NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Dylan Malmquist and Michael Graham each netted a pair and Mike O’Leary collected four assists to power the No.11/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team (14-8-2, 7-6-1-1 B1G) to a 6-3 victory over Michigan State (9-13-3, 5-8-2-2 B1G) in game one of a weekend series at Compton Family Ice Arena (4,462).
Cale Morris totaled a season-high 49 saves to also help the Irish (14-8-2, 6-6-1-1 B1G) to their third victory of the season over the Spartans (9-13-3, 5-8-2-2 B1G).
Malmquist put the Irish on the board first with 3:30 left in the opening frame while 13 saves by Morris kept the hosts in front entering the first intermission.
Malmquist earned his second marker 2:48 into the second period before Michigan State halved the Irish lead 3:37 later when Cody Milan converted on a five-on-three advantage.
Notre Dame responded late in the period with a pair of goals 27 seconds apart by Cam Burke and Tory Dello to take a three-goal lead after 40 minutes. Morris racked up another 18 saves in the second period, including a number of point-blank stops when the Irish were holding a one-goal advantage to anchor the Notre Dame defense.
Graham picked up a pair of power-play tallies at 1:53 and 4:12 of the final period to extend his goal streak to three games. The freshman forward has now scored two goals in back-to-back contests.
“You notice in practice a lot, he has incredible hockey sense and vision,” Malmquist said of Graham’s play of late. “He’s just really good with the puck and makes good puck decisions especially when he has time to make them. I think we knew it was coming at some point, he was just adapting to the game at the college level.”
Taro Hirose and Cody Milan both scored for Michigan State later in the frame to account for the 6-3 final.
Morris finished with 49 saves, while Michigan State’s Lethemon stopped 25 of 31 shots in goal.
The Irish converted on three of four power-play opportunities in the game while killing off three of four Michigan State power plays.
The Fighting Irish and Michigan State close out their regular-season series on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago+ and SNY.
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Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-0 ND | Michael Graham left the puck for Malmquist, who corralled the puck in the left circle and fired a shot above Lethemon’s glove for the game’s opening goal with 3:30 left in the opening frame. Mike O’Leary also earned an assist on the play after originally dropping the puck back to Graham along the right wing.
2-0 ND | Malmquist’s second of the night came on the power play 2:48 into the second period. Bobby Nardella sent a deflected pass to Malmquist at the right circle and the senior one-timed it above Lethemon’s glove, off the crossbar and into the back of the net. O’Leary earned his second helper of the night on the play.
3-1 ND | Cam Burke received a cross-ice pass from Matt Hellickson at the bottom of the left circle and beat Lethemon glove-side for his second tally of the season. Colin Theisen picked up the secondary assist on the marker, which came with 1:40 remaining in the second stanza.
4-1 ND | Just 27 seconds after Burke’s tally, Graham entered the zone down the left wing and dropped a pass for Dello, who converted from the slot for his second marker of the season. O’Leary notched his third assist of the night on the goal.
5-1 ND | Graham collected the rebound off of Andrew Peeke’s initial shot from the left point and buried the puck into an open net for a power-play marker 1:53 into the final period. O’Leary clinched his fourth assist of the contest on the play, including his second helper on the man advantage.
6-1 ND | Graham netted his second power-play goal of the night at 4:12 of the third period when his one-timer from the slot deflected off a Spartan defender and trickled into the net. Malmquist and Nardella each picked up assists on Notre Dame’s third power-play goal of the game.
- With four assists, Mike O’Leary posted a career-high four points and earned his third career multi-point game and second consecutive multi-point game.
- O’Leary posted Notre Dame’s first four-assist game since Jake Evans had four assists versus Omaha on Oct. 26, 2017.
- O’Leary is also on a three-game point streak (1-6-7).
- Freshman forward Cam Burke scored his first career goal on home ice. Burke’s two tallies this season have come against Michigan State.
- With a pair of goals, Dylan Malmquist notched his eighth career two-goal game and his 16th-career multi-point game (fifth of the season).
- With a pair of goals and a pair of assists, Michael Graham extended his point streak to three games (6-3-9).
- Graham has also notched back-to-back two-goal efforts.
- With two assists, Bobby Nardella extended his point streak to three games (1-4-5) and recorded his 18th-career multi-point game (fifth of the season).
- Morris eclipsed the 40-save mark for the second time this season (Dec. 7 at Penn State).
- Morris’ 49 saves are the second-highest single-game mark of his career (55 at Penn State on Feb. 3, 2018).
— ND —