No. 3 Minnesota completes home sweep of No. 12 Notre Dame with 3-0 victory

Tribune Staff Report

MINNEAPOLIS – Beating No. 3 Minnesota on the 3M Arena at Mariucci is hard enough. 

For the second night in a row, No. 12 Notre Dame compounded the problem by not generating any kind of consistent offense in a 3-0 loss Saturday night before a partisan crowd of 8,291 fans.

Even Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson juggling his forward lines didn’t help. The Golden Gophers, who outshot the Irish 55-25 in Friday’s 4-1 victory, took a 2-0 lead with a pair of second-period goals and had a 26-10 shot advantage going into Saturday’s third period

No. 3 Minnesota overwhelms No. 12 Notre Dame in 4-1 Big Ten hockey victory

“We played better, but you have to score to win,” Jackson said. “Any time you play against great players, it’s always a challenge. You have to possess the puck and minimize the time you have to defend. We just need to get better at that.”

The loss by the Irish, who managed to outshoot the Gophers 11-5 in the final 20 minutes, dropped them to 4-4-2 overall, 1-2-1-0-0-0 for four points in the Big Ten heading into next weekend’s home series with top-ranked Michigan. The Wolverines rebounded from Friday’s 3-0 shutout loss to knock Penn State from the unbeaten ranks with a 4-3 overtime victory in State College, Pa. 

Faceoff for Friday’s series opener between the Irish and Wolverines is 7:30 p.m. The Saturday game begins at 6.

Shot-blocker Jake Boltmann eager to lead No. 12 Irish against home-state Gophers

For the second straight night, Notre Dame senior goaltender Ryan Bischel, who hails from the Minneapolis western suburb of Medina, kept his teammates in the game, finishing with 28 saves after making 45 in Friday’s series opener before sitting out the final seven-plus minutes in favor of freshman backup goalie Jack Williams. 

“Ryan is a good goaltender – he’s played well for us,” Jackson said. “We’re only going to go as far as he takes us, so we have to get on track offensively. With the exception of the Friday night game against Michigan State (a 5-0 victory), we haven’t scored enough goals 5-on-5 and our power play has dried up a bit.”

For the weekend, the Gophers outscored the Irish 7-1, outshot them 85-46 and scored a pair of power-play goals. Notre Dame, meanwhile, went 0-for-5 on its power-play chances in the two games and is now zero for its last 17 with the man-advantage. Notre Dame has scored just one goal in its last 149:35 minutes of play over three games – the two losses at Minnesota and a shootout loss to Michigan State after a 1-1 deadlock a week ago Saturday in the Compton.

Just as they did in Friday’s game, the two Big Ten teams battled to a scoreless tie after the first period. But then coach Bob Motzko’s Gophers (7-3-0 overall, 3-1-0-0-0-0 for nine points in the Big Ten) scored twice in the second period and coasted through the third to hand senior goalie Justen Close his second shutout of the season after a 21-save performance.

Jaxon Nelson gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 10:15 of the second period, and the teams then waited a few minutes while the officials reviewed a video request by Motzko that inquired whether Notre Dame’s Jesse Lansdell had made contact to the head of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber a few minutes earlier. 

Lansdell received a five-minute major and game misconduct at the review’s conclusion, and the Gophers scored a power-play goal by sophomore left Matthew Knies at 13:31 for a 2-0 lead.

Freshman center Logan Cooley, who de-committed last winter from Notre Dame to sign with the Golden Gophers, then iced the victory with an empty-net goal at 19:57 of the third period.

MINNESOTA 3, NOTRE DAME 0

At 3M Arena at Mariucci, Minneapolis, Minn.

Notre Dame  0-0-0—0 

Minnesota     0-2-1—3        

First Period—Scoring: None. Penalties: Notre Dame 0-0, Minnesota 0-0.

Second Period—Scoring: 1. Minnesota, Jaxon Nelson 2 (Mason Nevers, Bryce Brodzinski) EV 10:15. 2. Minnesota, Matthew Knies 7 (Jimmy Snuggerud, Ryan Johnson) PP 13:31. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 3-17 (3-17), Minnesota 1-2 (1-2).

Third Period—Scoring: 3. Minnesota, Logan Cooley 3 (Ryan Johnson) EN 19:57. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 1-2 (4-19), Minnesota 1-2 (2-4).

Shots on goal: Notre Dame 21 (3-7-11), Minnesota 31 (9-17-5). Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 28 (9-16-3), Minnesota, Justen Close 21 (3-7-11).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 0 of 2, Minnesota 1 of 3. Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 31 (11-9-11), Minnesota 23 (5-11-7). Blocked shots: Notre Dame 12 (5-4-3), Minnesota 16 (4-5-7). 

Referees: Jake Rekucki and Kenny Anderson. Linesmen: Dan Cohen and Johnathan Morrison. Attendance: 8,291 (10,000). 

Records: Notre Dame 4-4-2 overall, 1-2-1-0-0-0 Big Ten for 4 points; Minnesota 7-3-0 overall, 3-1-0-0-0-0 Big Ten 9 points.