Good opening weekend for Notre Dame hockey team

Staff reports
ND Insider

ERIE, Pa. — Everything is right again in Cale Morris’ goaltending world and that can only mean good things for the No. 2 Notre Dame hockey team.

A night after surrendering six goals in 65 minutes during a tied and eventual 1-0 shootout win against tournament host Mercyhurst, Morris stopped all 22 shots he faced as the Irish (1-0-1) blanked No. 4 Providence, 3-0, to win the 2018 Ice Breaker championship at the Erie Insurance Arena.

“This early in the season, you are always trying to work on your game and get better, especially with the young group we have,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “I was really excited with how we played tonight. I thought we did a much better job with the puck, got some timely scoring and got good goaltending. That’s how we win.”

Last season, Morris, a junior from Larkspur, Colo., earned All-America honors and won the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s outstanding goaltending while leading the Irish to an NCAA Frozen Four runner-up finish to Minnesota Duluth. Despite allowing six goals against the Lakers Friday night, Morris did make two stops in the shootout, won 1-0 on Bobby Nardella’s goal, that sent the Irish into the championship game against the 2-1 Friars, who advanced to a title game after a 4-0 victory over Miami (Ohio).

Providence goalie Haydin Hawkey, who earned the Friday shutout, and Morris kept the game scoreless into the second before junior defenseman Andrew Peeke’s power-play blast from the top of the faceoff circle bounced off Joe Wegwerth past Hawkey at 17:36. Dylan Malmquist also assisted.

The Irish made it 2-0 at 3:59 of the third period when Jack Jenkins’ centering feed was tipped into the net by Colin Theisen. Matt Steeves earned his first career assist on the play.

Nardella then scored his first goal of the season (shootout goals do not count in individual statistics) when he forced home a loose puck in front of the net on another Irish power-play conversion. Peeke assisted on the goal at 10:35.

Notre Dame has games Friday and Saturday at Nebraska Omaha.