Well-rested Cal Petersen shuts out Alaska for Notre Dame hockey

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — Cal Petersen listened to his body over Christmas break.

Notre Dame's junior goaltender has started every game this year, and played nearly every minute for the Irish, so once he got some time off to head home with family, he took advantage.

In return, the 12th-ranked Irish saw what a rested and ready Petersen can do, Saturday night.

Petersen turned in a season-high 34 saves while recording his third shutout of the season and eighth of his career in a 5-0 win over Alaska to close out 2016.

So what did Petersen do during his time off?

"Really, nothing," Petersen said. "I kept my gear here, went home for about for about a week and a half, and kind of really rested my body."

Well, not nothing, but close to it. Petersen got a few light workouts in to stay in shape, but the key was staying off the ice.

"He's a diligent kid," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. "He probably didn't lay around the whole time eating cookies and cake."

Jordan Gross had three assists, and both Cam Morrison and Anders Bjork had a goal and an assist for Notre Dame (10-6-2), which will face former CCHA rival Alaska (6-13-2) again Sunday at 2:05.

Coming off a big win at home over No. 3 Boston College just before their break, the Irish were sharp from the get-go.

Just over a minute into the game, Bjork dropped a pass to Dylan Malmquist, and Malmquist weaved his way along the goal line before slipping in his fourth goal of the season under Alaska goalie Davis Jones for a 1-0 lead.

"The first goal is something that we're really going to push in the second half," Petersen said. "For us to establish the lead right away was big for the confidence of everybody."

Petersen did his part in the first period with two big left-pad saves on separate Nanook power plays.

"He needed to be good, it's not like they didn't have chances," Jackson said. "We were a little sluggish early and back on our heels a little bit in the first period."

With 3:50 left in the first, the Irish caught a break when Colin Leiter appeared to tie the game with a shot that rattled around the upper left corner, but the goal was waved off after replay revealed it hit the post, then the cross bar, and dropped straight down but never actually went in.

The Irish luck showed up again in the second period when a Gross pass ricocheted up off the glass behind the Alaska net and landed right in front of Jones, where Morrison was waiting to swat it in.

Andrew Oglevie made it 3-0 three minutes later when he redirected a pretty feed from Bobby Nardella for a power play goal, his ninth of the season.

The Irish penalty kill, headed up by Petersen in net, ended any chance of Alaska getting into the game when they shut down a third-period 5-on-3. Five minutes later, Cal Burke scored his first Notre Dame goal on a blistering slap shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1 break.

Bjork, who is riding a four-game point scoring streak, added his team-best 14th goal on the power play late in the game for the final margin.

"The biggest thing is how we respond (today)," Petersen said. "As long as we progress each game down the stretch and play our best hockey by the time playoffs roll around, I think we'll be in good shape."

FIRST PERIOD

ND - Dylan Malmquist, 4 (Anders Bjork, Jordan Gross) 1:24. Shots on goal: UAF 11, ND 10; Penalties: ND 2-4, AK 1-2.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Cam Morrison, 5 (Gross, Dennis Gilbert) 4:21; ND - Andrew Oglevie, 9 (Bobby Nardella, Jake Evans) PP, 7:09. Shots: ND 18, UAF 10; Penalties: UAF 2-4, ND 1-2.

THIRD PERIOD

ND - Cal Burke, 1 (Morrison) 14:24; ND - Bjork, 14 (Gross, Dennis Gilbert) PP, 18:49. Shots: UAF 13, ND 10; Penalties: ND 3-6, UAF 3-6.

UAF 0 0 0 - 0

ND 1 2 2 - 5

Shots: ND 38, UAF 34; Saves: ND 34 (Cal Petersen), UAF 33 (Davis Jones); Power plays: ND 2-5, UAF 0-4; Penalties: ND 6-12, UAF 6-12; Attendance: 4,149.

Notre Dame's Cal Petersen defends the goal against Alaska, Saturday, December 31, 2016 in South Bend. Tribune Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ