O’Leary and Notre Dame stay hot, top Lake Superior State

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — On a night All-America goalie Cale Morris allowed an uncharacteristic four goals in his season debut, Notre Dame’s unbeaten hockey team kept up its early-season offensive surge.

Red-hot center Mike O’Leary scored two goals with an assist for the second night in a row, linemates Cal Burke and Colin Theisen contributed a goal and four assists and defenseman Spencer Stastney had a goal and two assists for a 6-4 Irish victory before 4,178 at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

“Mike’s decided he’s going to play at a high, high level,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said of his senior center. “I’m proud of him.”

Morris, who sat out the first two games with an upper-body injury and watched freshman Ryan Bischel play well in Friday’s 5-2 victory, made 29 saves.

“He needed to play this game to get back into his timing,” Jackson said. “I wanted to get him into a game before we headed to Minnesota.”

The No. 4 Fighting Irish (4-0-0) open Big Ten play at Minnesota next Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Lakers (2-6-0) bookended a pair of Irish goals that came 16 seconds apart late in the period to go to the locker room tied 2-2 after one.

After Conner Saccoman scored 9:42 in the period to put the Lakes up 1-0, the Irish converted on their third power-play opportunity of the period at 18:16 when Burke scored his fourth by jamming O’Leary’s cross-ice feed past Roman Bengert. Then at 18:32, Trevor Janicke rebounded home a shot by Spencer Stastney and the Irish were up 2-1.

But the lead lasted just 31 seconds as Yuki Miura beat Morris from the slot at 19:03 to tie the game despite Notre Dame’s 18-6 edge in shots.

Stastney made it 3-2 Irish 58 seconds into the second period when he and defensive partner Nate Clurman played give-and-go, with Clurman returning the feed to Stastney in the right faceoff circle for a quick wrister that beat Bengert.

The Lakers tied it when Saccoman scored his second goal, this on a power play, at 7:56. But Jake Pivonka gave the Irish a 4-3 second-period lead when he scored from in close after feeds from Stastney and Janicke at 11:21.

O’Leary made it 5-3 at 8:30 of the third with Notre Dame’s second power-play goal of the night when he dove to knock home a puck in the crease after Theisen’s slapshot. He added his second goal of the game at 14:31 to make it 6-3.

Will Riedell cut the lead back to two goals at 15:51, but the Lakers would get no closer.

Lake Superior;2;1;1—4

Notre Dame;2;2;2—6

First Period—Scoring: 1. Lake Superior, Collin Saccoman 2 (Alex Ambrosio) EV 9:42; 2. Notre Dame, Cal Burke 4 (Mike O’Leary, Matt Hellickson) PP 18:16; 3. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 1 (Spencer Stastney, Jake Pivonka) EV 18:32; 4. Lake Superior, Yuki Miura 2 (Tyler Anderson, Hampus Eriksson) EV 19:03. Penalties: Lake Superior 3-6, Notre Dame 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Spencer Stastney 1 (Nate Clurman, Alex Steeves) EV 0:58; 6. Lake Superior, Collin Saccoman 3 (Louis Boudon, Pete Veillette) PP 7:56; 7. Notre Dame, Jake Pivonka 2 (Spencer Stastney, Trevor Janicke) EV 11:21. Penalties (total): Lake Superior 2-4 (5-10), Notre Dame 2-4 (2-4).

Third Period—Scoring: 8. Notre Dame, Mike O’Leary 3 (Colin Theisen, Cal Burke) PP 8:30; 9. Notre Dame, Mike O’Leary 4 (Colin Theisen, Cal Burke) EV 14:31; 10. Lake Superior, Will Riedell 2 (Alex Ambrosio, Miroslav Mucha) EV 15:51. Penalties (total): Lake Superior 1-2 (6-12), Notre Dame 3-6 (5-10).

Power-play opportunities—Lake Superior 1 of 5; Notre Dame 2 of 6.

Faceoffs won—Lake Superior 31 (10-12-9); Notre Dame 42 (17-12-13).

Blocked shots—Lake Superior 10 (5-3-2); Notre Dame 18 (3-1-14).

Shots on goal—Lake Superior 33 (8-11-14); Notre Dame 30 (16-10-4).

Goalie saves—Lake Superior, Roman Bengert 24 (14-8-2); Notre Dame, Cale Morris 29 (6-10-13).

Records—Lake Superior 2-6-0, Notre Dame 4-0-0.

A—4,178.

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