Spartans rally late to edge No. 3 Irish skaters, 3-2
No. 3 Notre Dame, which has made a habit of comeback hockey victories this season, saw Michigan State rally with two goals in the third period for a 3-2 Big Ten Conference victory before 5,902 at the Munn Arena in East Lansing, Mich.
Sam Saliba scored two goals, his second at 18:50 of the third period, and Logan Lambdin tallied the Spartans other goal a little over five minutes before to wipe out a 2-1 Irish lead built on a pair of power-play goals.
Senior center Mike O’Leary scored his sixth goal of the season for Notre Dame at 2:20 of the first period. Then after Saliba’s first goal at 13:17 of the second period tied the game, Irish defenseman Nick Leivermann scored his third goal of the season 18 seconds into the final period for a 2-1 Notre Dame. Colin Theisen had a pair of assists for Notre Dame.
But then Lambdin (13:48) and Saliba again beat Irish senior goalie Cale Morris, who turned away 26 other Michigan State shots. His opposition, MSU goalie John Lethemon, had 23 saves.
The victory by Danton Cole’s Spartans (6-5-1, 4-1-1-0 Big Ten) gave them four points on the weekend against Jeff Jackson’s Irish (8-2-2, 4-2-2-1 Big Ten). Notre Dame remained alone in second place in the Big Ten standings with 15 points, three behind first-place Penn State, which dropped a 4-3 decision at home to Ohio State Saturday night.
The Irish, who have been away from the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena since sweeping the Buckeyes with comeback victories Nov. 8-9, return home Friday night to host former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Bowling Green at 7 p.m. The teams then travel to Bowling Green Saturday night to conclude the series.
Notre Dame 1 0 1—2
Michigan State 0 1 2—3
First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Mike O’Leary 6 (Cam Morrison, Colin Theisen) PP 2:20. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2; Michigan State 1-2.
Second Period—Scoring: 2. Michigan State, Sam Saliba (2) EV 13:17. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 2-4 (3-6); Michigan State 3-6 (4-8).
Third Period—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Nick Leivermann 3 (Cal Burke, Colin Theisen) PP 0:18; 4. Michigan State, Logan Lambdin 4 (Josh Nodler) EV 13:48; 5. Michigan State, Sam Saliba 3 (Jerad Rosburg, Dennis Cesana) EV 18:50. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6); Michigan State 0-0 (4-8).
Power-play opportunities—Notre Dame 2 of 3; Michigan State 0 of 2.
Faceoffs won—Notre Dame 30; Michigan State 29.
Shots on goal—Notre Dame 25 (7-12-6); Michigan State 29 (11-10-8).
Goalie saves—Notre Dame, Cale Morris 26 (11-9-6); Michigan State, John Lethemon 23 (6-12-5)
Records—Notre Dame 8-2-2, 4-2-2-1 Big Ten; Michigan State 6-5-1, 4-1-1-0 Big Ten.