NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Colin Theisen scored and Notre Dame had 41 shots on goal but Michigan State goaltender John Lethemon made 40 saves to lead Michigan State to a 3-1 win over the Fighting Irish on Friday night inside a sold-out Compton Family Ice Arena (5,265).
Notre Dame (14-13-6, 9-9-5-3 B1G) remains at 35 points in the Big Ten standings, while Michigan State now has 34 (15-17-1, 11-11-1-0) with one game remaining in the regular season as the teams vie for the right to host a home series in the opening round of the playoffs.
Cale Morris finished with 26 saves for the Irish in his 100th career start.
On special teams, Notre Dame was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Michigan State was 0-for-2.
How It Happened
A quick first period saw Michigan State’s John Lethemon turn aside all 12 shots he faced, while Cale Morris made 11 stops.
After a nice cross-ice feed from Michael Graham, Alex Steeves ripped a shot off the post at the 13:00 minute mark of the first on one of Notre Dame’s best chances of the opening period. Just 43 seconds later, Tommy Apap tipped one in at the other end for a 1-0 lead the Spartans would take to the locker room.
The Irish killed off the remaining 1:01 of a Michigan State power-play opportunity to start the second. Then Colin Theisen tied it up, 1-1, at 1:23 with his eighth goal of the season. Theisen took a pass in the neutral zone from Mike O’Leary, skated down the far boards and sent a wrist shot high past Lethemon’s glove with Spencer Stastney earning the second assist on the play.
The Spartans regained the lead at 5:53 of the second when Dennis Cesana notched his seventh goal of the season from the low slot. Logan Lambdin then extended the Michigan State lead to 3-1 at 15:16 of the second period.
Theisen and Matt Hellickson had good looks in the final minute of the second period but were unable to solve Lethemon again, who had 14 saves in the middle stanza to keep it 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Pushing to get within one, the Irish pulled Morris on the power play with 3:58 left in the third period. The Irish generated pressure on the 6-on-4 advantage, but Lethemon came up with big stops on Theisen and Nick Leivermann.
Mike O’Leary also had a point-blank chance with just over a minute to go that was stopped by Lethemon to keep it a 3-1 final.
- Notre Dame and Michigan State close the regular season on Saturday, February 29th on Senior Night inside Compton Family Ice Arena.
- Saturday’s Senior Night game will begin at 6 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Philadelphia+).
- Pittsburgh Penguins’ organist Tim DeBacco is serving as the guest organist for the weekend and Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison is set to sing the anthem on Senior Night, click here for tickets.
- Cale Morris made his 100th career start.
- Colin Theisen scored his eighth goal of the season giving him 19 points of the year (8-11-19), marking his third consecutive season with at least 19 points.
- With an assist, Spencer Stastney established a two-game point streak (1-1-2).
- Notre Dame’s penalty kill improved to 19-for-20 over the past seven games (series against Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan and one game versus Michigan State).