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#9/10 Irish Comeback To Defeat USNTDP 4-2

Mike O’Leary had two goals and an assist

Box Score | Highlights

PLYMOUTH, Mich. — The #9/10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish erased a 2-0 deficit to post a 4-2 comeback win over the USNTDP on Sunday afternoon at the USA Hockey Arena.

The Notre Dame penalty kill went 5-for-5 while senior Mike O’Leary had two goals and an assist to lead the Irish offense.

In net, freshman Ryan Bischel made 17 saves to earn the win. Senior captain Cal Burke scored the game winner, while sophomore Michael Graham also scored for the Irish.

Notre Dame outshot the USNTDP 28-19, while the Irish power play was 0-for-3.

How It Happened

The game started with Graham Slaggert winning the opening faceoff against his brother, Landon. 

The Irish then had the game’s first two shots on goal in the early going and fought off two Team USA power-play chances. But after the second one expired, Tanner Latsch gave the home team a 1-0 lead. Dylan Peterson then doubled the lead at 10:27 of the first on a goal off the rush.

Michael Graham cut the Team USA lead in half at 14:14 of the first when he finished a quick centering feed from Alex Steeves, who earned an assist in the play.

The Irish created a lot of chances in the second period, including a Cam Burke shorthanded partial breakaway, which was saved, and eventually tied it up at 2-2 when Mike O’Leary tipped in a Ryan Carmichael wrist shot from the point at 6:33. O’Leary started the play with an offensive zone faceoff win.

While killing off another Team USA power play, Bischel made a nice save on Chase Yoder at 4:15 of the second and finished the period by stopping all eight shots he faced. Notre Dame carried the play over the final five minutes of the second, including a Spencer Stastney shot off the crossbar, but the teams went to the locker room tied at 2-2.

Notre Dame took the lead just 1:31 into the third when Cal Burke buried a wrist shot high past Drew Commesso’s glove off a feed in the slot from O’Leary. 

Team USA pulled their goalie with 1:32 left in the third. Bischel made a big glove stop with 54 seconds left and then O’Leary sealed the win with his third point of the night when he scored an empty net goal with 33 seconds left. Cam Morrison and Cal Burke assisted on the play.

Up Next

  • The Irish are set to open the 2019-20 campaign against Air Force on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. 
  • The series finale will then be played at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. 
  • Television coverage for the series and all of Notre Dame’s home games will be announced early this week. 
  • Click here for tickets

Notes vs. the USNTDP

  • Notre Dame is now 5-2-2 all-time against the USNTDP, while the teams tied their only previous meeting in Plymouth (2-2 to open the 2015-16 season).
  • The Irish played the USNTDP for the fifth consecutive season.
  • Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson was one of the masterminds behind the U.S. National Team Development Program as he laid out the plan for what would become the USNTDP while interviewing with USA Hockey.
  • Jackson then served as the first head coach of the USNTDP from 1996-2000.
  • In addition to the Jackson connection, 40 Notre Dame hockey players have come through the U.S. National Development Program, including current players Matt Hellickson, Dylan St. Cyr, Jake Pivonka, Graham Slaggert, Spencer Stastney and Trevor Janicke.
  • Slaggert faced off against his brother, Landon, on Sunday with their father, Andy, looking on from the Irish bench in his Associate Head Coach role.