SOUTH BEND — Nick Leivermann scored and Cale Morris made 24 saves, but Notre Dame dropped a 2-1 decision to Minnesota on Saturday night inside a sold-out Compton Family Ice Arena (5,804).
Jack LaFontaine finished with 24 saves to earn the victory in goal for the Gophers.
The Irish went 1-for-4 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the man advantage. As a team, the Irish finished the weekend with a 7-for-8 effort in the penalty kill.
The score remained 0-0 after the first period of play, aided by 15 saves by Morris.
Leivermann scored his second goal in as many nights to open the scoring at 8:01 of the second period. Colin Theisen handed the puck off to a streaking Leivermann at the Irish defensive blue line and the sophomore defenseman did the rest, eventually beating LaFontaine low to the far post from the faceoff dot. It marked Leivermann’s sixth career goal, with five of those tallies coming against the Gophers.
The Irish opened the third period by killing off the remaining 1:39 of a Gopher power play. But then Minnesota took advantage of an Irish turnover at the blue line and Ben Meyers finished a drop pass from Brannon McManus in the slot to tie things back up, 1-1, at the 3:34 mark.
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead at 6:16 of the third when Blake McGlaughlin put a rebound in from just outside the crease following a net-front scramble while the Gophers were on the power play.
Notre Dame next travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a weekend series against Michigan (Feb. 21-22) at Yost Ice Arena.