NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Trailing 2-0 with under five minutes to play in regulation, Alex Steeves and Cam Morrison scored back-to-back goals just 1:45 apart in front of a raucous sold out crowd at Compton Family Ice Arena (5,355).
Neither team could find the back of the net in 5-on-5 overtime play and the game finished in a 2-2 tie. Then in the three-on-three overtime for the additional Big Ten standings point, both teams had chances, including brief power-play opportunities, but play moved on to a sudden victory shootout.
Never out of it.
— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) March 1, 2020
In the shootout, Cale Morris pokechecked the puck away from Patrick Khodorenko to register a save on Michigan State’s first attempt and then senior defenseman Tory Dello won a shootout against Michigan State for the third time in his career, scoring on Notre Dame’s first attempt.
Notre Dame (14-13-7, 9-9-6-4 B1G) ends the regular season with 37 Big Ten points, while Michigan State (15-17-2, 11-11-2-0) finishes the regular season with 35 points. As the No.5 seed, the Irish will head to Minneapolis for a best-of-three Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series versus No. 4 seed Minnesota (March 6-8).
Cale Morris finished with 22 saves for the Irish, while John Lethemon made 35 stops for the Spartans.
On special teams, Notre Dame was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Michigan State was 0-for-1.
How It Happened
The score remained 0-0 after the first period of play. Morris stopped all seven shots he faced, including a point-blank save on Dennis Cesana four minutes into the frame.
Notre Dame’s offensive pressure increased as the period wore on, with the trio of Cam Burke, Matt Steeves and Pierce Crawford igniting a spell of sustained pressure over the final four minutes of play that also included a Nate Clurman shot off the post and several chances from in tight. Lethemon was forced to make 15 saves in the opening 20 minutes to keep it scoreless.
Michigan State then struck first at 5:41 of the second when Cesana intercepted a pass and hit the post from the slot. The rebound dropped to Logan Lambdin, who put it back into an empty net.
The Spartans carried that 1-0 lead to the locker room after two periods of play and then Josh Nodler made it a 2-0 game at 2:28 of the third when he scored on a 2-on-1 rush.
With 13:20 left in the third the Irish got their second power-play chance of the game and Michael Graham and Spencer Stastney had chances but still could not beat Lethemon.
Alex Steeves then got the Irish on the board at 15:12 of the third with a wrister from the high slot. Graham Slaggert and Spencer Stastney assisted on Steeves’ 10th goal of the season.
Just 1:45 later, Morrison redirected a feed from classmate Cal Burke at 16:57 to tie the game, 2-2. Michael Graham had the other assist on the play, his 15th of the season.
Notre Dame nearly came up with a game winner a few times down the stretch, including Clurman beating Lethemon five hole but barely missing the net with time expiring.
- Notre Dame’s penalty kill improved to 21-for-21 over the past eight games (series against Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State).
- Cam Morrison has three goals in the last four games (3-0-3).
- Michael Graham has four assists in the last four games (0-4-4).
- Alex Steeves has three points (1-2-3) in the last four games.
- With an assist, Spencer Stastney has a career-long three-game point streak (1-2-3).