Hockey: Scoring balance lifts Notre Dame to a 4-2 victory and sweep of Spartans

Tribune Staff Report

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Notre Dame’s scoring balance showed up Saturday night as three players each had a goal and an assist as the No. 11 Fighting Irish completed a sweep of Michigan State with a 4-2 Big Ten Hockey Conference victory at the Munn Ice Arena.

Fourth-liners Justin Janicke and Jack Adams scored the first two goals in the first period while assisting on each other’s goals as coach Jeff Jackson’s Irish improved to 23-9 overall and 15-7 in the Big Ten for 41 points. Senior defenseman Spencer Stastney also had a goal (his sixth, a season high) and an assist to back up a 27-save performance for graduate goalie Matthew Galajda.

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Notre Dame never trailed, opening a 3-0 early lead in the second period on grad Chase Blackmun’s second goal of the season. Stastney’s goal at 13:31 of the period against goalie Drew DeRidder came 68 seconds after Jeremy Davidson’s goal ended Galajda’s shutout bid. DeRidder also finished with 27 saves.

Erik Middendorf’s power-play goal with seven seconds remaining in the game closed out the scoring for coach Danton Cole’s Spartans, who lost their 12th straight game since their last victory on Dec. 30. Michigan State remained in seventh and last place in the Big Ten at 5-17-0 for 14 points and is now 11-20-1 overall.

“We played playoff hockey this weekend,” said Stastney, who now has career-highs of six goals and 18 assists for 24 points and making a good case for postseason honors. “It was a really gritty weekend, low-scoring games, getting pucks deep, not making mistakes. 

“Galajda was great,” Stastney added. “I know we’ve been going back-and-forth with two great goaltenders (Galajda and Ryan Bischel). It was really nice for him (Galajda) to play a solid weekend and keep trusting him back there.”

Stastney also saluted Janicke and Adams, who play on the fourth line with freshman Hunter Strand, who also had an assist Saturday night after scoring a goal and assist in Friday’s victory.

“They are all great character guys, great players,” Stastney said. “When they are scoring, it’s exciting for our team.”

Notre Dame’s six-point sweep lifted the Irish to within a point of third-place Ohio State, which had a late game at Michigan Saturday night. The Irish return home to host the second-ranked Wolverines in the last series of the regular season. Notre Dame then will host a first-round, best-of-three Big Ten playoff series March 4-6 against the Spartans, Penn State or Wisconsin.

Jackson was forced to juggle his lines Saturday night with senior center Graham Slaggert sitting out the game along with Michigan State’s Cole Krygier because of their third-period fight in Friday’s 2-1 Irish victory. Cam Burke took Slaggert’s place between Landon Slaggert and Trevor Janicke and the Irish managed to outshoot the Spartans 8-7 in the first period.

The only line that didn’t change was the fourth line and it produced both first-period goals for the Irish. Janicke, one of the youngest freshmen playing Division I hockey at 18 years and seven months, finished off a 2-on-1 break, taking a feed from Adams to beat DeRidder at 6:30. Stastney also got an assist on Janicke’s second goal of the season.

After killing off a tripping penalty called on Max Ellis at 12:05, the Irish made it 2-0 at 17:49 when Adams redirected a rebound past DeRidder for his third goal of the season. Justin Janicke and freshman center Hunter Strand got the assists.

The Irish went up 3-0 when Blackmun took a cross-ice pass from Jesse Lansdell, skated in and fired a 30-footer past DeRidder at 5:19 of the second period. The Spartans’ Davidson ended Galajda’s shutout bid when he directed a pass from Jesse Tucker home at 12:23.

But the Irish regained their three-goal lead 68 seconds later when Stastney scored his sixth goal of the season – and third against the Spartans this season – when his blast from the point went off a Michigan State defender and behind DeRidder at 13:31. Jake Pivonka and Ellis received assists on the goal which provided the Irish a 4-1 lead after two periods.

The Irish took three penalties in the third period, and the resulting power plays by the Spartans allowed them to have a 12-8 edge in shots. Michigan State scored the only goal of the period with Notre Dame’s Adam Karashik in the penalty box for holding when Erik Middendorf closed out the scoring at 19:53.

NOTRE DAME 4, MICHIGAN STATE 2

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

Notre Dame  | 2 | 2 | 0—4

Michigan State | 0 | 1 | 1—2 

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Justin Janicke 2 (Jack Adams, Spencer Stastney) EV 6:30. 2. Notre Dame, Jack Adams 3 (Justin Janicke, Hunter Strand) EV 17:49. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2, Michigan State 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Chase Blackmun 2 (Jesse Lansdell, Ryan Helliwell) EV 5:19. 4. Michigan State, Jeremy Davidson 11 (Jesse Tucker, Erik Middendorf) EV 12:23. 5. Notre Dame, Spencer Stastney 6 (Jake Pivonka, Max Ellis) EV 13:31. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4), Michigan State 2-4 (2-4).

Third Period—Scoring: 6. Michigan State, Erik Middendorf 11 (Dennis Cesana, Jesse Tucker) PP 19:53. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 3-6 (5-10), Michigan State 0-0 (2-4).

Shots on goal: Notre Dame 31 (8-15-8), Michigan State 29 (7-10-12).

Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Matthew Galajda 27 (7-9-11), Michigan State, Drew DeRidder 27 (6-13-8).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 0 of 2, Michigan State 1 of 5.

Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 27 (6-13-8), Michigan State 31 (7-15-9).

Blocked shots: Notre Dame 19 (3-5-11), Michigan State 8 (3-4-1).

Referees: David Marcotte and Kenny Anderson.

Linesmen: Christopher Libett and Justin Cornell.

Attendance: 6,068 (6,114).

Records: Notre Dame 23-9-0 overall, 15-7-0 Big Ten Conference for 41 points; Michigan State 11-20-1 overall, 5-17-0 Big Ten for 14 points.

BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Conference)

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

Michigan 51, 22, 16-6-0, 0, 0-3, 89-53

Minnesota 49, 22, 16-6-0, 0, 1-2, 77-50

Ohio State 42, 24, 13-9-2, 1, 1-1, 76-59

Notre Dame 41, 22, 15-7-0, 0, 5-1, 68-52

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

Penn State 17, 22, 5-16-1, 1, 1-1, 57-87

Michigan State 14, 22, 5-17-0, 0, 1-0, 45-81

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

Michigan 25-7-1, .773, 133-73; Minnesota 21-11-0, .656, 111-77; Ohio State 21-11-2, .647, 118-79; Notre Dame 23-9-0, .719, 111-68; Wisconsin 9-20-3, .328, 69-111; Penn State 14-17-1, .453, 101-107; Michigan State 11-20-1, .359, 69-101.

Friday, Feb. 18

Notre Dame 2, Michigan State 1

Minnesota 3, Penn State 1

Michigan 5, Ohio State 3

Saturday, Feb. 19

Notre Dame 4, Michigan State 2

Michigan 3, Ohio State 0

Minnesota 6, Penn State 4

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.