CHICAGO — The No. 12/13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team (13-8-2, 6-6-1-0) and Wisconsin Badgers (8-10-4, 4-4-3-1) faced off for game two of the weekend series at the United Center (5,301) where the teams skated to an NCAA-recognized 2-2 tie Sunday evening.
The Irish earned the extra point in the three-on-three overtime period when Spencer Stastney fired one top shelf past Badger goaltender Jack Berry’s blocker to claim five of a possible six Big Ten points on the weekend after a 6-4 come-from-behind victory on Friday.
Michael Graham tallied the two official goals for the Irish to boast his second multi-goal game in as many contests. After Dominick Mersch opened the scoring for the Badgers, Graham picked up a pass from Mike O’Leary at the near post to net the tying goal with 1:31 to go in the first stanza.
The Badgers regained a one-goal advantage on a goal by Roman Ahcan in the final second of the opening period.
Graham tied the game again on a breakaway halfway through the second period. The play began when Matt Hellickson broke up a play in the Irish defensive zone and fired a pass up ice to Graham, who broke away alone on goal and eased a backhander to Berry’s stick side.
Cale Morris stood tall for the Irish with 19 saves in the middle period, including seven saves while the Badgers were on the power play, to keep the score even after 40 minutes.
Both sides traded chances in the third period and first overtime, but neither could convert the game-winner as the game officially ended in a 2-2 tie.
Stastney’s goal in double overtime came shortly after the Irish killed off a four-on-three power-play advantage for Wisconsin.
“It reminds me of last year’s team,” head coach Jeff Jackson said of Notre Dame’s comeback efforts in the series. “Resiliency — you can’t coach it. You have to go through experiences in order to learn from previous experiences. We’ve talked a lot about it and our guys are really good on the bench even though we fell down a couple times tonight. We talked about pushing back the next shift and I think our guys are learning how to respond to those games where you don’t get the first goal or the lead. You still have to find a way, when you’ve got a lot of time left, to play.”
Morris finished with 32 saves, while Berry stopped 26 of 28 shots in goal for Wisconsin.
The Irish converted on one of two power-play opportunities in the contest. The Notre Dame penalty kill also went perfect 5-for-5 on the night, and killed off 1:47 of a minor penalty in the 3-on-3 overtime.
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-1 | Michael Graham evened the score with a power-play goal at 18:29 of the first, burying the assist from Mike O’Leary at the far post as Badger goaltender Jack Berry fell to the right. Bobby Nardella also tallied an assist.
2-2 | Graham again tied the score with his second goal of the night, gathering Matt Hellickson’s long distance pass at the offensive blue line and walking it in on a breakaway for the goal.
3-2 | Skating three-on-three in overtime for the first time under the new Big Ten overtime format, Spencer Stastney ripped a wrist shot high over Berry’s blocker for his first goal in an Irish uniform (though it will not count toward his official stats). Jake Pivonka and Alex Steeves assisted on the play.
The Fighting Irish return home next weekend for a Big Ten series versus Michigan State. Friday’s game will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Chicago+/NBC Sports Philadelphia+/SNY), while Saturday’s contest is slated to begin at 7 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Chicago+/SNY). For tickets, click here.
Earlier this season, Notre Dame swept a tightly contested road series at Michigan State, winning game one 3-1 (Nov. 16) and then taking game two by a score of 2-1 (Nov. 17).
- Earlier in the day at the United Center, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Washington Capitals by a score of 8-5, led by a Jonathan Toews hat trick. Toews (3G, 2A) and Patrick Kane (2G, 3A) combined for 10 points for Chicago.
- The Fighting Irish snapped Wisconsin’s 11-game winning streak in games played in the Chicago area.
- Michael Graham scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season to tally multiple goals for the second game in a row. It was also his second career multi-point game. On the weekend, Graham collected five points (4G, 1A).
- Each tallying an assist in the 2-2 tie, Mike O’Leary (1-1-2) and Bobby Nardella (1-3-4) are now on two-game point streaks having tallied at least one in Friday night’s victory at Wisconsin.
- Morris finished with 65 saves this weekend, and has collected 30+ saves in three of his last four contests dating back to Jan. 5 vs. Michigan.
- Notre Dame is now 1-0-2 in neutral site games this season, having tied Mercyhurst 6-6 and defeating Providence 3-0 at the 2018 Ice Breaker Tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania, (Oct. 12-13).
- Forwards Joe Wegwerth, Cal Burke and Cam Morrison each missed the series due to injuries.
— ND —