By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Trailing 2-1 after the first 20 minutes of play, the eighth-ranked University of Notre Dame hockey team put together a four-goal second period to ultimately defeat Omaha, 5-4, on Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (4,743).
With two goals, freshman forward Colin Theisen helped lead Notre Dame (4-3-1, 0-0-0 B1G) to the win and a series split with the Mavericks (3-2-1, 0-0-0 NCHC).
The Irish took an early lead on a perfect passing play from Cal Burke and Theisen, but Omaha did not let that to last as it capitalized on a power play and led 2-1 by the end of the first period.
The Irish came out flying in the second period and scored four goals. Jordan Gross reached 100 career points with an assist on Theisen’s second goal of the night, and Jack Jenkins and Cam Morrison had back-to-back goals just 11 seconds apart to put Notre Dame up 4-2. Gross closed out the period with a goal to increase Notre Dame’s lead to 5-3.
Omaha scored midway through the third period, but the Irish went on to win 5-4.
Cale Morris had 27 saves on the night and Omaha goaltender Evan Weninger had 30 saves, including 16 from the second period.
COACH JACKSON’S THOUGHTS
On improvement since game one against Omaha the night before ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“I thought we competed harder. We had a really good spell there in the second period and changed the game. We played the way we want to play. We just have to be able to find a way to play that way for 60 minutes. But we competed hard. I thought we had a lot of guys who were getting an opportunity to play more minutes and play in more important situations and tonight they handled it pretty well.”
On the adjustment heading into the second period ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“The biggest thing was trying to come out of our own end with speed. They do a good job on their forecheck. The key was getting our center underneath our wing just to give him some support, that allowed us to come out with some speed, especially that ten-minute span where we scored two or three goals.”
“Obviously, they are captains and leaders of the team. They take it upon themselves to do what is necessary to help our team win, and sometimes they have to give up a little bit offensively to defend. They are both out there against the other team’s top lines. They have to go head-to-head with really good players and really good lines. Jake did a great job, and the two guys on his flanks tonight, a freshman and a sophomore, both made that line a little bit more effective for us.”
On the play of goaltender Cale Morris ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“He made some big saves at the most important time of the game. Timeliness of saves is really important. I thought he made some key saves in the third period. A couple of the goals — a lot of traffic, point shots that get through — that happens to pretty much any goalie. For me, the most important thing is that he locked down the third period. He didn’t have much chance on the one goal. I thought that he did a really good job in the third period, and with a lead that’s really important.”
NOTRE DAME GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
1-0| Notre Dame started off strong with a goal from Colin Theisen three minutes into the first period. Cal Burke rushed hard into the right side of the offensive zone from the neutral zone, drawing in one of Omaha’s defenseman. Theisen came down with speed into the slot and received a pass from Burke that allowed him to bury the puck into the back of the net before the goalie could react. It was Theisen’s second goal of the season. Evans had the second assist off a faceoff win.
3-2 | Jack Jenkins picked up a shot from Gross that had bounced off the boards and fired it into the net from in front of the right post at 4:25 in the second period. Dawson Cook had the second assist.
4-2 | Eleven seconds later, the Irish scored another goal. They won the faceoff and broke into the offensive zone with speed. Cam Morrison cut diagonally across the slot to receive a pass, deked the goaltender and tucked the puck into the net off of his backhand. Evans and Bobby Nardella assisted.
5-3 | Gross picked up his fourth goal of the season with a one-timer from just inside the blue line at 14:01 in the third period. He was assisted by Burke and Evans.
The Irish were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Mavericks were 2-for-4.
- With an assist on Colin Theisen’s second period power-play goal, Jordan Gross became the 53rd player in program history and just the sixth defenseman to reach 100 career points. He finished the game with 102 points (30-72-102).
- He is the first defenseman to reach 100 career points since Bob Thebeau did so during the 1985-86 season.
- Gross skated in the 127th consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Jake Evans finished with seven assists in the series and now has 26 career multi-point games (five this season).
- Colin Theisen had his first career two-goal game.
- With a goal and two assists, Bobby Nardella has now notched at least one point in seven of Notre Dame’s first eight games of the season.
- It marked Nardella’s third multi-point game of the season and the 11th of his career.
- The 11 seconds between goals for Jack Jenkins and Cam Morrison in the second period was just three seconds over the Notre Dame record of eight seconds, set by Erik Condra and Tom Sawatske in the third period of Notre Dame’s game at Northern Michigan on Jan. 21, 2006.
The Irish will officially open Big Ten conference play with their first road games of the season against Ohio State (Nov. 3-4) at Value City Arena. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET and game one of the series will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
— 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 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).