Hockey: No. 8 Irish skaters end first half with 1-0 overtime loss to Michigan State

By John Fineran
ND Insider
Notre Dame had coach Jeff Jackson during the Notre Dame vs. Ohio State NCAA hockey game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend. The Irish lost to Michigan State, 1-0, in overtime Saturday.

SOUTH BEND — Sometimes you do almost everything right and still end up taking one in the gut.

Thar was the case for the No. 8 Notre Dame hockey team, which outskated and outshot Michigan State much of Saturday night in their Big Ten Hockey Conference game at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

But Spartans senior goaltender Drew DeRidder turned aside Notre Dame’s 30 shots and then assisted on fifth-year senior Mitchell Lewandowski’s seventh goal of the season 33 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime period for a 1-0 victory before 4,445.

“I thought we played a good hockey game, but they did, too,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson after the loss to his alma mater and MSU coach Danton Cole, who Jackson mentored during junior hockey. “They played a good defensive game and their goaltending played really well. He was the difference in the game.”

► More:Stastney’s two goals help No. 8 Notre Dame hockey team rally past Spartans 3-2

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It was the third shutout of the season for DeRidder, who sat out Friday’s 3-2 loss to Notre Dame during with the Irish rallied from an early 2-0 deficit against sophomore Pierce Charleson.  The 5-foot-10, 180-pound DeRidder’s goals-against average dropped to 1.99 and his saves percentage improved to .945.

DeRidder made 21 saves in the final two periods of regulation as the Irish once again outshot the Spartans, this time by a 30-24 margin, including 9-3 in the first period. The Spartans outshot the Irish 12-10 in the second period with half of the Notre Dame shots coming during an Irish power-play opportunity. 

Then at 5:51 of the third period, DeRidder made maybe his best save of the night when he slid across the crease and robbed Spencer Stastney’s shot from the top of the slot that was headed to the upper corner of the net.

After each team earned a point for the regulation tie, it didn’t take long for the game to be decided in the three-aside, five-minute overtime session. Jackson sent out Slaggert and brother Landon along with defenseman Adam Karashik.

Lewandowski, the Big Ten rookie of the year in 2017-18 who used the COVID-19 fifth-year exemption to return this season, got possession of the puck and carried into the Irish zone before sending the puck back to DeRidder, who left it behind the net.

Jackson then made a change in his threesome, sending out Stastney with forwards Max Ellis and Cam Burke. But before the Irish threesome could settle in, Lewandowski was skating up ice with the pick and into the Irish zone where he used Stastney as a screen to beat Irish junior starting goalie Ryan Bischel, who had made 23 saves in regulation, from 35 feet out.

“Ryan played well all night,” Jackson said of Bischel, who now has a 2.08 average and .910 saves percentage. “Lewandowski made a nice play — that was a big-time goal. He’s a big-time player.”

Cole was ecstatic for his improving Spartans (10-7-1 overall, 5-5-0 Big Ten for 14 points and fifth place).

“That was a good hockey game – an instant classic,” he said.

Despite the loss, Jackson was pleased with the team’s 12-5 overall first half which included a six-game winning streak, a 58-33 advantage in goals and a fourth-place showing in the competitive Big Ten (6-4 for 17 points in 10 games) behind Michigan (23 points in 12 points), Minnesota (19 points in 10 games) and Ohio State (18 points in 10 games).

“Tonight was just a minor blip,” Jackson said. “The first half was outstanding.”

The second half begins Jan. 1 with the first of two non-conference games against Niagara of the Atlantic Hockey Association. Faceoff both nights at the Compton is 5 p.m.

MICHIGAN STATE 1, NOTRE DAME 0 (OT)

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

Michigan State 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 — 1

Notre Dame 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 — 0 

First Period—Scoring: None. Penalties: Michigan State 1-2, Notre Dame 1-2.

Second Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Michigan State 2-4 (3-6), Notre Dame 2-4 (3-6).

Third Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Michigan State 0-0 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (4-8).

Overtime—Scoring: 1. Michigan State, Mitchell Lewandowski 7 (Drew DeRidder, Dennis Cesana) 3-on-3 0:33. Penalties (total): Michigan State 0-0 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (4-8).

Shots on goal: Michigan State 24 (3-12-8-1), Notre Dame 30 (9-10-11-0). Goalie saves: Michigan State, Drew DeRidder 30 (9-10-11-0), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 23 (3-12-8-0).

Power-play opportunities: Michigan State 0 of 2, Notre Dame 0 of 2. Faceoffs won: Michigan State 22 (4-9-8-1), Notre Dame 34 (14-10-10-0). Blocked shots: Michigan State 17 (8-4-5-0), Notre Dame 14 (4-8-2-0).

Referees: Barry Pochmara and Brett Sheva. Linesmen: Nicholas Bet and Christopher Libett. Attendance: 4,445 (5,022).

Records: Michigan State 10-7-1 (5-5-0 Big Ten for 14 points), Notre Dame 12-5-0 (6-4-0 Big Ten for 17 points).