#3 Irish Edged By Spartans, 3-2

EAST LANSING, Mich. Third-ranked Notre Dame scored a pair of power-play goals but Michigan State broke a 2-2 tie late in the third to hand the Irish a 3-2 defeat on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena (5,902).

Mike O’Leary and Nick Leivermann scored for Notre Dame, while Colin Theisen finished with a pair of assists. 

Sam Saliba finished with two goals on the night for the Spartans, including the game-winning goal at 18:50 of the third.

Cale Morris stopped 26 shots for Notre Dame while John Lethemon finished with 23 saves.

Notre Dame finished 2-for-3 on the power play and Michigan State was 0-for-2.

How It Happened
Notre Dame opened the scoring at 2:20 of the first period when Mike O’Leary scored a power-play goal from down low, with Cam Morrison and Colin Theisen providing the assists. Theisen picked up the puck from a Spartan defenseman and slid it to Morrison below the goal line, who centered it to O’Leary for his sixth of the season.

Morris finished with 11 stops in the first 20 minutes as the Irish held the one-goal advantage at the first intermission.

Midway through the second while playing 4-on-4, Cal Burke nearly doubled the Irish lead but his wrist shot from the slot rang off the post to Lethemon’s blocker side. 

Play began to open up and Spencer Stastney and Trevor Janicke skated in on a 2-on-1 chance but Janicke’s redirect flashed just wide of the net. 

Moments later at the other end Cale Morris made a quick left pad save on Jagger Joshua to keep the Irish in front.

Michigan State tied was then able to tie it up, 1-1, at 13:17 of the second when Sam Saliba ended up alone in front after corralling a bouncing puck following an offensive zone faceoff. 

The Spartans took back-to-back penalties late in the second and the Irish played the final 1:01 on a 5-on-3 advantage but could not find a go ahead goal.

Still tied at 1-1, Notre Dame opened the third period with 16 seconds remaining on the 5-on-3 and just after the first Spartan returned from the penalty box, Nick Leivermann restored the Irish lead with a snapshot from the high slot for his third goal of the season. Cal Burke and Theisen had the assists on the second Irish power-play goal of the night. 

Cal Burke nearly scored midway through the third to extend the lead but Lethemon made a left pad save on Burke’s shot from the doorstep. 

Michigan State was able to tie it at 2-2 at 13:48 of the third  when a Josh Nodler chip pass sent Logan Lamdin on a breakaway and he scored his fourth of the season.

Back-to-back chances by Lamdin from in close were then denied by Morris to keep it tied with 3:56 left in the third.

But with 1:10 left in the third Saliba tipped a shot in the low slot to give the Spartans the 3-2 lead. 

Morris was then pulled with with 47 seconds left in favor of the extra attacker but the Irish could not find the game-tying goal.

Up Next

  • Notre Dame (8-2-2, 4-2-21 B1G) will return home to face former CCHA foe Bowling Green in a home-and-home series next Friday and Saturday (Nov. 29-30).
  • Game one will be played at 7 p.m. at the Compton Family Ice Arena (tickets), followed by a 7 p.m. game at the Slater Family Ice Arena.


  • Mike O’Leary scored his sixth goal of the season, tying his single season career high total set last season (6-15-21 as a junior). 
  • With a pair of assists, Colin Theisen posted his fourth multi-point game of the season and the ninth of his career.
  • Notre Dame is now 8-2-2 against Michigan State since joining the Big Ten.