Irish Drop 6-4 Decision To Wisconsin

NOTRE DAME, Ind.   Adding a late empty net goal, Wisconsin outlasted Notre Dame to win a back-and-forth affair, 6-4, on Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (4,895).

Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield had a hat trick in the win, one of a combined seven multi-point scorers on the night. Colin Theisen had a goal and two assists,  Mike O’Leary added a goal and an assist and Spencer Stastney had a pair of assists to lead the Irish. 

Notre Dame (10-11-4, 5-7-3-2 B1G) goaltender Cale Morris made 19 saves on the night, while freshman Ryan Bischel added three in relief of the senior. Jack Berry made 29 stops, including 15 in the third period, to earn the win for Wisconsin (10-12-1, 5-9-1-1 B1G). 

How It Happened

Cale Morris was tested early, making the stop on Roman Ahcan’s breakaway attempt just 1:45 into the first period.

Michael Graham then gave the Irish a 1-0 lead at 12:25 of the first when he received a Theisen pass and fired a wrist shot low past Barry for his second goal of the season. Theisen picked up a Nate Clurman clear along the far boards, carried the puck behind the Wisconsin goal and waited for Graham to get open in the slot.

Just 2:09 later, Mike O’Leary made it a 2-0 game when he notched his eighth goal of the season. Theisen moved the puck behind the net, passing to O’Leary at the top of the circle to give the junior his second assist of the night, while Spencer Stastney contributed an assist of his own.

Wisconsin got on the board with just over a minute left in the first behind an unassisted breakaway goal from Cole Caufield, giving the Irish a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Caufield notched his second of the night to tie it up, 2-2, at 1:19 of the second period.

The Irish took the 3-2 lead over the Badgers behind Theisen’s sixth goal of the season at the 13:09 mark. The junior winger crashed the net and knocked in the rebound after O’Leary forced Berry to make an initial save. Stastney also added his second assist on the play.

Skating 4-on-4, Wisconsin’s Ty Pelton-Byce tied the game at 3-3 at 15:36 of the second. Then after a minor penalty on the Badgers expired to put them back on the power play following a Notre Dame major, Caufield’s third goal of the night gave the Badgers the 4-3 advantage at the 17:00 mark of the second period.   

Max Zimmer scored at 3:18 of the third to extend the Wisconsin lead to 5-3.

After a Wisconsin major penalty, Cal Burke converted a partial breakaway attempt to get the Irish within one with 7:08 to play. Burke corralled a long feed from Matt Hellickson at the Badger blue line, skated in alone and lifted the puck above Berry for his fifth goal of the season. Goaltender Ryan Bischel, who entered in relief of Morris, earned his first career assist on the play. 

The Irish continued to pressure with the man advantage, including a Janicke blast off the crossbar, but Wisconsin killed off the remainder of the power-play opportunity.

With Notre Dame continuing to push for the game-tying goal, Hellickson put a shot from the left circle just wide with under two minutes remaining. 

The Irish pulled Bischel in favor of the extra attacker in the closing moments, but Wyatt Kalynuk sealed the 6-4 Badger win with an empty-net goal in the final minute from deep in his own zone.

Up Next

  • Notre Dame and Wisconsin close out their regular-season series at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening (Jan. 24) at Compton Family Ice Arena (Tickets).
  • The game will be televised by NBC Sports Chicago+ and NBC Sports Philadelphia+.
  • New York Islanders’ organist Paul Cartier will once again serve as the guest organist.


  • With a goal and two assists, Colin Theisen tied his career high with three points on the night.
  • It marked Theisen’s fifth multi-point game of the season and the 10th of his career. 
  • Mike O’Leary had goal and an assist for his fifth multi-point game of the season and the 10th of his career.
  • Spencer Stastney had a pair of assists to tie his career high for assists in a game and it marked his third multi-point game of the season/of his career. 
  • Freshman goaltender Ryan Bischel assisted on Cal Burke’s power-play tally for his first career point.