MINNEAPOLIS — Trailing 2-0 after the first period of play, 16th-ranked Notre Dame staged a comeback over the final 40 minutes to defeat Minnesota, 3-2, on Friday night at the 3M Arena at Mariucci (8,330).
Colin Theisen scored a pair of goals, including what proved to be his first career game winner in the third, while Cam Burke also scored for the Irish.
With the win, Notre Dame (17-11-3, 10-9-2-2 B1G) took over sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings with 34 points. Minnesota (13-15-4, 10-10-3-0) moved into a tie for third with Michigan (33 points).
“It was good for us to score that first goal because that gave us some confidence going into the second period,” Irish head coach Jeff Jackson said. “I thought we played really well after the first 10 minutes of the first period.”
Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Brannon McManus, who opened the scoring when his shot was saved by Cale Morris but deflected in by an Irish defenseman, and Nathan Burke.
The Irish had an offensive push in the final five minutes of the first, including chances by Cal Burke, Alex Steeves and Nate Clurman, who hit the post. Gopher goaltender Mat Robson stopped all eight shots he faced in the first period.
The Irish kept the pressure up right from the drop of the puck for the second period, drawing an early power-play chance on which Theisen fired home his ninth goal of the season to get the Irish on the board.
Cam Burke then buried a Pierce Crawford feed at 17:43 of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Morris stopped all eight shots he faced in the middle frame, including Tyler Sheehy’s chance form alone in the slot with five minutes left in the period.
Early in the third period, the Irish put together an important penalty kill to keep it tied. Morris made four saves on that penalty kill and Cal Burke forced Robson into a save on his partial breakaway chance.
Theisen then snapped off the game-winning wrist shot at 8:01 of the third.
Morris came up big down the stretch, denying Rem Pitlick and Sheehy as the Gophers were searching for the game-tying goal.
Cale Morris finished with 24 saves, including all 12 Gopher shots he faced in the third. Mat Robson totaled 28 saves in the Minnesota net.
The Irish finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Minnesota was 0-for-3.
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
2-1 | Colin Theisen ripped a one-timer from the bottom of right circle as the Irish capitalized on a power-play chance at 2:47 of the second period. Tory Dello and Cal Burke had the assists on the play.
2-2 | The Irish took advantage of a Minnesota change to tie things up at 2-2 at the 17:43 mark of the second period. Jack Jenkins picked up a stretch pass at the offensive blue line and chipped the puck ahead to Pierce Crawford. Crawford carried it below the goal line and dropped a pass off to Cam Burke in the slot, who slammed home his third goal of the season. Crawford notched the first assist of his career on the play.
3-2 | At 8:01 of the third, Colin Theisen ripped a wrist shot high past Robson’s glove for his second goal of the night off a nice feed from the corner by Cam Morrison. Matt Hellickson also earned an assist on the play. It proved to be Theisen’s first career game-winning goal.
The Fighting Irish and Gophers close out their regular-season series at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday evening at the 3M Arena at Mariucci. The game will be televised by Fox Sports North.
- With an assist, Tory Dello extended his point/assist streak to a career-long four games (0-5-5).
- Pierce Crawford notched his first career assist on Cam Burke’s second period game-tying goal.
- Colin Theisen notched his second career two-goal game and his first multipoint game of the season (fourth of his career).
- Theisen now has four goals in the last four games and he notched the first game-winning goal of his career.
- The Irish are outscoring their opponents 37-23 in second periods this season (+14).
Trio Up For Hobey Vote
- It was announced on Jan. 16 that forward Cal Burke, goaltender Cale Morris and defenseman Bobby Nardella have each been selected to Phase One of the Hobey Baker Award’s fan ballot (vote at www.hobeybaker.com).
- Awarded annually to college hockey’s top player, the Hobey Baker award includes candidates exhibiting the exceptional character traits of the award’s namesake, Hobey Baker, with consideration given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
- Morris, who was awarded the 2018 Mike Richter Award as college hockey’s top goaltender, was named a Top-10 Finalist for the Hobey Baker Award last season.
- Morris was the fourth player in Notre Dame history to be among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker, joining Anders Bjork (2017), David Brown (2007) and Dave Poulin (1982).
- Morris, a Larkspur, Colorado, native, was also the first player from the Centennial State to play his way into the Hobey Top 10.
- The Fan Balloting (Phase I) of the Hobey Baker award calendar will continue until March 10.
- On March 20, the Top 10 Finalists will be announced, at which time Phase II Fan Balloting will begin and run through March 31.
- The Hobey Hat Trick Finalist Announcement will be made on April 4.
- The 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 12, during the 2019 NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Buffalo, New York.
— ND —