Oct. 6, 2017
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With the score tied 3-3 after two periods of play, the Irish took a 4-3 lead in the third period on a Jake Evans power-play goal and went on to post a 5-3 win over Alabama Huntsville in Friday night’s season opener at the Compton Family Ice Arena (3,885).
After a scoreless first period in which the goaltenders combined for 25 saves, the goals came fast and furious in the second. The Irish originally took a 1-0 lead on a Bobby Nardella power-play goal but Alabama Huntsville tied it up just 36 seconds later. Colin Theisen then scored his first career goal for a 2-1 lead.
After back-to-back goals by the Chargers, the Irish were forced to kill off over 1:15 of an Alabama Huntsville 5-on-3 power play, but a few big stops by goaltender Cale Morris and a Jack Jenkins shot block got the job done.
With just 1:30 left in the second period, Dennis Gilbert’s blast from the point tied things up, 3-3.
Evans then tipped in what proved to be the game-winning, power-play goal at 5:50 of the third and added a shorthanded, empty net goal with 18 seconds left in the game for a two-goal night.
In the Notre Dame net, sophomore Cale Morris started and stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his first career win in his first career start. Jordan Uhelski finished with 35 saves for the Chargers as Notre Dame outshot Alabama Huntsville 40-28.
Evans finished with two goals and an assist, while Jordan Gross tallied three assists to lead the Irish.
COACH JACKSON’S TAKE
On the start to the season …
“I thought he [Cale Morris] did a good job tonight, and that it was a good start for him. A good start for our team, too. I thought we were a little jittery; the puck was bouncing a lot on us. That’s what led to a lot of 2-on-1s. The puck was bouncing on our defense a lot, and it created opportunities for them. We just have to settle things down a little bit. We had some stretches where we were really good, and then some stretches that I thought we were making soft plays with the puck.”
On the penalty kills in the second period changing the momentum of the game …
“I thought killing off the 5-on-3 was really important because at that time we were already down by a goal, and going down by two wouldn’t have been good. Kudos to the guys that killed that off, both at the back end and up front. Cale made a few saves for us. All in all, that was certainly the turning point of the game for us.”
On the freshmen …
“Colin Theisen showed what kind of shot he has. I thought Max [Eisenmenger] played well. I moved him over to right wing when we shortened the bench a little bit later in the game. All in all, I thought Matt Hellickson was really good. From first impressions, I thought that they all did a good job tonight.”
NOTRE DAME GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
1-0 I Bobby Nardella put the Irish on top just 12 seconds into the second from the left point on a deflected pass from Cam Morrison. Jake Evans brought the puck into the offensive zone and was credited with the second assist.
2-2 I Colin Theisen scored his first collegiate goal off a drop pass from Andrew Oglevie to tie the game back up at 3:01 of the second. Matt Hellickson earned his first career point with the second assist.
3-3 I Max Eisenmenger won a puck battle behind the goal and dished it out to the left point to Jordan Gross, who passed it across the blue line to Dennis Gilbert. Gilbert fired a slapshot past Uhelski to tie the game at 18:30 in the second.
4-3 I After an offensive zone faceoff win to start a power play, Jake Evans netted his first goal of the season at 5:50 in the third on a deflection in the slot from a Jordan Gross slapshot, while Andrew Oglevie was credited with the second assist.
5-3 I Jordan Gross caused a turnover in the Notre Dame zone during a 6-on-4 situation due to Alabama Huntsville being on the power play and also pulling their goalie. Gross chopped it along to Evans, who turned and fired the shorthanded, empty net goal from his own zone at 19:43 in the third.
Notre Dame finished 2-for-5 on the power play and were credited with a shorthanded empty net goal, while the Chargers were 1-for-5.
- Jake Evans tied his career high for points (3) and goals (2) in a game.
- Jordan Gross tied his career high for points (3) and assists in a game (3).
- Evans scored his third career game-winning goal.
- Gross skated in the 120th consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Gross’ streak ranks as the third-longest active streak in NCAA DI, trailing only Karson Kuhlman (Minnesota Duluth – 123) and Landon Smith (Quinnipiac – 123).
- Bobby Nardella notched his sixth career power-play goal.
- Dennis Gilbert scored his first goal since he netted the game winner in Notre Dame’s 4-3 comeback win at Boston College during his freshman season (Dec. 10, 2015).
- Colin Theisen, Max Eisenmenger, Matt Hellickson each made their Notre Dame debuts, with Theisen notching his first career goal and Hellickson his first career assist.
- Cam Morrison, who had nine points (5-4-9) over the final nine games last season, picked up where he left off by notching an assist.
The Irish and Chargers will wrap-up their nonconference series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. To purchase tickets, click here.
— 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).