Hockey: Newcomers score first goals, Bischel gets second shutout as Irish sweep Lions
SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson must like the true grit his No. 12 Fighting Irish are showing in February as they jockey for home ice in the Big Ten Conference postseason playoff and a sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid.
Despite having three key players out of the lineup with injuries, two players scored their first goals in an Irish uniform, the Irish blocked 28 shots and junior goaltender Ryan Bischel made 35 saves for his second shutout as the Irish completed a regular-season sweep of Penn State with a 3-0 victory before 4,678 fans at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.
A night after Notre Dame had seven different players score goals in a 7-2 victory over the Nittany Lions, three other players provided the goals Saturday for the Irish, who won their third straight game to improve to 20-8-0 overall and move to 12-6-0 in the Big Ten, good for 32 points and fourth place.
With three series remaining in the regular season, the Irish remain fourth behind first-place Ohio State (42 points), second-place Michigan (39) and third-place Minnesota (37). The Irish hit the road the next two weeks, playing a Thursday-Friday series at Wisconsin before visiting Michigan State Feb. 18-19.
Freshman center Tyler Carpenter, skating in only his sixth game as a replacement for injured forward Solag Bakich, got credit for the game-winning goal with his first-period tally at 10:20. Bakich, a junior center, joined the Irish injury list which includes senior defenseman Nick Leivermann and senior center Cam Burke.
“Solag got hurt last night blocking a shot,” Jackson said. “Guys are paying the price, and that’s why they get hurt. You can accept that, especially if you have guys who can step in and take over. Tyler did a good job for us.”
Sophomore right wing Ryder Rolston set up Carpenter with a pass into the slot and the freshman beat goalie Oskar Autio between his legs. Grant Silianoff also received an assist on the goal.
“It’s always a positive when you put someone in the lineup and they step up,” Jackson said. “I thought Tyler played well. I was proud of the guys’ effort this weekend. Today we won ugly – not every game is going to be pretty. When you get into the playoffs, there are a lot of games like this.”
Junior Jesse Lansdell scored his sixth goal of the season at 10:16 of the second period to make it 2-0. Freshman center Hunter Strand set up Max Ellis for a shot, but it was deflected instead to Lansdell, who beat Autio to his short side.
Finally, grad-transfer (Connecticut) defenseman Adam Karashik got his first goal in an Irish uniform when he shot the puck three-quarters of the ice into an empty net at 17:36 after Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky had pulled Autio, who would finish with 25 saves, for a sixth attacker.
Bischel, who had 32 saves in Friday’s victory, saw his goals-against average improve to 1.93 with his second shutout of the season – his first came in a 5-0 non-conference victory over Niagara on Jan. 2. Bischel, now 10-4-0 along with grad-transfer (Cornell) Matthew Galajda, improved his saves percentage to .930.
“I’m proud of him (Bischel),” Jackson said. “He’s made a big step. I think he’s learned how to approach the game better mentally. He has a chance to be an exceptional college goalie. Matt has been pretty good, too, but I’ve kind of gone with the idea if someone wins, I’m going to come back with you.”
Bischel also got plenty of help from his teammates who blocked or deflected another 28 Penn State shots from getting to him. Defenseman Zach Plucinski had a team-high six blocks, one more than Karashik, who now has a team-high 61 this season.
Penn State fell to 14-15-1 overall. It was its fourth straight loss to Notre Dame this season – the Irish won a pair of games last month in University Park, one in overtime. The Nittany Lions are now 5-14-1 in the Big Ten for 17 points and a fifth-place tie with Wisconsin.
NOTRE DAME 3, PENN STATE 0
At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
Penn State | 0 | 0 | 0—0
Notre Dame | 1 | 1 | 1—3
First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Tyler Carpenter 1 (Ryder Rolston, Grant Silianoff) EV 10:20. Penalties: Penn State 1-2, Notre Dame 1-2.
Second Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Jesse Lansdell 6 (Max Ellis, Hunter Strand) EV 10:16. Penalties (total): Penn State 1-2 (2-4), Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4).
Third Period—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Adam Karashik 1 (unassisted) EN 17:36. Penalties (total): Penn State 0-0 (2-4), Notre Dame 0-0 (1-2).
Shots on goal: Penn State 35 (9-16-10), Notre Dame 28 (11-9-8). Goalie saves: Penn State, Oskar Autio 25 (10-8-7), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 35 (9-16-10).
Power-play opportunities: Penn State 0 of 0, Notre Dame 0 of 0. Faceoffs won: Penn State 31 (6-13-12), Notre Dame 37 (8-14-15). Blocked shots: Penn State 11 (6-4-1), Notre Dame 28 (8-13-7).
Referees: David Marcotte and Brett Sheva. Linesmen: Mike Daltrey and Jonathan Sladek. Attendance: 4,678 (5,022).
Records: Notre Dame 20-8-0 overall, 12-6-0 for 32 points in Big Ten (fourth place); Penn State 14-15-1 overall, 5-14-1 for 17 points in Big Ten (fifth place).
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Pts, GP, W-L-T, SOW, OW-OL, GF-GA
Ohio State 42, 20, 13-5-2, 1, 1-1, 70-43
Michigan 39, 18, 12-6-0, 0, 0-3, 68-45
Minnesota 37, 18, 12-6-0, 0, 1-2, 60-42
Notre Dame 32, 18, 12-6-0, 0, 5-1, 56-43
Penn State 17, 20, 5-14-1, 1, 1-1, 52-78
Wisconsin 17, 20, 5-14-1, 0, 1-2, 46-77
Michigan State 14, 18, 5-13-0, 0, 1-0, 38-62
(Overall, W-L-T, .Pct, GF-GA)
Ohio State 21-7-2, .733, 112-63; Michigan 21-7-1, .741, 112-65; Minnesota 17-11-0, .607, 94-69; Notre Dame 20-8-0, .714, 99-59; Penn State 14-15-1, .483, 96-98; Wisconsin 8-19-3, .317, 62-105; Michigan State 11-16-1, .411, 62-82.
Friday, Feb. 4 schedule
Notre Dame 7, Penn State 2
Ohio State 4, Wisconsin 3 (OT)
Minnesota 4, Michigan State 2
Saturday, Feb. 5 schedule
Notre Dame 3, Penn State 0
Ohio State 6, Wisconsin 2
Minnesota 3, Michigan State 1
Thursday, Feb. 10
Notre Dame at Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 11
Notre Dame at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 12
Minnesota at Ohio State, 6 p.m.
Michigan vs. Michigan State at Detroit, 7 p.m.