Slaggert’s two goals lead Irish over No. 7 Buckeyes, 2-1
SOUTH BEND – Landon Slaggert found his scoring touch Friday night just when his Notre Dame hockey teammates needed it.
With the Big Ten regular season drawing to a close and coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish looking to secure home ice for the first-round of the league postseason tournament, junior right wing Slaggert, a South Bend native and the son of associate head coach Andy Slaggert who has struggled finding his scoring touch tallied two goals.
The second came on a second-period breakaway and Notre Dame hung on for a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Ohio State before a sellout crowd of 5,022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
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“It was nice to see us have some success, but obviously the job is not done yet,” Slaggert said after scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the season and now has four in his last four games. “I’m just so proud of the guys in the locker room. We really came together; this was a hard-fought team win.”
Senior goalie Ryan Bischel, as he often has done this season, made the crucial stops when the sixth-place Irish (14-14-3 overall, 9-10-2 Big Ten for 29 points) needed them the most, including two in the final four seconds to beat coach Steve Rohlik’s Buckeyes (17-11-1, 10-9-0 Big Ten for 30 points) who fell three points behind second-place Michigan.
“Bischel has been a rock for us all year,” Slaggert added.
“The guys really played well, made a huge step from last weekend (after 3-0 and 3-2 losses at Michigan State) and made it easy for me,” said Bischel, who finished with 38 saves and also was credited with the second assist — the first belonged to defenseman and graduate captain Nick Leivermann on a 100-foot-plus pass — on Slaggert’s game-winning goal. “For the most part the guys kept them (the Buckeyes) on the perimeter and made it easy on me for sure.”
Ohio State outshot the Irish 38-22, with the Buckeyes’ 6-foot-4 sophomore goaltender Jakub Dobeš making 20 saves before being pulled with 1:55 remaining in regulation.
Jake Wise scored his 10th goal of the season for Ohio State on a power play at 10:15 of the third period to ruin Bischel’s bid for a fifth shutout this season. The Buckeyes, who outshot the Irish 38-22, remained tied for third with idle Penn State and Michigan State, which fell 4-1 at home to Michigan.
The victory also propelled Notre Dame from 19th to 14th in the NCAA Tournament PairWise Comparison Ratings which will help determine the 16-team field to be announced March 19. The Irish would have to finish with at least a .500 season record to gain a berth.
“We had a tough week of practice, and the guys competed hard,” Jackson said after the game. “We knew we had to do a better job competing, especially forechecking and our effort backchecking. They (the Buckeyes) are a good hockey team. You have to compete hard to beat a team like this.”
The Irish and Buckeyes conclude their two-game series Saturday night at 6 p.m. with another sellout crowd, which would be Notre Dame’s eighth in a row, 12th this season and the 90th since the Compton Family Ice Arena opened during the 2011-12 season. The Irish will wear green jerseys for Senior Night when 10 senior and graduate players will be honored after the game.
The Buckeyes outshot the Irish 11-6 in the first period, starting out with a 6-1 advantage in the first six minutes. But Notre Dame got the first of its two power-play chances at 7:59 when Ohio State received a bench penalty for too many men on the ice.
Slaggert appeared to have beaten Dobeš at 9:24 but his shot hit off the pipe and then the crossbar behind the Ohio State goalie, and linemate Chayse Primeau couldn’t get to the rebound with the net wide-open.
But Slaggert didn’t miss his second opportunity of the period at 18:09 and gave the Irish a 1-0 lead when he took a pass from sophomore left wing Justin Janicke, who carried the puck down the far boards and to the left of Dobeš. Janicke slid the puck out past Primeau to Slaggert, who beat the Buckeyes’ goalie high over his blocker.
The Buckeyes continued their shot onslaught in the second period, outshooting Notre Dame 8-1 in the first 6:38 just seconds before the Irish got a little bit of luck.
Senior forward Solag Bakich, who had six of Notre Dame’s 19 blocked shots, lost his stick in a collision near the Buckeyes bench a few seconds later, the stick going 15 feet up into the air and into the Notre Dame defensive zone. As Bakich skated back to the Notre Dame bench for a change, Slaggert jumped over the boards and skated behind the Buckeyes’ defense.
That’s when Leivermann, who had received a dump behind the net from Bischel, spied him and he threaded a 100--plus pass to Slaggert, who skated in and beat Dobeš at 7:00 to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.
Dobeš maintained that deficit when he stopped Primeau in close with the teams skating 4-on-4 just 37 seconds into the third period. Notre Dame started the period with a 5-2 edge in shots, but Ohio State eventually caught up. The Buckeyes then got a power-play chance at 10:00 when Drew Bavaro drew a tripping penalty.
It took the Buckeyes just 15 seconds to score, with Stephen Halliday and Travis Treloar setting up Wise for a backdoor 20-footer from the faceoff circle to Bischel’s right.
Dobeš made a big save on Justin Janicke at 17:33, and Rohlik pulled the Ohio State goalie at 18:05. Bischel made three saves in the final 12 seconds, two on Joe Dunlap and the final one on Scooter Brickey as the horn sounded.
NOTRE DAME 2, OHIO STATE 1
At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
First Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Landon Slaggert 5 (Justin Janicke) EV 18:09. Penalties: Ohio State 2-4, Notre Dame 1-2.
Second Period—Scoring: 2. Notre Dame, Landon Slaggert 6 (Nick Leivermann, Ryan Bischel) EV 7:00. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (3-6), Notre Dame 2-4 (3-6).
Third Period—Scoring: 3. Ohio State, Jake Wise 10 (Travis Treloar, Stephen Halliday) PP 10:15. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (4-8), Notre Dame 2-4 (5-10).
Power-play opportunities: Ohio State 1 of 4, Notre Dame 0 of 3.
Shots on goal: Ohio State 38 (11-13-14), Notre Dame 22 (6-7-9).
Goalie saves: Ohio State, Jakub Dobeš 20 (5-6-9), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 37 (11-13-13).
Faceoffs won: Ohio State 28 (12-8-8), Notre Dame 30 (9-11-10).
Blocked shots: Ohio State 9 (5-2-2), Notre Dame 19 (10-5-4).
Referees: Sean Fernandez and Tony Czech. Linesmen: Mike Daltrey and Pat Richardson. Attendance: 5,022 (4,852). Records: Ohio State 17-11-1 overall, 10-9-0 Big Ten for 30 points; Notre Dame 14-14-3 overall, 9-10-2 Big Ten for 29 points.
Friday’s results: Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 1; Michigan 4, Michigan State 2; Minnesota 4, Wisconsin 1.
Standings: 1.Minnesota 15-3-1, 46 points (21-7-1 overall); 2. Michigan 11-8-0, 33 points (19-9-1 overall); 3T. Ohio State 10-9-0, 30 points (17-11-1 overall); 3T. Penn State 9-10-1, 30 points (19-10-1 overall); 3T. Michigan State 9-10-2, 30 points (15-14-2 overall); 6. Notre Dame 9-10-2, 29 points (14-14-3 overall); 7. Wisconsin 3-16-0, 9 points (10-19-0 overall). Saturday’s schedule: Ohio State at Notre Dame, 6 p.m.; Minnesota at Wisconsin, 6 p.m.; Michigan vs. Michigan State at Detroit, 8 p.m.