Flurry of goals carries Notre Dame hockey

Steve Lowe Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Blink and you might have missed it.

In less time than it would have taken for one of the 4,000-plus fans at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon to go grab a box of popcorn from the concession stand, Notre Dame turned a tight, scoreless hockey game into a laugher.

Covering a span of just 1:36 in the second period, the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish scored three quick goals, then added another before the period was done. That was all they needed to come away with a 4-0 win and weekend sweep of visiting Alaska, Notre Dame's fourth win in a row.

"We've been a really good second period team this year," said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. "It was real positive to see some momentum goals."

Jordan Gross and Anders Bjork each had a goal and an assist for the Irish (11-6-2). Bjork now has a five game scoring streak with five goals and four assists for nine points in that stretch.

Goaltender Cal Petersen had 21 saves for his second straight shutout, after stopping 34 shots in Saturday's 5-0 blowout of the Nanooks (6-14-2). Petersen didn't have to work quite as hard in this one, but still needed to make some big saves in the third period to secure his fourth shutout of the season and ninth of his career.

"He was really good this weekend," Jackson said. "He made the saves he had to make, and then he made a few really good ones. He earned those shutouts."

The Irish explosion began with 3:11 left in the second period when Joe Wegwerth went coast-to-coast and found Jack Jenkins from behind the Alaska net with a wraparound pass, which Jenkins converted into his second goal of the season.

Just over a minute later, Gross sent a long cross-ice pass to Bjork, who scored his 14th of the season on the breakaway. He also drew a penalty on the play, which Gross quickly converted into a power play goal, and the Irish were suddenly up 3-0 in just over a minute and a half.

They weren't done in the second period yet, either. Alaska's Colton Leiter was assessed a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct after a high hit from behind on Bobby Nardella. Jake Evans made it 4-0 when his pass from just below the goal line deflected in off Nanook defenseman Justin Woods' stick.

The Irish have owned the second period of late, scoring 10 goals in that frame during their four-game win streak.

"I hate to say this, but part of it is, we haven't been very sharp in the first period," Jackson said. "But getting the first goal is the key, so if it happens in the second, I'm good with that."

With a big lead, the Irish let up a bit in the third period, but Petersen made two key pad stops while sliding to his right to keep the 'Nooks off the board.

"He's been unbelievable," Gross said of Petersen. "I think the D could do a little better job in front of him so he doesn't have to look quite as good, but yeah, he's played very well."

Blueline bits

Center Connor Hurley was a scratch for the second day in a row after suffering an undisclosed injury during Saturday's morning skate ... Notre Dame's power play went 4-for-10 on the weekend, while the penalty kill was 9-for-9 ... The Irish are 11-3-1 when Bjork records a point, and 8-0-0 when leading after two periods.

FIRST PERIOD

No scoring. Shots on goal: ND 10, UAF 4; Penalties: UAF 2-4, ND 1-2.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Jack Jenkins, 2 (Joe Wegwerth) 3:11; ND - Anders Bjork, 14 (Jordan Gross, Dylan Malmquist) 4:15; ND - Gross, 5 (Bjork, Malmquist) PP, 4:47; ND - Jake Evans, 6 (Andrew Oglevie, Andrew Peeke) PP, 11:35. Shots: ND 18, UAF 5; Penalties: UAF 3-17, ND 3-6.

THIRD PERIOD

No scoring. Shots: UAF 12, ND 8; Penalties: ND 1-2, UAF 0.

UAF 0 0 0 - 0

ND 0 4 0 - 4

Shots: ND 36, UAF 21; Saves: UAF 32 (Jesse Jenks), ND 21 (Cal Petersen); Power plays: ND 2-5, UAF 0-5; Penalties: UAF 5-21, ND 5-10; Attendance: 4,023.

Notre Dame hockey player Jordan Gross. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame)