Hockey: Bischel’s shutout – and assist – help No. 10 Irish break losing streak, 5-0

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel, shown Oct. 21, 2021, had a shutout for the Irish on Sunday and added an assist.

SOUTH BEND – Shutouts for hockey goaltenders aren’t rare. But an assist on top of his first collegiate shutout was the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae for Notre Dame junior goaltender Ryan Bischel Sunday evening.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior from Medina, Minnesota, turned aside 19 shots, including a couple on his doorstep in the first and third periods. In between, Bischel added an assist on Cam Burke’s shorthanded goal in the second period as coach Jeff Jackson’s No. 10 Fighting Irish ended a two-game losing streak around the Christmas break with a 5-0 whitewash of Niagara before 2,791 at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

► More:Hockey: Sluggish No. 10 Notre Dame falls to Niagara, 3-1

“That’s a first for me,” understated Bischel, who backstopped the Irish to a sweep of then No. 1 Michigan back in November at Ann Arbor.

His coach, a backup goalie at Michigan State in the 1970s, couldn’t have been more pleased.

“Ryan played really well, made some big saves for us,” Jackson said. “He’s gotten better. Ryan has grown as a player, and he’s grown as a person, too, which is something you like to see.”

Burke, a senior center, and junior right wing Trevor Janicke each scored two goals as Notre Dame (13-6-0) took a 4-0 lead into the final period. The Irish, who return to the Big Ten Conference for a pair of road series at Penn State (Jan. 7-8) and Ohio State (Jan. 14-15), also got a third-period goal from sophomore defenseman Zach Plucinski – his first of the season.

The Irish outshot the Purple Eagles (5-11-2) by 25 shots, 44-19. Niagara coach Jason Lammers pulled starting goaltender Chad Veltri after Burke’s shorthanded goal and freshman Jake Sibell finished. It was Notre Dame’s third shutout of the season – the other two belong to grad transfer (from Cornell) Matthew Galajda, who has 21 in his collegiate career and whose presence has caused Bischel to elevate his game.

“Goaltending and penalty-kill have been the two brightest spots on our team,” Jackson said.

But Notre Dame entered the game without a goal from a forward since Jesse Lansdell scored at the 4:00 mark of the third period in a 5-1 victory over Ohio State on Dec. 4 – a span of 196 minutes and 33 seconds. All the goals since have coming from defensemen – three by senior Spencer Stastney, whose shorthanded goal was Notre Dame’s only tally in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Purple Eagles (5-11-2).

“I reminded them this morning we haven’t had a forward score in three games,” Jackson said. His message was heard by everyone – including Bischel, who didn’t want to let his teammates down.

“They had a couple of good chances at the start, and I had to be solid for the guys,” Bischel said. “I knew we were going to come out and play a lot better than we did last night. Obviously, the guys were all fired up.”

But the forward scoreless skid would extend another 19:20 before Burke slid a rebound under Veltri to give the Irish a 1-0 lead going to the locker room. The goal came after Grant Silianoff, who had a pair of assists, forced a Niagara turnover to Veltri’s left and shoveled the puck out front to Ryder Rolston, whose shot was stopped by the goalie. 

Jackson made a few minor adjustments in his lineup, suiting 6-foot-6 grad right wing Jack Adams and senior defenseman Charlie Raith with hopes of breaking the Irish two-game losing skid. Both played well in the first period which started slowly for Notre Dame, which didn’t get a shot on goal until Max Ellis tested Veltri at 8:03. At that point, the Purple Eagles had a 3-1 edge in shots.

Niagara’s best scoring opportunity came early on when the Eagles got a 3-on-1 rush into the Irish zone at 6:30. But Bischel stood his ground on Jason Pineo’s shot. Niagara’s final shot on goal in the period came at 10:29 and also was turned aside by Bischel.

The second period started with Rolston and Niagara’s Christian Gorscak being banished to the penalty box after the opening faceoff because of slashing penalties. Notre Dame’s Nick Leivermann hit the post while the team were skating 4-on-4, and just four seconds after the penalties ended, Janicke poked home a rebound of Solag Bakich’s shot at 2:06 for a 2-0 Irish lead.

Then with Notre Dame’s Jake Boltmann off for holding, Burke notched his second goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway at 5:07, taking his feed from Bischel down the ice and ending Veltri’s night. It was Notre Dame’s second shorthanded goal in as many nights and fourth of the season.

The Irish got a power-play goal at 7:18 to make it 4-0. The play started with Sibell stopping Chase Blackmun. Silianoff quickly directed the rebound to Janicke who rebounded the puck home as he was being pushed from behind by a Niagara defender. 

The Irish outshot the Purple Eagles 17-9 in the period, at one point have a 27-7 advantage in shots before having to kill off a 5-on-3 Niagara power play that lasted 1:39. But the Irish penalty-kill unit, which entered the series No. 2 in the nation, did its job and Bischel made just two saves. For the weekend, the Irish killed off all 10 Niagara power plays and have allowed just five goals in 74 enemy power plays this season.

Notre Dame outshot Niagara 16-6 in a chippy third period which featured eight penalties, including five on the Irish totaling 18 minutes. Bischel’s stop of Ryan Cox’s breakaway came during one of six Niagara power plays in the game. Plucinski’s goal at 12:25, off feeds from Max Ellis and Stastney, closed out the scoring.

NOTRE DAME 5, NIAGARA 0

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

Niagara | 0-0-0—0

Notre Dame | 1-3-1—5

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Cam Burke 5 (Ryder Rolston, Grant Silianoff) EV 19:20. Penalties: Niagara 1-2, Notre Dame 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 6 (Solag Bakich) EV 2:06. 3. Notre Dame, Cam Burke 6 (Ryan Bischel) SH 5:07. 4. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 7 (Grant Silianoff, Chase Blackmun) PP 7:18. Penalties (total): Niagara 3-6 (4-8), Notre Dame 4-8 (4-8).

Third Period—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Zach Plucinski 1 (Max Ellis, Spencer Stastney) EV 12:25. Penalties (total): Niagara 3-14 (7-22), Notre Dame 5-18 (9-26).

 Shots on goal: Niagara 19 (4-9-6), Notre Dame 44 (11-17-16). Goalie saves: Niagara (39), Chad Veltri 13 (10-3-x) and Jake Sibell 26 (x-11-15), Notre Dame (19), Ryan Bischel 19 (4-9-6).

Power-play opportunities: Niagara 0 of 6, Notre Dame 1 of 4. Faceoffs won: Niagara 20 (4-8-8), Notre Dame 31 (6-13-12). Blocked shots: Niagara 14 (7-4-3), Notre Dame 11 (5-5-1).

 Referees: Tony Czech and Brian Aaron. Linesmen: Riley Bowles and Mike Latrey. Attendance: 2,791 (5,022). Records: Niagara 5-11-2, Notre Dame 13-6-0.

BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Conference)

Pts, GP, W-L-T, OW-OL, SW, GF-GA

Michigan 23, 12, 7-5-0, 0-2, 0, 45-34

Minnesota 19, 10, 6-4-0, 0-1, 0, 33-26

Ohio State 18, 10, 6-4-0, 0-0, 0, 32-24

Notre Dame 17, 10, 6-4-0, 2-1, 0, 29-22

Michigan State 14, 10, 5-5-0, 1-0, 0, 24-30

Wisconsin 9, 10, 3-7-0, 1-1, 0, 22-34

Penn State 8, 10, 3-7-0, 1-0, 0, 26-41

(Overall, W-L-T, .Pct, GF-GA)

Michigan 14-6-1, .690, 81-51; Minnesota 10-8-0, .556, 61-49; Ohio State 14-6-0, .700, 74-44; Notre Dame 13-6-0, .684, 64-36; Michigan State 11-8-1, .575, 48-50; Wisconsin 6-12-2, .350, 38-62; Penn State 11-8-0, .579, 65-58.

Tuesday, Dec. 28 schedule

Holiday Face-Off at Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin 3, Yale 2 (OT)

(Providence 6, Bowling Green 2)

Wednesday, Dec. 29 schedule

Great Lakes Invitational

Western Michigan 3, Michigan State 1

Michigan 0, Michigan Tech 0 (OT)

Holiday Face-Off at Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin 2, Providence 2 (OT), championship

(Bowling Green 2, Yale 1, consolation)

Thursday, Dec. 30 schedule

Great Lakes Invitational

Michigan State 3, Michigan 2 (OT)

Western Michigan at Michigan, canceled

Friday, Dec. 31 schedule

Ohio State 6, Long Island 0

Maine at Penn State, canceled

Saturday, Jan. 1 schedule

Niagara 3, Notre Dame 1

Ohio State 7, Long Island 2

Maine at Penn State, canceled

Sunday, Jan. 2 schedule

Notre Dame 5, Niagara 0