Notre Dame skaters turn back Minnesota

John Fineran Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND – If there is a goalie in college hockey playing better than Notre Dame sophomore Cale Morris, Irish coach Jeff Jackson might want you to point him out.

Morris recorded his third 1-0 shutout in as many weeks, stopping 44 Minnesota shots Friday night as fourth-ranked Notre Dame remained unbeaten in its first Big Ten season at 5-0 with its eighth straight victory of the season before a crowd of 4,931 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The Irish (11-3-1, 5-0-0-0 Big Ten) and sixth-ranked Golden Gophers (9-5-1, 3-3-1-1 Big Ten) meet again tonight at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton.

Morris, a sophomore from Larkspur, Colo., who saw limited action last season spelling All-American Cal Petersen, has backstopped the Irish in all eight victories, making 269 saves in 280 over the period. He had 15 saves in the final period as the Irish killed off their 21st and 22nd straight enemy power plays in the final period.

Junior forward Andrew Oglevie scored the game’s only goal at 1:42 of the second period on a power play for Notre Dame, which killed off four Minnesota power plays.

Morris, who has been the Big Ten Three Stars No. 1 performer the last two weekends for his part in Notre Dame’s sweep of Penn State and Rensselaer, showed why in the first period as the Golden Gophers came out flying and had a 17-6 advantage in shots in the scoreless period.

The game was just 18 seconds old when Irish defenseman – and Minnesota native – Matt Hellickson was whistled for hooking. Morris stopped five shots in the two-minute kill – Notre Dame’s 19th straight penalty kill since the Penn State series – and the Irish even had a breakaway, though Oglevie shot it high and wide of Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn, who went more than eight minutes without seeing an Irish shot on goal.

Schierhorn’s only moments of concern came when the Gophers were killing off a penalty with 5:18 remaining. He stopped Oglevie, Cam Morrison and Jordan Gross early in the kill.

The Irish got the first power-play of the second period and took advantage to take a 1-0 lead with 1:42 gone. Gross and fellow defenseman Bobby Nardella set up Oglevie in the deep slot and his shot floated toward Morrison, who was screening Schierhorn. The Gopher goalie went to push Morrison out of his view and the puck ended up going behind him. Minnesota protested the puck was directed in by a high stick but replays ruled otherwise.

The Irish started the period with a 5-2 advantage thanks to the power play and finished with 12 shots, the same as the Gophers. Morris had 29 saves through the first 40 minutes.

Schierhorn finished with 22 saves for Minnesota, which outshot the Irish 15-5 in the third period and 44-23 for the game.