By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The eighth-ranked Notre Dame hockey team jumped out to a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the first period on a Jake Evans goal and, behind a balanced offensive attack and the goaltending of Cal Petersen, went on to post a 5-1 win over Maine on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022).
Evans added two assists for a three-point night, while Petersen totaled 40 saves, including 18 in a busy second period.
“I think we’re doing really well right now,” Petersen said after the victory. “Probably the biggest part right now is that if one part of our game is lacking, another part picks it up. It balances really well. Guys are doing their jobs really well and understanding their roles. Nobody’s trying to do too much.”
The Irish (18-5-7, 13-2-2) carried a 1-0 lead to the locker room after 20 minutes of play and then Sam Herr scored his 10th goal of the season 31 seconds into the second for what proved to be the game winner.
In the Maine (7-19-6, 4-12-2) net, Matt Morris totaled 23 saves before giving way to Rob McGovern during the third period. McGovern stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 12:35.
Notre Dame finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Maine was 0-for-1 on the man advantage.
With the win and weekend sweep of Maine coupled with Boston College’s tie versus Merrimack on Saturday night, the Irish end the weekend alone atop the Hockey East standings with 30 points.
Next weekend, Notre Dame heads east for a pivotal series at fifth-ranked Providence (Feb. 19-20). The Friars stand at 12-3-3 in league play (27 points/third place).
“We try to stay focused on the next game,” Head Coach Jeff Jackson said after the game. “That’s the mantra around here. The next game’s the most important game … Friday night is the only thing that matters at this point.”
— Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead at 13:55 of the first period on Jake Evans’ seventh goal of the season. After Justin Wade took the puck away from a Maine forward in the defensive zone with a big hit, he chipped it to Evans, who skated past two Maine defensemen and deked Morris five-hole.
— Skating on a 5-on-3 advantage, Connor Hurley gave Notre Dame a 3-0 lead at 14:09 of the second period. Mario Lucia slid the puck to Jordan Gross at the point, who let a one-timer fly that Morris was able to fight off. Thomas DiPauli kept it alive in front and then Hurley, who was waiting at the back post, fired home in his fifth goal of the season.
— Anders Bjork extended the lead to 4-0 at 3:06 of the third period when he deked through the Maine defense and flipped a backhander high past Morris’ glove for his 11th goal of the season. Luke Ripley earned the lone assist on the play, his fifth of the season.
— Dylan Malmquist got in on the action at 4:37 of the third when he followed his own shot to the front of the goal and forced in the rebound for his ninth goal of the season, with the assists going to Evans and Bobby Nardella.
— Maine’s Brendan Robbins got the visitors on the board at 17:11 of the third when Steven Swavely found him open at the far post for the final 5-1 score.
— Notre Dame is 13-1-3 over the last 17 games dating back to a 3-1 win over Western Michigan on Nov. 28.
— The Irish took a 1-0 lead for the 24th time this season (out of 30 games), which is tied for the most first goals in the country with Providence College.
— The Irish are now 17-2-5 when scoring first this season.
— Notre Dame has outscored opponents by a 32-12 margin in the first period this season, including a 20-7 mark in Hockey East play.
— This season, Notre Dame is 10-3-3 at home (7-1-1 Hockey East).
— Cal Petersen made his 30th-consecutive start in the Notre Dame goal this season and his 43rd in a row dating back to the 2014-15 season.
— Sophomore Jake Evans scored his seventh goal of the season (7-23-30), tying his goal output from last season as a freshman (7-10-17).
— Evans added two assists for a three-point night (1-2-3), his ninth multi-point game of the season and the 11th of his career.
— With the game-winning goal in game one of the series and an assist in game two, freshman forward Jack Jenkins recorded his first career point streak.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).