No. 8/9 Irish Earn Season-Opening Victory

Coach Jackson Postgame Press Conference

Alex Steeves Postgame Press Conference

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The #8/9 University of Notre Dame Hockey team overcame a 2-0 deficit to earn its first victory of the season 4-3 over the Air Force Academy on Friday night.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Compton Family Ice Arena (4,977), Coach Jeff Jackson earned his eighth home-opening victory with the Irish.

Cal Burke (1G, 1A), Alex Steeves (1G, 1A), Mike O’Leary (2A) and Michael Graham (2A) each recorded multi-point nights to lead the Irish offensively.

The Irish penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 on the night. 

Freshman Ryan Bischel stopped 33 shots earn his first collegiate victory in net. 

How It Happened
Air Force took a 1-0 lead at 7:55 of the first period when Brady Tomlak was able to put a carom off the end boards into an open net. Notre Dame kept the Air Force power play off the board right after the Falcon goal to keep it a 1-0 game.

Several good looks by the Irish were turned aside by Zach LaRocque, who finished with seven saves in the first stanza for Air Force, and then Matt Pulver put a rebound in at 2:58 left for a 2-0 Air Force lead after 20 minutes. 

At 5:05 of the second, Colin Theisen redirected O’Leary’s snapshot from the point to make it a 2-1 game. Burke earned the second assist on the play.

The Irish then tied it up with 6:38 remaining in the middle frame when Graham sent a centering feed to Alex Steeves, who converted for his first goal of the season. Clurman had the second assist, connecting on a stretch pass with Graham.

Cam Morrison gave the Irish a 3-2 lead 5:03 into the third period when he put home a rebound in front after Alex Steeves forced LaRocque into a save. Graham notched his second assist of the night on the marker as well.

Burke buried an empty-net goal from the Irish zone with 2:09 remaining to give the Irish a 4-2 advantage. 

Tomlak netted his second goal of the night for Air Force with 0.1 seconds left in the game, accounting for the 4-3 final.

Up Next

  • The Irish and Falcons close out their weekend series at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. 
  • Television coverage for the finale will include the NHL Network as well as NBC Sports Chicago/Philadelphia+. 
  • Click here for tickets

Notes

  • Notre Dame is now 8-6-1 in season-openers under Head Coach Jeff Jackson.
  • With a goal and an assist, sophomore Alex Steeves notched the third multi-point game of his Irish career.
  • Steeves scored his first goal of the season in game one of the season, while last season he scored his first goal in his ninth game (a two-goal game at Michigan on Nov. 9).
  • With a pair of assists, sophomore Michael Graham recorded his sixth career multi-point game and it was his second career two-assist game to tie his career high.
  • With a goal and an assist, Senior Cal Burke posted his 12th multi-point game.
  • With two assists, Senior Mike O’Leary notched his sixth career multi-point game.
  • Freshman Trevor Janicke, Jesse Lansdell and Ryan Bischel as well as sophomore Charlie Raith played their first career games.

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