Morris frustrates Penn State again as N.D. hockey win streak reaches seven

Staff reports
ND Insider

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On a night in which he yielded four goals, junior goalie Cale Morris came up big late for Notre Dame’s hockey team on the road at Penn State on what turned out to be a historic Friday night for coach Jeff Jackson.

Morris stopped 44 other shots by the No. 9 Nittany Lions, 18 in the final period, and five different teammates scored goals before a sellout crowd of 6,061 at Pegula Ice Arena as the No. 5/6 Irish skated to a 5-4 Big Ten hockey victory. It was Notre Dame’s seventh straight victory and the 307th career victory for Jackson at Notre Dame, tying him with the late Lefty Smith for most hockey victories at the school.

In his 14th season behind the Irish bench, Jackson is 307-181-55. Smith, who coached 18 seasons at Notre Dame when the school resurrected its varsity program 51 seasons ago in 1968, retired with a 307-320-31 mark.

Friday night, the Nittany Lions outshot the Irish 48-24, including 13-2 in the first period, and Morris was forced to stop 12, 14 and 18 shots in the first, second and third periods, respectively.

The Irish, 11-4-1 overall and 5-2-0-0 in the Big Ten, are a point behind idle Ohio State in solo second place. Penn State fell to 10-5-1 overall and 2-4-1-1 in the Big Ten. The teams had a late game Saturday night.

Sophomore defenseman Matt Hellickson, whose goal tied the game at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes, added a pair of assists to finish with a career-high three points. Forwards Cam Morrison (1-1-2) and Dylan Malmquist (0-3-3) also had multi-point nights for the Irish, who got second-period goals from Morrison, Mike O’Leary and Andrew Peeke to take a 4-2 lead into the third period.

Sophomore Matt Steeves added what proved to be the game-winning goal at 7:59 of the final period. Eleven different Irish players tallied points.

Aarne Talvitie gave Penn State a 1-0 lead in the first period at 1:10 before Hellickson tied it a 3:55. After Morrison and O’Leary scored within 1:25 to give the Irish a 3-1 lead at 3:49 of the second period, Cole Hults scored for Penn State at 13:58. But Peeke answered with a power-play goal at 17:49 of the middle period. The Irish went 1-for-3 on the power play and Penn State went 0-for-4.

Steeves’ game-winning goal came between Penn State goals by Denis Smirnov and Nate Sucese in the final period.