|# Michigan State||VS||#15 Notre Dame|
|( 12-19-5, 8-12-4-2 )||( 20-13-3, 11-11-2-2 )|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Cale Morris stopped 28 shots to earn his second consecutive shutout as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish clinched a berth in the Big Ten semifinals with a 2-0 victory over Michigan State on Saturday night at Compton Family Ice Arena (4,442).
After sweeping the Spartans (12-19-5, 8-13-4-2 B1G), the Irish (20-13-3, 12-11-2-2 B1G) will take on Minnesota next Saturday (March 16) in the conference semifinals inside Compton Family Ice Arena. Time for that contest is still to be determined.
Pierce Crawford opened the scoring for Notre Dame with a slick backhand shot that beat John Lethemon just 2:01 into the first.
Morris stopped 10 shots in the first 20 minutes as the Irish held the one-goal lead at the first intermission.
The Irish had a pair of power plays in the first five minutes of the second stanza, including a five-on-three advantage for the first 50 seconds of the frame, but were unable to double their lead. After the first Spartan penalty expired, Michigan State’s Jerad Rosburg hopped back on the ice and ended up with a breakaway that Morris turned aside.
With 9:22 left in the middle period, Graham Slaggert scored his first career shorthanded marker on a two-on-one rush with Cal Burke to make it a two-goal game. The Irish held that advantage into the final period.
Morris made another eight saves in the last 20 minutes to clinch his second straight shutout and the series sweep for the Irish.
The Notre Dame penalty kill went a perfect 2-for-2 on the night.
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-0 ND | The Irish got on the board first on Pierce Crawford’s second tally of the season just 2:01 into the contest. After winning a puck battle in the corner, Jack Jenkins fired a centering pass to Crawford, who went to his backhand and lifted the puck above Lethemon for the score.
2-0 ND | A forced turnover by Graham Slaggert at the Irish blue line spurred a two-on-two shorthanded rush with Cal Burke. Burke entered the zone and flipped a pass to Slaggert, who beat Lethemon glove side from the bottom of the left circle for his first career shorthanded goal.
The Irish will take on Minnesota next Saturday (March 16) in the Big Ten semifinals inside Compton Family Ice Arena. That contest is slated for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on Big Ten Network. Tickets: UND.com/BuyTickets.
- Cale Morris posted is fourth shutout of the season and the eighth of his career.
- It was also his second consecutive playoff shutout and marked the second time in his career he posted shutouts in consecutive starts (last season he shutout RPI on Nov. 18 and then blanked Minnesota on Nov. 24, both 1-0 victories).
- Sophomore Pierce Crawford scored his second career goal and first career game winner.
- Freshman Graham Slaggert, a South Bend native, scored his first career goal at the Compton Family Ice Arena and the goal was also his first career shorthanded tally.
- With an assist, Jack Jenkins recorded his eighth career playoff point (17 GP, 3-5-8).
- Notre Dame improved to 4-0-0 on Big Ten Tournament playoff games.
- The Irish are now 41-29-0 in the playoffs under head coach Jeff Jackson, including a 30-20-0 mark in conference tournament play.
- Notre Dame improved to 5-0-1 against Michigan State this season.