SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame scored three goals in the first period, including the eventual game-winner by defenseman Andrew Peeke at 19:13, and goaltender Cale Morris made 33 saves as the top-ranked Irish won their 16th straight game Friday night with a 4-2 Big Ten Conference victory over Wisconsin on the Lefty Smith Rink before a sellout crowd of 5,630 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Andrew Oglevie and Jake Evans had the other first-period scores for Notre Dame, 19-3-1 overall and 13-0-0-0 in the Big Ten. Dawson Cook had an empty-net goal with 38 seconds remaining. Both Oglevie and Peeke finished the night with a goal and an assist.
The streak is the longest in the nation and the longest in Irish history, surpassing a 15-game winning streak during the 1983-84 season when Notre Dame competed as a club team under Smith. The streak matches a 16-game winning streak by Harvard last season and is three short of Boston College’s 19-game winning streak in the 2011-12 season.
Notre Dame’s 39 league points are 14 better than second-place Ohio State, which is idle this weekend. The victory was the third of the season for the Irish over the 18th-ranked Badgers, who fell to 11-12-3 overall and 5-8-2-0 in the Big Ten, 22 points behind Notre Dame. The two teams skate Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Chicago’s United Center.
There were 17 penalties called in the game, nine against the Badgers. Notre Dame went 1-for-6 with the man-advantage while Wisconsin went 0-for-3.
Notre Dame scored first at 7:08 of the first period when Oglevie scored on a power play with an assist from Colin Theisen. It was Oglevie’s 10th goal of the year and his sixth power-play goal.
Irish captain Jake Evans then scored his seventh goal of the season on a breakaway, getting a feed from Cam Morrison and shooting it over the glove of Wisconsin goalie Kyle Hayton at 11:51 for a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic cut the lead to 2-1 when he scored his 10th goal of the season on a penalty shot at 17:56.
But Oglevie and Dylan Malmquist set up defenseman Peeke, who scored his second of the season at 19:13 to give the Irish a 3-1 lead after one period.
The score remained that way through a scoreless second period. With 50 seconds remaining in the period, the Badgers’ Peter Tischke and Ryan Wagner received penalties along with Morrison and Justin Wade of the Irish for roughing after the whistle. Wade also received a five-minute major for contact to the head and a game misconduct.
Notre Dame killed off the remaining 4:10 of the penalty to start the third period, but seven seconds after it ended, Tarek Baker scored his 10th of the season off feeds from Max Zimmer and Will Johnson and Wisconsin was hanging tough at 3-2.
But Wisconsin pulled Hayton, who finished with 25 saves, with 1:50 remaining and at 19:22 Cook scored his fifth of the season off assists from Cal Burke at Peeke.
Following Sunday’s game which is a “home” game for the Irish, Notre Dame has two-game Big Ten road trips at Minnesota and Penn State before returning home Feb. 9-10 to play Ohio State.