NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the second consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish are Big Ten Hockey Tournament Champions. The Irish secured the trophy and an NCAA Championship berth with a 3-2 win over Penn State before a record-setting crowd at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Saturday night.
With the win, the Irish (22-13-3) are headed to the NCAA tournament for a program-record fourth consecutive season. Attendance for the tilt with Penn State (21-14-3) was 5,988, the largest crowd to see an Irish hockey game at Compton.
Cam Morrison, who lifted the Irish to victory last season over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship with an overtime goal, once again posted the game-winning goal as he fired a wrist shot past Peyton Jones late in the second period to put the Irish on top.
Both teams traded goals through the first 20 minutes of play as the Nittany Lions answered both Irish goals. Spencer Stastney scored his first collegiate goal in the opening stanza, burying a backhander at the 3:43 mark to get the Irish on the board first.
After the Nittany Lions tallied one of their own just under nine minutes into the first frame, Cal Burke scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season (tied with Graham) 16:19 into the game to give the Irish a 2-1 lead.
Morrison scored the game-winning goal at 18:24 of the second period, taking a pass at the blue line from Mike O’Leary to put the Irish up 3-2 heading into the third period.
Both goaltenders stood tall in the final frame as Cale Morris stopped all 12 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes of regulation, bringing his total to 46 for the game.
Jones finished with 26 saves for the Nittany Lions.
Morris, who went 4-0-0 in this season’s Big Ten Tournament with a 0.75 goals-against average to go along with a .977 save percentage, was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. He was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Morrison (ND), Liam Folkes (PSU), Alex Limoges (PSU), Andrew Peeke (ND) and Spencer Stastney (ND).
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-0 ND | Spencer Stastney picked the right time to tally his first collegiate goal as he put the Irish up 1-0 just 3:43 into action. Carrying the puck in deep, Stastney broke a group of defenders before firing a backhander over the glove of Penn State goaltender, Peyton Jones. Fellow freshman Graham Slaggert recorded an assist on the play.
2-1 ND | Picking up a rebound in front, Cal Burke broke the 1-1 tie as he lifted the puck past Jones and into the net. Andrew Peeke fired the initial shot from the blue line before Colin Theisen and Burke tried to corral the rebound. Theisen got a skate on the puck before Burke buried it, earning the primary assist as Peeke got the second.
3-2 ND | Taking a pass at the blue line, Morrison brought the puck up to the top of the far circle before shooting a wrister top shelf to get the go-ahead goal. Assists on the goal were credited to Mike O’Leary and Bobby Nardella.
The Irish clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament with the win and will find out their travel plans and first-round opponent during Sunday night’s selection show (7 p.m., ESPNU).
- Head coach Jeff Jackson recorded the 500th victory of his collegiate coaching career (499-242-82).
- With the win, Notre Dame advances to the NCAA Tournament for a program-record fourth consecutive season.
- The Irish defended their Big Ten Tournament championship behind Cam Morrison’s game-winning goal in the second period.
- The go-ahead tally was Morrison’s second in the tournament championship game, having posted the overtime winner last season against Ohio State.
- Cal Burke notched his 12th goal of the season (12-16-28) to tie Michael Graham for the team lead in goals.
- Spencer Stastney netted the first goal of the game and of his career at the 3:43 mark of the first period.
- Three Irish skaters boast two-game point-streaks heading into the NCAA tournament. Cam Morrison has tallied a goal in each of his last two games (2-0-2) while Mike O’Leary (0-3-3) and Andrew Peeke (0-2-2) have posted helpers in two straight games.
- Dating back to the first round of the Big Ten tournament, Cale Morris has stopped 126 of 129 shots for a nation-best .977 save percentage (March 8-23).
- Notre Dame is 6-0 in the Big Ten Conference ice hockey tournament.
- The Irish are now 43-29-0 in the playoffs under head coach Jeff Jackson, including a 32-20-0 mark in conference tournament play.
- Largest Compton Family Ice Arena Crowds: (1) March 23, 2019 vs. Penn State: 5,988; (2) Jan. 19, 2018 vs. Wisconsin: 5,630; (3) Feb. 16, 2018 vs. Michigan: 5,593; (4) Mar. 17, 2018: vs. Ohio State 5,515.