Slaggert’s goal late in third period helps Irish to 4-2 win at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Graham Slaggert made his father, Notre Dame associate head coach Andy, a proud papa Saturday night as Notre Dame’s hockey team stunned No. 8 Penn State to move within a point of the Big Ten hockey lead.
The sophomore left wing beat Penn State goalie Peyton Jones at 15:00 of the third period and the Fighting Irish later added an empty-net goal by defenseman Tory Dello four minutes later to beat the Nittany Lions, 4-2.
The victory lifted the Irish (12-11-5, 7-7-4-3 Big Ten) within a point of the Nittany Lions (17-9-2, 9-7-2-0 Big Ten) for the Big Ten lead, tying Notre Dame with idle Michigan State at 28 points. Ohio State, which was playing at Michigan when The Tribune went to press, could tie Penn State with a victory.
Slaggert’s game-winner, his fifth goal of the season, came after fellow sophomore Spencer Stastney broke him in with a nifty pass. It was the defenseman Stastney’s fifth assist in the last two weekends.
Seniors Cam Morrison (shorthanded) and Cal Burke scored first-period goals for the Irish, who outskated and outshot the Nittany Lions 34-25, including 15-10 in the final 20 minutes and 14-5 over the final 15 minutes.
Cale Morris, who made 45 saves in Friday’s 3-3 overtime tie, finished with 23 saves for the Irish, who forced Jones to make 30. Alex Limoges and Nikita Pavlychev scored for the Nittany Lions.
The Fighting Irish take next weekend off before returning to host Minnesota on the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday, Feb. 14 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 15 (6 p.m.).
The Irish came out flying, something the Nittany Lions generally do against opponents at the Pegula Ice Arena where a sellout crowd of 6,475 gathered for a hockey “White Out” night.
Notre Dame has struggled this season on the penalty kill, entering the series 57th (out of 60) in Division I. But after killing off three penalties in Friday’s 3-3 overtime tie, the Irish got offensive on the Nittany Lions’ first power-play opportunity when Morrison chased down a loose puck and beat Jones between his legs for Notre Dame’s first shorthanded goal of the season at 6:39.
The Irish then made it 2-0 with the teams at full strength when captain Cal Burke used his speed to elude a couple of Nittany Lions and then beat Jones from in close at 13:26. Jake Pivonka and Tory Dello received assists.
Penn State cut the lead in half at 9:23 of the second period when Limoges received a pass from Evan Barratt and beat Morris under the crossbar.
The Nittany Lions then got a power-play opportunity when Jesse Lansdell of Notre Dame went off for interference at 11:03. Barratt and Limoges each tested Morris, and Folkes had a pair of shots blocked by defensemen Matt Hellickson and Dello.
Penn State got its third power-play chance at 2:17 of the third period when Notre Dame defenseman Charlie Raith went off for hooking. Sam Sternschein had three scoring chances, but Morris made saves on all three.
The Nittany Lions tied it up at 6:10 when 6-foot-7 center Pavlychev beat Morris to the back door.
But the Irish kept coming. In the 12th minute, Pivonka, Theisen and Dello all had shots turned aside by Jones. Then Theisen had another at 13:47.
Finally, Stastney broke Slaggert in and he beat Jones at 15:00, and Dello’s empty-netter, his second in two weekends, completed a five-point weekend for the Irish.
NOTRE DAME 4, PENN STATE 2
At Pegula Ice Arena, State College, Pa.
First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Cam Morrison 7 (unassisted) SH 6:39. 2. Notre Dame, Cal Burke 7 (Jake Pivonka, Tory Dello) EV 13:26. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2, Penn State 2-4.
Second Period—Scoring: 3. Penn State, Alex Limoges 9 (Evan Barratt, Liam Folkes) EV 9:23. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4), Penn State 0-0 (2-4).
Third Period—Scoring: 4. Penn State, Nikita Pavlychev 6 (Paul DeNaples 5, Brandon Biro) EV 6:10. 5. Notre Dame, Graham Slaggert 5 (Spencer Stastney) EV 15:00. 6. Notre Dame, Tory Dello 2 (unassisted) EV EN 19:00. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (3-6), Penn State 0-0 (2-4).
Power-play opportunities—Notre Dame 0 of 2, Penn State 0 of 3.
Faceoffs won—Notre Dame 25 (5-12-8), Penn State 32 (16-6-10).
Blocked shots—Notre Dame 9 (2-3-4), Penn State 10 (5-4-1).
Shots on goal—Notre Dame 34 (13-6-15), Penn State 25 (8-7-10).
Goalie saves—Notre Dame, Cale Morris 23 (8-6-9), Penn State, Peyton Jones 30 (11-6-13).
Records—Notre Dame 12-11-5 (7-7-4-3 Big Ten), Penn State 17-9-2 (9-7-2-0 Big Ten).