Irish skaters fall 2-0 to Wisconsin in season opener

Tribune Staff Report
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Wisconsin goaltender Robbie Beydoun stopped 25 shots as the Badgers beat No. 20 Notre Dame 2-0 in the Big Ten Hockey Conference season opener Friday night at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Senior left wing Linus Weissbach had the game’s opening goal at 13:05 of the first period and then assisted on sophomore center Dylan Holloway’s power-play goal from the slot at 12:09 of the second period for the Badgers.

“We did some things well,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said afterward. “I was happy with our play in the third period. I thought we were tentative a bit at times in earlier parts of the game. We don’t want to turn pucks over like we did tonight. The biggest thing was we didn’t generate any possession through the neutral zone.”

Beydoun, a graduate transfer from Michigan Tech, stopped nine Irish shots in the second period and 10 more in the third period to gain the shutout and outduel Notre Dame redshirt senior goaltender Dylan St. Cyr, who stopped 20 of the 22 shots he saw from the Badgers. It was St. Cyr’s 10th career start for Notre Dame and first since Feb. 16, 2019 when he beat the Badgers 5-2 in South Bend.

The teams concluded their series Saturday night. at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the NHL Network and also available digitally on NBCSports.com.

The Irish had their chances but couldn’t solve Beydoun. Freshman left wing Grant Silianoff hit the crossbar twice down the stretch. He played on a line with classmates Landon Slaggert and Ryder Rolston. Another freshman making his debut was defenseman Zach Plucinski. Meanwhile, junior Cam Burke, a forward his first two seasons, made his collegiate debut on defense for Notre Dame.

Silianoff and junior center Jake Pivonka each had four shots for the Irish.

“As the game went on it started feeling normal again,” added Jackson, whose team and the rest of college hockey haven’t played since early March when COVID-19 shut down collegiate athletics. “The number one thing is to make sure we keep our athletes safe and healthy.

“I can tell you to a man that every kid on both teams was probably very anxious to play hockey again,” Jackson continued. “We can’t live our lives in our basements or our caves. We have to live our lives. We have to pray that we can all stay healthy through this process and have a chance to play hockey at the same time.”

Wisconsin 1 1 0—2

Notre Dame 0 0 0—0

First Period—Scoring: 1. Wisconsin, Linus Weissbach 1 (Ty Pelton-Byce, Cole Caufield) EV 13:05. Penalties: Wisconsin 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 2. Wisconsin, Dylan Holloway 1 (Linus Weissbach, Roman Ahcan) PP 12:09. Penalties (total): Wisconsin 1-2 (1-2), Notre Dame 1-2 (1-2).

Third Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Wisconsin 1-2 (2-4), Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4).

Power-play opportunities—Wisconsin 1-2, Notre Dame 0-2.

Faceoffs won—Wisconsin 27, Notre Dame 33.

Shots on goal—Wisconsin 22 (10-8-4), Notre Dame 25 (6-9-10).

Goalie saves—Wisconsin, Robbie Beydoun 25 (6-9-10), Notre Dame, Dylan St. Cyr 20 (9-7-4).

Records—Wisconsin 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0-0 Big Ten), Notre Dame 0-1-0 (0-1-0-0 Big Ten).

Officials: Referees, Brian Aaron and Brian DesRosiers. Linesmen, Justin Cornell, Nick Huff.