Hockey: Galajda, Leivermann lift No. 11 Notre Dame over Michigan State

Tribune Staff Report
Notre Dame's Matthew Galajda (35) makes a stop 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. Galajda make 36 saves in a win over Michigan State Friday night.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Graduate goaltender Matthew Galajda had 36 saves and senior defenseman Nick Leivermann had a pair of assists in his return to the lineup as No. 11 Notre Dame rallied for a 2-1 Big Ten Hockey Conference victory over Michigan State Friday night at the Munn Ice Arena.

Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish overcame a 1-0 deficit from a power-play goal by Michigan State’s Erik Middendorf at 17:11 of the first period to tie it at 1-1 with freshman Hunter Strand’s power-play goal at 5:13 in the second period. Sophomore Landon Slaggert scored the game-winner at 4:23 of the third period. 

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Leivermann, who missed the last six games for Notre Dame, assisted on both goals. Strand also picked up an assist on Slaggert’s game-winner. An apparent insurance goal by Trevor Janicke at 16:04 was waved off by the officials and it started a late scrum between the two teams that resulted in fighting major disqualifications for Graham Slaggert and MSU defenseman Cole Krygier. Both will miss Saturday’s series closer which begins at 7 p.m.

The victory improved Notre Dame to 22-9 overall and 14-7 in the Big Ten for 38 points, good for fourth place. The Irish, who drew within four points of third-place Ohio State, also saw their road record improve to 9-4. Notre Dame ends the regular season at home Feb. 25-26 against No. 2 Michigan and then will play host in a first-round, best-of-three playoff series March 4-6.

Michigan State goaltender Pierce Charleson, who like Galajda hails from Aurora, Ontario, finished with 20 saves as the Spartans outshot the banged-up Irish 37-22. But Notre Dame won the faceoff battle 28-21 to help Galajda, who won All-America honors at Cornell before graduating and coming to Notre Dame.

Coach Danton Cole’s Spartans fell to 11-19-1 overall and 5-16-0 in the Big Ten for 14 points. It was Michigan State’s 11th straight loss since a 3-2 overtime victory over Michigan Tech Dec. 30 on the second night of the Great Lakes Invitational. It also was the last time that graduate forward Mitchell Lewandowski played before taking the ice for the Spartans Friday night.

Leivermann’s return came on a night Jackson’s team was without injured defensemen Zack Plucinski and Charlie Raith. The Irish, who came in with an 8-4-0 record on the road, had some chances early, including Spencer Stastney’s breakaway opportunity which beat Charleson but not the pipe at 6:34.

The shots were even at the 10:01 media break at 6-6, but the Irish got their final shot at Charleson when he made a save on Jack Adams at 14:03. From that point on, the Spartans got the final seven shots at Galajda, six of those coming on Michigan State’s power-play opportunity at 15:22 when Jesse Lansdell went off for interference at 15:22.

 Notre Dame’s penalty-kill units, which entered the game leading the nation with a .927 percentage, were severely tested. Galajda made back-to-back saves on Jeremy Davidson 30 seconds into the penalty, and then he stopped three more shots by David Gucciardi, Erik Middendorf and Jesse Tucker within an eight-second span beginning at 16:56. But the Irish couldn’t get control of the puck and Middendorf gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead off assists from Lewandowski and Tucker. 

Michigan State tested Galajda four times in the first 3:14 of the second period, but the Irish goalie kept the Irish from dropping two goals behind. Then Adam Goodsir of Michigan State picked up a holding penalty at 3:55, giving the Irish a power play.

Defenseman Dennis Cesana tested Galajda at 4:28 to start it, but Charleson couldn’t stop Notre Dame’s first shot of the power play when Graham Slaggert and Leivermann set up Strand, who scored his seventh of the season at 5:13.

Michigan State got another power-play opportunity late when Solag Bakich was whistled for interference at 18:32, but the Spartans’ Davidson received a 10-minute misconduct. Michigan State just couldn’t solve Galajda, who had 26 saves after two periods.

The game-winning goal came at 4:23 of the third period when Landon Slaggert directed home a pass from Strand who got the puck from Leivermann.

Ice chips

Tickets for Notre Dame’s final regular-season series against Michigan Feb. 25-26 are on sale now as are tickets for the first-round Big Ten playoff series the Irish will host March 4-6 at the Compton Family Ice Arena if Notre Dame does not win the regular-season title and receive a first-round bye. They are available at www.UND.com/BuyTickets. The school also announced that food and beverages will be sold inside Compton beginning with the Michigan series, but face masks must still be worn when ticket holder is not eating or drinking. … Logan Cooley, a center from Pittsburgh and a leading scorer on the USNTDP Under-18 team who had given Notre Dame a verbal commitment, announced via Instagram Thursday that he was going to commit to Minnesota. Cooley, who has 20 goals and 56 points for the U-18 team, is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

NOTRE DAME 2, MICHIGAN STATE 1

At Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, Michigan

Notre Dame              0-1-1—2

Michigan State         1-0-0—1

First Period—Scoring: 1. Michigan State, Erik Middendorf 10 (Mitchell Lewandowski, Jesse Tucker) PP 17:11. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2, Michigan State 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Hunter Strand 7 (Nick Leivermann, Graham Slaggert) PP 5:14. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4), Michigan State 2-12 (2-12).

Third Period—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Landon Slaggert 10 (Hunter Strand, Nick Leivermann) EV 4:23. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 4-19 (6-23), Michigan State 5-21 (7-33).

Shots on goal: Notre Dame 22 (7-9-6), Michigan State 37 (13-14-10).

Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Matthew Galajda 36 (12-14-10), Michigan State, Pierce Charleson 20 (7-8-5).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 1 of 3, Michigan State 1 of 3.

Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 28 (8-10-10), Michigan State 21 (8-3-10).

Blocked shots: Notre Dame 11 (2-2-7), Michigan State 15 (4-4-7).

Referees: David Marcotte and Kenny Anderson.

Linesmen: Christopher Libett and Justin Cornell.

Attendance: 5,635 (6,114).

Records: Notre Dame 22-9-0 overall, 14-7-0 Big Ten Conference for 38 points; Michigan State 11-19-1 overall, 5-16-0 Big Ten for 14 points.

BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Conference)

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

Michigan 48, 21, 15-6-0, 0, 0-3, 86-53

Minnesota 46, 21, 15-6-0, 0, 1-2, 71-46

Ohio State 42, 23, 13-8-2, 1, 1-1, 76-56

Notre Dame 38, 21, 14-7-0, 0, 5-1, 64-51

Wisconsin 20, 22, 6-15-1, 0, 1-2, 53-83

Penn State 17, 21, 5-15-1, 1, 1-1, 53-81

Michigan State 14, 21, 5-16-0, 0, 1-0, 44-77

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

Michigan 24-7-1, .766, 130-73; Minnesota 20-11-0, .645, 105-73; Ohio State 21-10-2, .667, 118-76; Notre Dame 22-9-0, .710, 107-67; Wisconsin 9-20-3, .328, 69-111; Penn State 14-16-1, .468, 97-101; Michigan State 11-19-1, .371, 68-97.

Friday, Feb. 18

Notre Dame 2, Michigan State 1

Minnesota 3, Penn State 1

Michigan 5, Ohio State 3

Saturday, Feb. 19

Notre Dame at Michigan State, 7 p.m.

Minnesota at Penn State, 6 p.m.

Ohio State at Michigan, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 25

Michigan at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.

Penn State at Michigan State, 7 p.m.

Wisconsin at Minnesota, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 26

Michigan at Notre Dame, 6 p.m.

Penn State at Michigan State, 6 p.m.

Wisconsin at Minnesota, 8 p.m.