NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The fifth-ranked Notre Dame hockey team earned a weekend split with a 2-1 victory over No. 7/9 Ohio State on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (4,165).
Joe Wegwerth scored the third period game winner, while Cale Morris made 38 saves. Including tonight’s result, five of the last seven contests between the two sides have been decided by a single goal, including the last three matchups.
The first period proved fairly even, with both teams heading to the locker room tied at 0-0 with 13 shots on goal each. Morris made a few diving saves in the final minutes of the opening frame to keep the Buckeyes off the board through the first 20 minutes of action.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Mason Jobst opened the scoring at 3:25 of the second period. After a battle at the blue line went in Ohio State’s favor, a series of passes between Jobst, Freddy Gerard and Carson Meyer ended with Jobst putting one past Morris to give the Buckeyes the 1-0 lead.
Just over halfway through the game, Colin Theisen knotted the game at 1-1 off a pass from Cam Morrison from the left circle when he one-timed a Cam Morrison feed past Ohio State goaltender Tommy Napier. Jake Pivonka recorded the second assist on Theisen’s goal for his first career point.
The game remained tied for the remainder of the second period, and a majority of the third, before Wegwerth tallied an unassisted goal, proving to be the game-winner.
Ohio State held the narrow margin in shots on goal, posting 39 to Notre Dame’s 38. Morris made 38 saves for the Irish while Nappier recorded 36 saves.
With the win, head coach Jeff Jackson recorded his 300th career victory with the Irish. Last year’s recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award, presented to the top NCAA hockey coach, he now boasts an all-time coaching record of 482-232-80 and is 300-180-55 in his 14th season at Notre Dame.
1-1 | Following a face-off in their own end, Jake Pivonka fired the puck through the neutral zone to Cam Morrison, who carried it to the far circle. With three defenders closing in on him, he found Colin Theisen to the left of Ohio State netminder Tommy Nappier. Theisen’s one-timer snuck through the five-hole of Nappier as he slid across the paint in an attempt to make the save. The goal, Theisen’s third of the season, tied the game at one with 8:02 remaining in the second period.
2-1 | After a battle for the puck along the boards, an Ohio State defenseman came up with the puck and attempted to fire it out of the defensive zone. Joe Wegwerth skated into the path of the puck, knocking it down to his stick and rocketing a wrist shot high into the Buckeye net to put the Irish up 2-1 with 13:48 to go in regulation.
Both the Irish and Buckeyes were perfect on the penalty kill, with the Irish holding the Buckeyes to just seven shots through three penalties. On the flip side, Notre Dame was unable to find the back of the net on the two chances they got, recording five shots with the man advantage.
The Irish will now head to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a weekend series against Michigan next Friday and Saturday. Last season the two teams met five times, with the Irish claiming victory in three of those contests. The season tie-breaker between the two came in the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four Semifinal game when former Irish center Jake Evans notched the game-winner with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Friday’s game will mark the first conference action for the Wolverines in 2018-19 and will be the first road trip for the Irish since a weekend sweep at Omaha (Oct. 19-20). Puck drop at Yost Ice Arena is set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 9.
- The Fighting Irish are in the midst of a stretch of three consecutive weekend series against last season’s Frozen Four teams, including No. 1/1 Minnesota Duluth, No. 7/9 Ohio State and No. 12/13 Michigan.
- Freshman forward Cam Burke made his Notre Dame debut.
- Jake Pivonka notched his first career point with an assist on Colin Theisen’s second period goal.
- With his game-winning goal tonight, Joe Wegwerth is now tied with Cal Burke for the team lead in goals (5). He also ranks third on the team in points with nine (5-4-9) behind only Bobby Nardella (4-7-11) and Burke (5-5-10).
- Cale Morris is now 3-3-1 on the season and boasts a goals against average of 2.29. He has 194 saves through seven games for a .923 save percentage.
— ND —