Hockey: Irish score three in first and skate past Holy Cross 5-2

By John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame made short work of its shortened hockey week Thursday night by scoring three unanswered goals in the first period on way to a 5-2 non-conference victory over Holy Cross before 2,480 watching at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Max Ellis’ one-timer 31 seconds into the game got coach Jeff Jackson’s No. 19/17 Irish (5-3) started in the game witnessed by 2,480 at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena. 

Captain and senior center Graham Slaggert had a pair of goals, the first at 17:16 of the first period after Ellis and freshman defenseman Jake Boltmann (9:16) preceded him for the 3-0 lead. Third-period goals by Slaggert (1:15) and junior Jesse Lansdell (17:23 in an empty net) concluded the scoring against Holy Cross (1-6-1) which got 22 saves from junior goalie Matt Radomsky. 

Slaggert, Boltmann, Ellis and Lansdell each had two-point nights as 11 of the 20 skaters had a point. Grad-transfer goalie Matthew Galajda turned aside 20 of the 22 shots he faced and the two he didn’t — Mike Higgins’ blast at 6:08 of the second and Ryan Leibold’s deflected shot at 11:43 — weren’t of his doing. 

“The first one he didn’t see — I think our own defenseman screened him,” Jackson said. “The second one was deflected out front. That’s always a challenge to stop.”

Jackson indicated earlier in the week he would start Galajda and might come back with him Friday. But after the victory he wasn’t ruling out playing junior Ryan Bischel in the series finale Friday at 7:30 p.m.

But the Irish coach was pleased with the line changes he made prior to the game, moving Trevor Janicke up to right wing with Slaggert and his sophomore left wing brother Landon and inserting Solag Bakich at center between juniors Lansdell and Ellis. He also re-mixed his defensive pairings.

“We’re still trying to figure out where we are as a team,” Jackson said. “I like where we are as far as the personnel and personality of the group, but from a hockey perspective we still have some things to figure out. It’s been a little bit of a balancing act, and we’re still working on that. It was good we got off to a good start.”

Notre Dame outshot Holy Cross 13-8 in the first period on way to a 27-22 finish.

It was freshman defenseman Boltmann who got things going with a pair of shots that Radomsky saved in the first 30 seconds of the game. The second one, however, ended up on the stick of Ellis who was in the faceoff circle to Radomsky’s right and he deposited his fourth goal of the season quickly into an empty net 31 seconds into the contest.

Boltmann, who joined the program after the first semester last season, then scored his first collegiate goal after defenseman Spencer Stastney came up with a loose puck from a scramble in front of Radomsky. Stastney heard Boltmann’s stick banging on the ice and fed him in the right faceoff circle for a one-timer into the back of the net at 9:16.

Graham Slaggert made it 3-0 from the same faceoff circle when grad-transfer defenseman Chase Blackmun made a nifty cross-ice pass. Slaggert just steered the puck behind Radomsky at 17:16. 

The Irish killed off their first two penalties to go 30-for-30 to start the season and they just missed making it 31-for-31. Bakich was standing in the box getting ready to the return to the ice as his interference penalty at 4:08 was expiring. But just milliseconds before it did, Holy Cross defenseman Higgins’ blast from just inside the blueline beat Galajda at 6:08 of the second period.

The Irish came out strong in the third period and quickly added to their lead as Janicke fed Landon Slaggert in the slot for a backhander. Graham Slaggert tipped his brother’s effort home at 1:15 of the third period for a 4-1 lead.

Holy Cross cut the lead in half at 11:43 when Leibold’s shot from along the far boards deflected past Galajda after a poor Irish clearing attempt. But 12 seconds after Riga pulled Radomsky for a sixth attacker, the Irish scored into an empty net at 17:23 when Ellis chased down a pass from Bakich and fed Lansdell in front of the empty net.

NOTRE DAME 5, HOLY CROSS 2

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

Holy Cross 0 | 1 | 1 — 2

Notre Dame 3 | 0 | 2 — 5

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Max Ellis 4 (Jake Boltmann, Jesse Lansdell) EV 0:31. 2. Notre Dame, Jake Boltmann 1 (Spencer Stastney, Hunter Strand) EV 9:16. 3. Notre Dame, Graham Slaggert 3 (Chase Blackmun, Nick Leivermann) EV 17:16. Penalties: Holy Cross 1-2, Notre Dame 2-4.

Second Period—Scoring: 4. Holy Cross, Mike Higgins 2 (Matt Shatsky, Alex Peterson) PP 6:08. Penalties (total): Holy Cross 1-2 (2-4), Notre Dame 1-2 (3-6).

Third Period—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Graham Slaggert 4 (Landon Slaggert, Trevor Janicke) EV 1:15. 6. Holy Cross, Ryan Leibold 2 (Alex Peterson) EV 11:43. 7. Notre Dame, Jesse Lansdell 1 (Max Ellis, Solag Bakich) EN Penalties (total): Holy Cross 1-2 (3-6), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).

Shots on goal: Holy Cross 22 (8-7-7), Notre Dame 27 (13-5-9). Goalie saves: Holy Cross, Matt Radomsky 22 (10-5-7), Notre Dame, Matthew Galajda 20 (8-6-6).

Power-play opportunities: Holy Cross 1 of 3, Notre Dame 0 of 3. Faceoffs won: Holy Cross 27 (9-9-9), Notre Dame 28 (10-9-9). Blocked shots: Holy Cross 17 (7-6-4), Notre Dame 10 (3-4-3).

Referees: Brett Sheva and Tony Czech. Linesmen: Mike Daltry and Johnathan Morrison. Attendance: 2,480 (5,022). Records: Holy Cross 1-6-1, Notre Dame 5-3.