Thanks to their best third-period offensive outburst of the season and another yeoman’s effort from senior goalie Dylan St. Cyr, Notre Dame escaped with two big points Saturday night against No. 5 Wisconsin in Big Ten Hockey Conference action at the LaBahn Arena in Madison, Wis.
Down 3-1 entering the third period, the Irish outscored Wisconsin 4-2 in the third period to force a five-minute overtime period. After neither team scored, the game ended in a 5-5 overtime tie.
Then after stopping 39 shots in those first 65 minutes, the 5-foot-9 St. Cyr, starting for the 10th time in the last 11 games, stopped shootout attempts by Wisconsin’s top three forwards — Cole Caufield, Dylan Holloway and Ty Pelton-Byce. The last stop came after sophomore Max Ellis’ shootout goal against Wisconsin freshman goalie Cameron Rowe, assuring Notre Dame’s 1-0 shootout win and the extra point from the game.
The stunning two points left coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish (10-12-2 overall, 8-10-2-1-2-2 Big Ten) with 29 points in the league race, tied with No. 7 Michigan for third place. The Wolverines blanked Ohio State 6-0 Saturday night.
“(The Badgers) had their way with us in the second period; it was about playing for pride,” Jackson said outside a jubilant locker room. “I was proud to see how they responded in the third.”
And while the Irish didn’t officially get a victory, the Irish coach felt like they did after the performance of St. Cyr.
“We wouldn’t have won that game if it hadn’t been for him,” Jackson said, pointing to St. Cyr’s second-period performance and then his shootout performance.
Alex Steeves scored twice for Notre Dame, while Trevor Janicke, Colin Theisen and Solag Bakich had the other goals. Landon Slaggert and Ellis each had two assists. Ellis’ goal in the shootout isn’t an official goal.
For Wisconsin, Pelton-Byce had two goals and two assists with the other goals being scored by Roman Ahcan, Caufield and Linus Weissbach, and Holloway had three assists. Rowe finished with 31 saves.
Notre Dame, now 7-2-1 on the road this season but 0-3-1 in its last four games, visits Michigan State next weekend. The Spartans dropped a 5-1 decision Saturday at No. 4 Minnesota, which moved to 45 points, four more than coach Tony Granato’s second-place Badgers (15-8-1, 13-6-1-0-1-1 Big Ten). Wisconsin hosts Ohio State.
Wisconsin outshot Notre Dame 20-7 in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and take a 3-1 lead into the third period. But Notre Dame came roaring back with its four goals — two by Steeves and one each by Theisen and Bakich — on 14 third-period shots.
First Steeves (on a power play) and Theisen tallied goals 59 seconds apart starting at 7:18 to tie the game at 3-3.
Then after Weissbach put Wisconsin back into the lead 4-3 at 11:11, the Irish battled back with Steeves and Bakich scoring 36 seconds apart beginning at 13:42 to take the lead 5-4.
But Pelton-Byce, whose first-period power-play goal answered Notre Dame’s opening goal of the game by Janicke, sent the game into overtime at 19:33 of the period knotted at 5-5 with Rowe pulled for an extra attacker.
Once again, the Irish did not quit, outshooting the Badgers 5-4 in the extra session that started with each side skating 3-aside, but which turned into a 4-on-3 Irish power play 15 seconds into the five-minute session.
The super-quick sophomore Ellis, who returned this weekend from the injury list and had assists on the third-period goals by Theisen and Bakich, used his quickness to deke Rowe down and beat him for the eventual difference and extra point.
“His speed helped us against this team,” Jackson said of Ellis. “It was good to have him back in the lineup this weekend.”
As they did in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Badgers, the Fighting Irish scored first when Janicke jammed his second goal of the season past Rowe. The Badgers tied it on the power play at 14:55 on Pelton-Byce’s first goal.
The Badgers dominated the second period, outshooting the Irish 20-7 and another 15 shot attempts were blocked by Notre Dame players and another three hit the pipe. If not for 18 saves by St. Cyr, it would have been worse.
The Badgers made it 2-1 at 13:26 when Roman Ahcan scored his seventh of the season. Then Caufield, the nation’s leading goal-scorer, stung the Irish with his 19th goal goal at 19:39 to make it 3-1 heading into the third period.
Then the Irish woke up and earned the two points that made their four-hour bus trip back to South Bend a very satisfying one.
NOTRE DAME 5, WISCONSIN 5 (OT)
Notre Dame wins shootout, 1-0
At LaBahn Arena, Madison, Wisconsin
Notre Dame 1 0 4 0—5
Wisconsin 1 2 2 0—5
First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 2 (Jesse Lansdell, Colin Theisen) EV 4:38. 2. Wisconsin, Ty Pelton-Byce 8 (Roman Ahcan, Dylan Holloway) PPG 14:55. Penalties: Notre Dame 2-4, Wisconsin 0-0.
Second Period—Scoring: 3. Wisconsin, Roman Ahcan 7 (Dylan Holloway, Ty Emberson) EV 13:26. 4. Wisconsin, Cole Caufield 19 (Ty Pelton-Byce, Tyler Inamoto) EV 19:39. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (3-6), Wisconsin 0-0 (0-0).
Third Period—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Alex Steeves 12 (Nick Leivermann, Landon Slaggert) PPG 7:18. 6. Notre Dame, Colin Theisen 6 (Max Ellis) EV 8:17. 7. Wisconsin, Linus Weissbach 6 (Cole Caufield, Ty Pelton-Byce) EV 11:11. 8. Notre Dame, Alex Steeves 13 (Graham Slaggert, Landon Slaggert) EV 13:42. 9. Notre Dame, Solag Bakich 4 (Max Ellis, Jake Pivonka) EV 14:18. 10. Wisconsin, Ty Pelton-Byce 9 (Dylan Holloway) EV 19:33. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6), Wisconsin 1-2 (1-2).
Overtime—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6), Wisconsin 1-2 (2-4)
Shootout: Wisconsin 0 (Cole Caufield miss, Dylan Holloway miss, Ty Pelton-Byce miss), Notre Dame 1 (Nick Leivermann miss, Max Ellis score).
Shots on goal—Notre Dame 36 (10-7-14-5), Wisconsin 44 (12-20-8-4). Goalie saves—Notre Dame, Dylan St. Cyr 39 (11-18-6-4), Wisconsin, Cameron Rowe 31 (9-7-10-5). Power-play opportunities—Notre Dame 1 of 2, Wisconsin 1 of 3. Faceoffs won—Notre Dame 37 (12-10-12-3), Wisconsin 29 (7-13-8-1). Blocked shots—Notre Dame 29 (9-15-5-0), Wisconsin 13 (3-2-4-4). Referees—Jonathon Sitarski and Kenny Anderson. Linesmen—Nicholas Bradshaw and Jonathan Sladek.
Records—Notre Dame 10-12-2 (8-10-2-1-2-2 for 29 points and third place in Big Ten), Wisconsin 15-8-1 (13-6-1-0-1-1 for 41 points and second place in Big Ten).