St. Cyr beneficiary of Irish offensive explosion in 7-1 victory over Penn State

Tribune Staff Report
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Senior Dylan St. Cyr continued his goaltending mastery and Notre Dame exploded for seven goals in the final two periods for a 7-1 Big Ten Hockey Conference victory over Penn State Saturday on the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Sophomore Trevor Janicke scored a pair of goals and sophomore right wing Max Ellis had a goal and two assists to lead coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish, who concluded the regular season by going 4-0-1 in their last five games. St. Cyr, a redshirt senior making his 14th start in the last 15 games on Senior Day, surrendered only an opening-period goal to Penn State’s Christian Sarlo and finished with 37 saves in 55½ minutes.

For the second time in the last two months, Jackson, a former backup goalie at Michigan State under the late Ron Mason, gave third-string senior goalie Nick Sanford some playing time as St. Cyr’s replacement. Sanford, from Morristown, New Jersey, played the final 4:25 and made one save.

St. Cyr, Sanford and fellow seniors Pierce Crawford, Colin Theisen, Matt Steeves and Matt Hellickson were saluted following the game during which the Irish wore their Kelly green jerseys. Theisen added a pair of assists after missing Friday’s 5-2 Irish victory while sitting out a Big Ten suspension for a third major penalty this season.

The Irish scored three times in the second period on goals by Alex Steeves (0:33), Jake Pivonka (4:46) and Janicke (8:28) and then put the game out of reach with four goals in the third period. Jesse Lansdell’s goal (1:16) ended Autio’s night, Janicke (11:26) and Max Ellis (15:35) scored against Autio’s replacement Liam Souliere, and Graham Slaggert (18:02) scored against Penn State’s third-string goalie Will Holtforster.

Notre Dame finished the regular season at 12-10-2 for fourth place in the Big Ten and 14-12-2 overall. Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions, playing for the first since a 3-2 overtime loss at home to Notre Dame on Jan. 29 and missing eight games, fell to 7-11-0 for fifth place in the league and 9-11-0 overall.

The Fighting Irish and Nittany Lions will play for the three straight time this Sunday at noon on the Lefty Smith Rink to begin the single-elimination Big Ten Tournament. No. 2 seed Minnesota plays No. 7 Michigan State at 4:30 p.m. and No. 3 Michigan plays No. 6 Ohio State at 8:30 p.m.

The Irish-Nittany Lions winner plays top seed Wisconsin in the Monday, March 15 semifinals at 4:30 p.m. ahead of the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m. The championship is set for Tuesday at 8. All games will be carried by the Big Ten Network. The winner receives the league’s automatic berth into the 16-team bracket of the NCAA Tournament which will be announced Sunday, March 21.

As they did in Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Irish, the Nittany Lions grabbed a 1-0 lead when Sarlo scored on a breakaway at 8:33 after a setup pass from Alex Limoges. St. Cyr turned away the other 13 shots he faced in the period.

The Irish came out flying in the second period and grabbed a 3-1 lead in the first 8:28.

Senior defenseman Matt Hellickson, skating in his 145th straight game since arriving on campus, sent in Alex Steeves on a breakaway and the junior right wing beat Autio for his 15th of the season at 0:33.

Notre Dame made it 2-1 at 4:46 when Pivonka’s 40-foot slapshot, after a feed from Max Ellis, beat a screened Autio.

Then at 8:28, the Irish made it 3-1 when Janicke jammed a shot home past Autio with assists from Nick Leivermann and Colin Theisen.

Pivonka and Ellis set up Lansdell to begin the goal-scoring in the third. Janicke’s second goal of the game was set up by Ryder Rolston. Spencer Stastney fed Ellis to successfully complete a 2-on-1 break to make it 6-1 before Landon Slaggert fed brother Graham Slaggert to complete the scoring.

NOTRE DAME 7, PENN STATE 1

At Lefty Smith Rink/Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend

Penn State 1 0 0 — 1

Notre Dame 0 3 4 — 7

First Period—Scoring: 1. Penn State, Christian Sarlo 4 (Alex Limoges, Jimmy Dowd Jr.) EV 8:33. Penalties: Penn State 0-0, Notre Dame 2-4.

Second Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Alex Steeves 15 (Matt Hellickson) EV 0:33. 3. Notre Dame, Jake Pivonka 2 (Max Ellis) EV 4:46. 4. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 3 (Nick Leivermann, Colin Theisen) EV 8:28. Penalties (total): Penn State 2-4 (2-4), Notre Dame 1-2 (3-6).

Third Period—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Jesse Lansdell 3 (Max Ellis, Jake Pivonka) EV 1:16. 6. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 4 (Ryder Rolston, Colin Theisen) EV 11:26. 7. Notre Dame, Max Ellis 5 (Spencer Stastney) EV 15:35. 8. Notre Dame, Graham Slaggert 7 (Landon Slaggert, Alex Steeves) EV 18:02. Penalties (total): Penn State 3-17 (5-21), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).

Shots on goal—Penn State 39 (14-14-11), Notre Dame 38 (12-12-14). Goalie saves—Penn State 31 (Oskar Autio 12-9-0—21, Liam Souliere 0-0-7—7, Will Holtforster 0-0-3—3) Notre Dame 38 (Dylan St. Cyr 13-14-10—37, Nick Sanford 0-0-1—1). Power-play opportunities—Penn State 0 of 2, Notre Dame 0 of 3. Faceoffs won—Penn State 27 (12-7-8), Notre Dame 32 (7-11-14). Blocked shots—Penn State 17 (9-2-6), Notre Dame 13 (3-5-5). Referees—David Marcotte and Sean Fernandez. Linesmen—Nick Huff and Bill Hancock. Records—Penn State 9-11-0 overall and 7-11-0 Big Ten (fifth), Notre Dame 14-12-2 overall and 12-10-2 Big Ten (fourth).

Notre Dame’s Trevor Janicke, shown here Jan. 21 against Michigan, had a pair of goals Saturday as the Irish defeated Penn State, 7-1.