Hockey: Ellis’ game-winning OT goal lifts No. 13 Irish skaters past Penn State, 5-4

ND Insider Report
ND Insider
Notre Dame’s Max Ellis, shown in this Jan 3, 2020 file photo, scored the game winner in the final second Saturday night as the Irish won at Penn State.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson couldn’t have cast it any better with eight seconds remaining in the 3-on-3 overtime period at Penn State.

Jackson sent out his best faceoff man, senior center Jake Pivonka, and two of his fastest skaters in senior defenseman Spencer Stastney and junior right wing Max Ellis to see if the 13th-ranked Fighting Irish could steal another point from the Nittany Lions before 5,871 at the Pegula Ice Arena.

► Hockey: Bischel stands tall in net and Ellis scores twice in 4-2 Irish win at Penn State

► More:Center Cam Burke doing some of his best work on the road for Irish skaters

And that’s exactly what the Irish did — Pivonka won the faceoff back to Stastney who raced down ice and shot the puck at Penn State goalie Oskar Autio, who made the save. But the speedy Ellis jumped on the rebound and scored with just 0.2 of a second remaining to give Notre Dame a come-from-behind 5-4 victory which completed a five-point weekend for the Irish.

“It just worked out in our favor,” Jackson said after his Irish, who scored a 4-2 victory Friday night, rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second period to tie the game in the second period and then rallied once more on senior Cam Burke’s game-tying goal at 17:47 of the third period with goalie Matthew Galajda pulled for a sixth attacker.

“It was a heckuva game — a tough-fought game both ways, just like the whole weekend,” Jackson continued. “I’m not a fan of 3-on-3 hockey – it’s not really hockey. I’d imagine people would be up in arms if they did that in basketball. I’m not a big fan what they do in overtime in college football. But it is what it is.”

The Irish improve to 4-2 in overtime games this season and 3-1 in the Big Ten.

Saturday's victory should help Notre Dame in the Pairwise rankings which will ultimately determine with the Fighting Irish made a sixth straight trip to the postseason NCAA tournament.

The game-winner by the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Ellis was his third goal of the weekend — he had two in Friday’s victory and now has a team-leading 14 for the season as Notre Dame moved to 15-6-0 overall and 8-4-0 in the Big Ten, good for 22 points and third place behind first-place Minnesota (25 points) and second-place Michigan (23).

“Max has grown,” Jackson added. “He didn’t play as a freshman. Last year he took a step. This year he’s taken another. He’s gotten stronger physically. He’s come off a tough month.”

Ellis, who had a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime victory at Michigan that completed an overtime sweep of the top-ranked Wolverines Nov. 20, scored his last goal before this weekend during a 4-2 loss to Ohio State Dec. 3 in South Bend. The Irish travel to Columbus next Friday and Saturday night to play the Buckeyes.

Ellis was one of five Irish players who scored goals, led by senior defenseman Nick Leivermann, who added two assists. Burke and 6-foot-6 grad-transfer right wing Jack Adams each had a goal and an assist after junior left wing Solag Bakich opened the game’s scoring 1:36 into the contest with a rebound goal off grad-defenseman Adam Karashik’s shot from the point.

Grad-transfer goalie Matthew Galajda surrendered four goals – two by sophomore defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr. as Penn State took a 3-1 lead at 1:30 of the second period during a five-minute major penalty against Notre Dame’s Jesse Lansdell late in the first period. Galajda also surrendered goals to Kevin Wall (8:16 of the first period) and Clayton Phillips (18:20 of the second period) but finished with 35 saves, one more than Autio as the teams each peppered the other team’s goalie with 39 shots on goal.

With Pivonka, who missed the first 15 games of the season recovering from summer surgery for a torn Achilles tendon, going 16-11 on faceoffs, Notre Dame finished 39-25 in faceoff wins, another keep factor in the outcome against coach Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions, who fell to 12-10-0 overall and 3-9-0 in the Big Ten with nine points.

The Irish started strong, taking the first six shots of the game and scoring at 1:35 as on Bakich’s goal. But Penn State, which entered the weekend leading the nation in shots on goal per game with just over 38 a game, got goals from Wall and two from Dowd over the next 20 minutes to take a 3-1 lead early in the second period.

The Nittany Lions started the second period on a 14-0 shot run — they outshot the Irish 25-5 at one point — before the Irish got two shots from Janicke and Adams, whose shot got past Autio at 11:54 to make it 3-2. Leivermann made it 3-3 at 16:05 with his sixth of the season after he took a shot from behind the goal line that appeared to go off Autio. But Phillips gave Penn State a 4-3 lead going into the third period as Penn State had a 29-19 edge in shots.

But Jackson got the Irish turned around during the second-period intermission and Notre Dame outshot Penn State 15-9 in the third period. Burke tied it at 17:47 of the third period 25 seconds after Jackson pulled Galajda. Notre Dame then dominated the overtime 3-on-3, outshooting Penn State 5-1.

NOTRE DAME 5, PENN STATE 4 (OT)

At Pegula Ice Arena, University Park, Pennsylvania

Notre Dame 1 | 2 | 1 | 1 — 5

Penn State    2 | 2 | 0 | 0 — 4 

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Solag Bakich 4 (Adam Karashik, Cam Burke) EV 1:35. 2. Penn State, Kevin Wall 13 (Ben Copeland, Christian Berger) EV 8:16. 3. Penn State, Jimmy Dowd Jr. 2 (Tyler Paquette, Chase McLane) EV 13:41. Penalties: Notre Dame 3-17, Penn State 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 4. Penn State, Jimmy Dowd Jr. 3 (Ben Schoen, Connor MacEachern) PP 1:30. 5. Notre Dame, Jack Adams 2 (Justin Janicke, Nick Leivermann) EV 11:54. 6. Notre Dame, Nick Leivermann 6 (Grant Silianoff, Jack Adams) EV 16:05. 7. Penn State, Clayton Phillips 5 (Ben Copeland, Kevin Wall) EV 18:20. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2 (4-19), Penn State 0-0 (0-0).

Third Period—Scoring: 8. Notre Dame, Cam Burke 7 (Landon Slaggert, Nick Leivermann) EX 17:47. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (3-9), Penn State 0-0 (0-0).

Overtime—Scoring: 9. Notre Dame, Max Ellis 14 (Spencer Stastney, Jake Pivonka) 3-on-3 4:59. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (3-9), Penn State 0-0 (0-0).

Shots on goal: Notre Dame 39 (11-8-15-5), Penn State 39 (11-18-9-1). Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Matthew Galajda 35 (9-16-9-1); Penn State, Oskar Autio 34 (10-6-14-4).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 0 of 0, Penn State 1 of 4. Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 39 (10-12-15-2), Penn State 25 (10-7-7-1). Blocked shots: Notre Dame 13 (6-5-2-0), Penn State 10 (4-1-5-0).

Referees: Brett Sheva and Tom DellaFranco. Linesmen: Tommy George and Ryan Knapp. Attendance: 5,871 (6,014). Records: Notre Dame 15-6-0 (8-4-0 Big Ten for 22 points), Penn State 12-10-0 (3-9-0 Big Ten for 9 points).

BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Conference)

Pts | GP | W-L-T | OW-OL | SW | GF-GA

Minnesota 25 | 12 | 8-4-0 | 0-1 | 0 | 43-30

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

Notre Dame 22 | 12 | 8-4-0 | 3-1 | 0 | 38-28

Ohio State 21 | 11 | 7-4-0 | 0-0 | 0 | 37-27

Michigan State 14 | 12 | 5-7-0 | 1-0 | 0 | 28-40

Wisconsin 9 | 11 | 3-8-0 | 1-1 | 0 | 25-39

Penn State 9 | 12 | 3-9-0 | 1-2 | 0 | 32-50

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

Minnesota 12-8-0, .600, 71-53; Michigan 15-6-1, .705, 85-52; Notre Dame 15-6-0, .714, 73-42; Ohio State 15-6-0, .714, 79-47; Michigan State 11-10-1, .523, 52-60; Wisconsin 6-13-2, .333, 41-67; Penn State 12-10-0, .545, 76-70.

Friday, Jan. 7

Notre Dame 4, Penn State 2

Minnesota 4, Michigan State 1

Saturday, Jan. 8

Notre Dame 5, Penn State 4 (OT)

Minnesota 6, Michigan State 3

Ohio State 5, Wisconsin 3

Michigan 4, Massachusetts 1

Sunday, Jan. 9

Massachusetts at Michigan, 4 p.m.

Ohio State at Wisconsin, 5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 14

Notre Dame at Ohio State, 7 p.m.

Penn State at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.

Michigan State at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.

Alaska at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 15

Alaska at Minnesota, 6 p.m.

Penn State at Michigan, 7 p.m.

Notre Dame at Ohio State, 8 p.m.

Michigan State at Wisconsin, 9 p.m.