sure our power play is contributing at least one goal a game and the first couple of games we’ve got three (power play) goals. There’s some positives there and getting the energy back was good tonight. There are positive signs but now we’ve got a bye week, which is the last thing we need, but that’s just the nature of the schedule.”
On the stability of the defensive unit…
“Our goalie and our defensemen are right now the backbone of our team. The positive thing is we’re getting some timely scoring, some key goals, and we make it interesting every night. It always seems to be a tough game every night. It’s not like we’re winning these games going away. Every game’s a battle and we’re fighting through it and going through these tough games is good for us and is going to help us as we move forward.”
NOTRE DAME GOALS
1-0 | After an apparent first-period goal was waved off owing to a called hand pass, the Irish finally got on the board at the 13:50 mark of the second period, capitalizing on an odd-man rush in which Oglevie scored his ninth goal of the season. Notre Dame broke through when Colin Theisen dug out a loose puck and dumped it ahead for Dylan Malmquist to find Oglevie on the odd-man rush.
2-0 | Hellickson tallied his second career goal in as many games on the power play with 6:09 remaining in the second period, slotting a shot through Lavigne’s five-hole off a rebound of a shot by Cam Morrison. Bobby Nardella also assisted on the play. Hellickson’s first goal of the season also came on the power play on Friday at Michigan.
- Jordan Gross skated in the 141st consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Jake Evans skated in his 113th consecutive game dating back to his freshman season.
- Justin Wade played his 100th career game.
- Notre Dame improved to 10-0-1 when tied after one period of play and to 14-1-0 when leading after two periods of play.
- Notre Dame is on a 15-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the country.
- It is the longest Fighting Irish winning streak under head coach Jeff Jackson and the longest winning streak during a season in which Notre Dame competed in an NCAA Div. I conference.
- The only other time Notre Dame won at least 15 games in a row occurred during the 1983-84 season (15 consecutive wins from Nov. 4, 1983 – Jan. 21, 1984), when they competed under club status.
- Jackson’s previous longest career winning streak came with Lake Superior State when his team won 15 consecutive games from Jan. 19 – March 9, 1991, as part of a 28-game unbeaten stretch by the Lakers.
- Notre Dame is also 12-0-0-0 in conference play this season, making it the first Big Ten team ever to win its first 12 conference contests of the season (the Fighting Irish also bested the previous best start to league play posted by Minnesota when it started 2013-14 with a 10-game unbeaten streak at 8-0-2-0).
- Andrew Oglevie (3-3-6) and Dylan Malmquist (2-4-6) extended their point streaks to five games.
- Cam Morrison (0-4-4) extended his point streak to three games.
- Matt Hellickson scored his second power-play goal in as many games. The goals were the first two of his career.
Notre Dame has a bye week before returning for a stretch run of six consecutive weekend Big Ten series to close out the regular season. The Irish will be back in action with another Friday-Sunday series, this time against Wisconsin. Game one will be played at 7:35 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 19, at the Compton Family Ice Arena, while game two will take place at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m CT on Sunday, Jan. 21, at the United Center in Chicago. To purchase tickets, click here.
— ND —
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs, in addition to overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.