Hockey: Landon Slaggert’s OT goal leads No. 11 Irish over No. 10 Gophers, 3-2

By John Fineran
ND Insider
Notre Dame left wing Landon Slaggert (19) and Minnesota left defenseman Carl Fish reach for the puck in the third period at the Compton Family Ice Arena Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — A night after it hardly showed up against No. 10 Minnesota, the No. 11 Notre Dame hockey team came ready to play in the first and overtime periods Saturday night in an important Big Ten Conference game.

Sophomore Landon Slaggert batted home his own rebound 32 seconds into overtime off feeds from senior brother Graham and senior defenseman Spencer Stastney and the Fighting Irish survived a sluggish second period to beat the Golden Gophers 3-2 before 4,632 at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

“It was embarrassing last night,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said of Friday’s 5-1 loss to coach Bob Motzko’s Gophers, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second period by taking advantage of Irish turnovers that led to several odd-man Minnesota rushes. “If we want to have success at the end of the year, we have to learn how to play against teams of this caliber. I thought last night for sure and even tonight in the second period, our puck management wasn’t good. If you don’t handle the puck well, they (the Gophers) are going to come after you.”

► More:No. 10 Gophers start quickly in 5-1 hockey victory over No. 11 Irish

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The Irish, who improved to 18-8 overall and remained in fourth place in the Big Ten with their 10-6-0 record and 26 points, didn’t need a reminder from their coach as to what needed to get done against the Gophers, who fell to 15-11 but picked up a point with the regulation tie and now have 31 points with their 10-6-0 league mark. 

It was Notre Dame’s fifth victory in seven overtime games this season, and the victory also ended Notre Dame’s five-game losing streak to the Gophers over two seasons.

“After our play last night and our first series (in October in Minneapolis when the Gophers swept the Irish by scores of 4-1 and 3-2), we felt like we owed them,” said Slaggert, a two-time member of the USA World Junior team and the son of long-time Notre Dame assistant coach Andy Slaggert. “Coach Motzko does a great job with them. In the past, he’s described our meetings with them as rock fights. They always seem to give their best when we play them, and we try to do the same.”

Jackson sent out the Slaggert brothers with Stastney, who has been hot lately and was again Saturday with his assists on Notre Dame’s first and overtime goals. Stastney started the game-winning play when he blocked a shot by Minnesota’s Blake McLaughlin 17 seconds into the 3-on-3, five-minute period, and then chased down the puck behind the Irish net before getting it up along the defensive board to Graham Slaggert. 

Graham Slaggert then slipped a pass to his brother Landon breaking down the ice past Minnesota defenseman Jackson LaCombe, and he got off an initial shot that junior goalie Justen Close saved. But the rebound came right back to Landon Slaggert, who deposited it into the vacated net 32 seconds into the extra frame. 

Notre Dame's Trevor Janicke (27) celebrates scoring during the Notre Dame vs. Boston College NCAA men's hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend.

The winning goal completed two-point nights for both Slaggerts and also Stastney, who actually started the play which led to junior right wing Trevor Janicke’s 10th goal of the season at 16:45 of the first period that gave the Irish a 2-0 lead. Stastney, who set up Max Ellis’ 15th goal of the season at 4:30 of the first period with Cam Burke receiving the other helper on the score, this time passed the puck to Graham Slaggert going into the Minnesota zone, and Graham found Landon in the right faceoff circle before he found Janicke breaking toward Close all alone in the left faceoff circle for the 2-0 lead.

Center Ben Meyers cut the lead in half when he beat Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel at 1:27 of the second period. But the junior from Medina, Minnesota was brilliant over the rest of the period, making 12 saves as his teammates could manage just three shots, two of them in the final two minutes. Bischel was helpless on the tying goal by Minnesota’s Bryce Brodzinski at 1:23 of the third period but he stopped five other shots to finish with 24 saves, four more than Close.

“Ryan did everything we needed him to do,” Jackson said. “You don’t win without solid goaltending, especially against a team that has those weapons.”

Landon Slaggert credited Bischel for keeping the Irish in the game during their sluggish second period, and then Stastney, who took over the scoring lead among defensemen with 19 points, one more than the injured Leivermann, who missed a second straight game with an unknown injury. 

“Ryan was incredible for us; he’s been a backbone for us in many games,” Slaggert added. “Spencer is a special player and I think it goes unnoticed at times. But he can make some plays out there, and it’s awesome being able to play with him.”

Stastney also had three of the 17 blocked shots recorded by the Irish, who were led by grad defenseman and captain Adam Karashik’s six.

“The guys are playing great in front of me,” Bischel said. “We persevered.”

Notre Dame plays host to Penn State next Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (6 p.m.) and concludes its regular season with three other Big Ten series at Wisconsin (Feb. 10-11), at Michigan State (Feb. 18-19) and home against Michigan (Feb. 25-26).

NOTRE DAME 3, MINNESOTA 2 (OT)

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

Minnesota 0 | 1 | 1 | 0—2

Notre Dame  2 | 0 | 0 | 1—3  

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Max Ellis 15 (Spencer Stastney, Cam Burke) EV 4:30. 2. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 10 (Landon Slaggert, Graham Slaggert) EV 16:45. Penalties: Minnesota 3-6, Notre Dame 2-4.

Second Period—Scoring: 3. Minnesota, Ben Meyers 11 (Jackson LaCombe, Matthew Knies) EV 1:27. Penalties (total): Minnesota 1-2 (4-8), Notre Dame 1-2 (3-6).

Third Period—Scoring: 4. Minnesota, Bryce Brodzinski 11 (Ryan Johnson, Mike Koster) EV 1:23. Penalties (total): Minnesota 0-0 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).

Overtime—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Landon Slaggert (Graham Slaggert, Spencer Stastney) EV (3 on 3) 0:32 Penalties (total): Minnesota 0-0 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).

Shots on goal: Minnesota 26 (8-12-6-0), Notre Dame 23 (9-3-9-2).

Goalie saves: Minnesota, Justen Close 20 (7-3-9-1), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 24 (8-11-5-0).

Power-play opportunities: Minnesota 0 of 3, Notre Dame 0 of 4.

Faceoffs won: Minnesota 23 (9-7-6-1), Notre Dame 28 (14-9-5-0).

Blocked shots: Minnesota 9 (4-1-4-0), Notre Dame 17 (6-4-6-1).

Referees: Jonathon Sitarski and Barry Pochmara. Linesmen: Justin Cornell and Mike Daltrey. Attendance: 4,632 (5,022).

Records: Minnesota 15-11-0, 10-6-0 Big Ten for 31 points; Notre Dame 18-8-0, 10-6-0 Big Ten for 26 points.