No. 6 Penn State rallies for 3-2 victory to end Irish hopes of road hockey sweep

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

On “White Out Night” Saturday at Penn State, the Notre Dame hockey team almost turned out the lights on the weekend for sixth-ranked Nittany Lions.

Seeking a weekend sweep of Penn State before a Pegula Ice Arena record crowd of 6,566 fans decked out in white, the Fighting Irish could not hold on to a one-goal lead, surrendering two unanswered goals in the final two periods in a 3-2 Big Ten loss to the Nittany Lions.

Coach Jeff Jackson’s Irish (11-12-3 overall, 6-8-2 Big Ten for 20 points) got another big performance from senior goaltender Ryan Bischel, who turned away 42 Penn State shots a night after he made a career-high 52 saves in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory.

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Notre Dame's Chayse Primeau during the Western Michigan-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Friday, October 21, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

Game 1:Bischel’s career-high 52 saves help Irish stun No. 6 Penn State, 2-1

But goals by Trevor Janicke and Chayse Primeau were not enough for the Irish, who were outshot 45-31 by coach Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions (18-7-1, 8-7-1 Big Ten for 27 points). Penn State got the game-winner from Christian Sarfo at 14:33 of the third period after Connor MacEachern’s second-period goal at 18:10 wiped out Notre Dame’s 2-1 lead. Simon Mack had Penn State’s first goal and goaltender Liam Souliere made 29 saves as the Nittany Lions ended Notre Dame’s four-game winning streak at Pegula.

The Irish return to the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena this coming Friday at 7:30 p.m. to begin a two-game Big Ten series with Wisconsin on Alumni Weekend. The series concludes Saturday night at 6.

Bischel, who had 19 saves in Friday’s first period when the Irish were outshot 20-6 but trailed just 1-0, turned away all 15 of Wisconsin’s first-period shots Saturday as the Irish took a 1-0 lead to the locker room.

With Penn State’s Tyler Paquette off for kneeing at 4:48, Notre Dame’s power-play unit, ranked 49thnationally coming into the contest, scored for the second time this weekend. The goal came on a blast from the faceoff circle to Souliere’s right by Janicke, who took a pass from Jackson Pierson. Drew Bavaro also assisted on Janicke’s team-leading eighth goal of the season at 5:28.

Penn State tied the game at 3:12 of the second period when defenseman Mack banged home a backhand pass from Chase McLane to complete a Penn State odd-man rush.

But the Irish took advantage of another power-play opportunity to take a 2-1 lead early in the second period. A tripping penalty at 4:40 to Penn State’s Chase McLane had just expired when Justin Janicke and Ryder Rolston set up Primeau for a doorstep goal, his sixth of the season, at 6:42.

But from that point to the end of the period, Penn State re-energized the offense which launched 91 shots Friday night. The Nittany Lions outshot Notre Dame 16-4 over the final 13:18 of the period and finally got the equalizer at 18:10 when MacEachern beat Bischel.

The Irish, who blocked another 17 shots after a season-high 23 blocks Friday, finished the third period with an 11-10 edge in shots on goal. But they couldn’t solve Souliere and instead had to settle for a series split, their seventh in a row.


At Pegula Ice Arena, State College, Pa.       

Notre Dame110—2 
Penn State021—3

First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke 8 (Jackson Pierson, Drew Bavaro) PP 5:28. Penalties: Notre Dame 2-4, Penn State 3-6.

Second Period—Scoring: 2. Penn State, Simon Mack 3 (Chase McLane, Dylan Lugris) EV 3:12. 3. Notre Dame, Chayse Primeau 6 (Justin Janicke, Ryder Rolston) EV 6:43. 4. Penn State, Connor MacEachern 9 (Connor McMenamin) EV 18:10. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (2-4), Penn State 1-2 (4-8).

Third Period—Scoring: 5. Penn State, Christian Sarlo 5 (Xander Lamppa, Tyler Paquette) EV 14:33. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (2-4), Penn State 1-2 (5-10).

Shots on goal: Notre Dame 31 (12-8-11), Penn State 45 (15-20-10). Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 42 (15-18-9), Penn State, Liam Souliere 29 (11-7-11).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 1 of 4, Penn State 0 of 1. Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 28 (8-12-8), Penn State 38 (14-12-12). Blocked shots: Notre Dame 17 (9-6-2), Penn State 12 (5-2-5).

Referees: Andrew Bruggeman and Jonathan Sitarski. Linesmen: Tommy George and John Waleski. Attendance: 6,566 (5,704). Records: Notre Dame 11-12-3 overall, 6-8-2 Big Ten for 20 points; Penn State 18-7-1 overall, 8-7-1 Big Ten for 27 points.