Notre Dame hockey team complete road sweep at Michigan State

Tribune Staff Report
ND Insider

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Dylan St. Cyr made 29 saves for his second straight shutout and special teams stood out as Notre Dame’s hockey team concluded a weekend hockey sweep of Michigan State with another 2-0 shutout of the Spartans at the Clarence “Biggie” Munn Ice Arena.

Senior Colin Theisen scored a first-period power-play goal and freshman Landon Slaggert scored a power-play goal in the third period as Notre Dame improved to 9-2-1 on the road and evened its overall record at 12-12-2. The Irish also evened their Big Ten record to 10-10-2 heading into their final regular-season series against Penn State Friday and Saturday at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena, where they are just 3-10-1 in this season marred by COVID-19.

“Our special teams have gotten better over the last month, credit to our guys on the PK (penalty kill) for doing an outstanding job and then the power play as well, scoring a couple critical goals,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said.

The penalty-kill units didn’t allow a goal in three attempts Saturday night, including a five-minute major to start the third period, and had a 5-for-5 success rate this weekend. On the road this season, the Irish penalty-kill units have allowed just two goals (both at Wisconsin two weekends ago) and have successfully killed 26 of 28 (93%) enemy power plays. Meanwhile, the Irish went 2-for-4 on their own power play Saturday and are now 10 of 30 on the road this season.

Graham Slaggert had a pair of assists Saturday. St. Cyr, a 5-foot-9 senior from Northville, Michigan, completed his weekend shutout sweep – he had 27 saves in Friday’s 2-0 victory – and lowered his goals-against average to 2.51 and raised his saves percentage to .919. It was his 12th start in Notre Dame’s last 13 games and St. Cyr is now 9-8-1 for the season.

It was St. Cyr’s third shutout this season and the fifth of his Notre Dame career.

“I thought Dylan played a quiet, calm game,” Jackson added, “and when we needed him he was there. I thought he did an outstanding job handling and moving the puck, he made the saves he needed to and made a few that were above the norm.”

Michigan State’s Joshua Jagger took a five-minute major on a hit from behind at 4:41 of the first period and the Irish went to work on the power play.

After a few good looks early, Theisen’s one-timer from the slot beat MSU goalie Drew DeRidder for a 1-0 lead at the 8:16 mark. Graham Slaggert and Nick Leivermann had the assists on Theisen’s seventh of the season.

St. Cyr turned aside all eight shots he faced in the first 20 minutes as Notre Dame took the 1-0 lead to the locker room. Irish put 18 shots on goal in the first, with DeRidder totaling 17 saves.

The teams skated to a scoreless second period, with Alex Steeves, Ryder Rolston and Landon Slaggert having Notre Dame’s best looks including a goalmouth scramble with two minutes left in the period.

St. Cyr was tested more in the second, but he turned aside all 15 shots he faced. The Spartans began a five-minute power play with 35 seconds remaining in the middle frame after a Notre Dame major to Theisen.

Still leading 1-0, the Irish opened the third by killing off the remaining 4:26 of Michigan State power-play time by holding the Spartans without a shot on goal.

Landon Slaggert doubled the Irish lead to 2-0 at 11:10 of the third when he netted his seventh goal of the season from in close on DeRidder, with the assists going to his brother Graham and Alex Steeves.

NOTRE DAME 2, MICHIGAN STATE 0

At Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, Mich.

Notre Dame 1 0 1 — 2

Michigan State 0 0 0 — 0

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Colin Theisen 7 (Graham Slagger, Nick Leivermann) PPG 8:16. Penalties: Notre Dame 2-4, Michigan State 4-19.

Second Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 3-17 (5-21), Michigan State 1-2 (5-21).

Third Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Landon Slaggert 7 (Graham Slaggert, Alex Steeves) PPG 11:10. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 2-4 (7-25), Michigan State 2-4 (7-25).

Shots on goal—Notre Dame 34 (18-11-5), Michigan State 29 (8-15-6). Goalie saves—Notre Dame, Dylan St. Cyr 29 (8-15-6), Michigan State, Drew DeRidder 32 (17-11-4). Power-play opportunities—Notre Dame 2 of 4, Michigan State 0 of 3. Faceoffs won—Notre Dame 36 (14-14-8), Michigan State 32 (9-12-11). Blocked shots—Notre Dame 5, Michigan State 14.

Referees—Barry Pochmara and Ken Anderson. Linesmen—Pat Richardson and Nick Huff.

Records—Notre Dame 12-12-2 (10-10-2 Big Ten), Michigan State 7-15-2 (5-14-1 Big Ten).

Irish to hit road for Big Ten hockey tourney. B6