Bischel makes 50 saves as Irish tie No. 7 Buckeyes, earn shootout point

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Ohio State forward Stephen Halliday (19) shoots the puck on Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel (30) during the Ohio State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame’s hockey team found its second wind with a timely timeout Saturday night against No. 7 Ohio State, and the Fighting Irish season just may have found a second wind, too.

 With Notre Dame trailing 2-0 on Senior Night, having just killed off a power-play opportunity by the Buckeyes and looking spent, Irish coach Jeff Jackson decided to use his team’s one allotted timeout at 6:24 of the second period.

Nineteen seconds later, second-year graduate right wing Jack Adams started an Irish comeback with a tip-in goal and graduate defenseman and captain Nick Leivermann got the equalizer at 10:47 on a power play. Then thanks to a 50-save performance by senior goaltender Ryan Bischel, the Irish survived a scoreless third period and five-minute overtime for a 2-2 overtime tie before winning a nine-round shootout, 3-2, to gain the extra point in the weekend series.

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 “I thought we were on our heels,” Jackson said before addressing his team that was again riddled with injuries. Just before the timeout ended, his players, led by Leivermann and senior alternate captain Trevor Janicke also got a few words in. 

“Trevor told everyone to take a breath and dial back in,” Leivermann said. “We wanted to re-focus, set a new tone and play our game because we knew we did the night before.”

Coupled with Friday’s 2-1 victory over the Buckeyes, Jackson’s Irish, reeling after being swept at Michigan State the weekend before, earned five points in two games with Ohio State. That moved Notre Dame from sixth place to a tie for third with Ohio State and Michigan State at 31 points, four behind second-place Michigan. 

Leivermann (round one), sophomore Hunter Strand (round four) and finally second-year graduate defenseman Chase Blackmun (round nine) beat Ohio State sophomore goaltender Jakub Dobeš with shots. After Blackmun’s successful effort, Bischel, who was beaten by Buckeyes Jack Wise and Davis Burnside, got his left leg pad on a shot by Ohio State’s Cam Thiesing to end the evening and set off a celebration enjoyed by the green-clad Irish and many in the sellout crowd of 5,022 watching at the Compton Center.

Notre Dame players celebrate after the Ohio State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

The tie improved Notre Dame’s season record to 14-14-4 overall, its Big Ten record to 9-10-2 and left the Irish No. 16 in the NCAA Tournament PairWise Comparison ratings.

“It was maybe our best weekend of the season,” said Jackson, whose team will take a weekend off before finishing the regular season Feb. 24-25 at No. 5 Michigan. “Five points in the standings is really important.”

It was the sixth time in 30 games this season that Bischel has made more than 40 saves in a game, and it was his second effort of 50 or more. He had a career-best 52 saves in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory at Penn State on Jan. 20. Dobeš stopped 21 Irish shots in regulation and the 3-on-3 overtime for coach Steve Rohlik’s Buckeyes, who are now 17-11-2 overall and 10-9-1 in the Big Ten.

“Fifty saves are just the norm now,” Leivermann joked.

Bischel laughed. “To see our guys battle like that meant a lot,” Bischel said of his teammates’ play. “They (the Buckeyes) had a few more looks but we found a way to survive.”

“We didn’t play well in the first period,” Leivermann said, “but to have the opportunity to come back and have a chance to win the game was really special.”

In a penalty-marred first period, the Buckeyes outshot the Irish 9-6, including 6-1 over the final 15 minutes as each team totaled five penalties for 18 minutes. Notre Dame’s Chayse Primeau and Ohio State’s Travis Treloar each got 10 minutes to cool off when they continued to scuffle at 19:46. 

Earlier in the period, Ohio State sophomore defense Mason Lohrei gave his team a 1-0 lead when he directed a rebound past Bischel into an empty net at 13:49 on an Ohio State power play. 

 The Buckeyes then outshot the Irish 18-8 in the second period and 20-6 in the third, but Bischel only allowed an even-strength goal by Dalton Messina at 3:08 of the second period that put the Buckeyes up 2-0. 

The Irish played Saturday without graduate center Jackson Pierson, who suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s game. That necessitated Jackson to shift Trevor Janicke from right wing to center on a line between wingers Jesse Lansdell and Solag Bakich. Then freshman Niko Jovanovic suffered a foot injury and limped off the ice late in the first period, forcing more juggling by Jackson and his coaching staff. 

 “They’ve battled,” Jackson said. “Part of the reason we’re getting dinged up is we’re competing harder. That was a hard game, this was a hard weekend for them.” A five-point weekend will soothe a lot of aches and pains. 


(Irish win shootout, 3-2)

At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend 

Ohio State          1-1-0-0—2 

Notre Dame        0-2-0-0—2 

            First Period—Scoring: 1. Ohio State, Mason Lohrei 2 (Travis Treloar, Michael Gildon) PP 13:49. Penalties: Ohio State 5-18, Notre Dame 5-18.

            Second Period—Scoring: 2. Ohio State, Dalton Messina 1 (Scooter Brickey, Tate Singleton) EV 3:08. 3. Notre Dame, Jack Adams 5 (Jake Boltmann, Hunter Strange) EV 6:53. 4. Notre Dame, Nick Leivermann 6 (Landon Slaggert, Chayse Primeau) PP 10:47. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (6-20), Notre Dame 1-2 (6-20).

Third Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (7-22), Notre Dame 0-0 (6-20). 

Overtime—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Ohio State 0-0 (7-22), Notre Dame 0-0 (6-20).

Shootout—Round 1, Notre Dame, Nick Leivermann, goal; Ohio State, Travis Treloar, miss. Notre Dame 1-0. Round 2, Notre Dame, Justin Janicke, miss; Ohio State, Joe Dunlap, miss. Notre Dame 1-0. Round 3, Notre Dame, Jack Adams, miss; Ohio State, Jake Wise, goal. Notre Dame 1, Ohio State 1. Round 4, Notre Dame, Hunter Strand, goal; Ohio State, Davis Burnside, goal. Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2. Round 5, Notre Dame, Drew Bavaro, miss; Ohio State, Michael Gildon, miss. Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2. Round 6, Notre Dame, Grant Silianoff, miss; Ohio State, Stephen Halliday, miss. Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2. Round 7, Notre Dame, Trevor Janicke, miss; Ohio State, Tate Singleton, miss. Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2. Round 8, Notre Dame, Jesse Lansdell, miss; Ohio State, Mason Lohrei, miss. Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2. Round 9, Notre Dame, Chase Blackmun, goal; Ohio State, Cam Thiesing, miss. Notre Dame 3, Ohio State 2.

Power-play opportunities: Ohio State 1 of 4, Notre Dame 1 of 5.

Shots on goal: Ohio State 52 (9-18-20-5), Notre Dame 23 (6-8-6-3).

Goalie saves: Ohio State, Jakub Dobeš 21 (6-6-6-3), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 50 (8-17-20-5). Faceoffs won: Ohio State 33 (6-10-14-3), Notre Dame 42 (17-11-12-2).

Blocked shots: Ohio State 10 (3-3-4-0), Notre Dame 22 (7-8-6-1).

 Referees: Sean Fernandez and Tony Czech. Linesmen: Mike Daltrey and Pat Richardson. Attendance: 5,022 (4,852).

Records: Ohio State 17-11-2 overall, 10-9-1 Big Ten for 31 points; Notre Dame 14-14-4 overall, 9-10-3 Big Ten for 30 points. 

BIG TEN    Saturday’s results: Notre Dame 2, Ohio State 2 (OT) (Notre Dame wins shootout 3-2); Wisconsin 3, Minnesota 1; Michigan 4, Michigan State 3 (OT)Standings: 1.Minnesota 15-4-1, 46 points (21-8-1 overall); 2. Michigan 12-8-0, 35 points (20-9-1 overall); 3T. Ohio State 10-9-1, 31 points (17-11-2 overall); 3T. Michigan State 9-11-2, 31 points (15-15-2 overall); 3T. Notre Dame 9-10-3, 31 points (14-14-4 overall); 6. Penn State 9-10-1, 30 points (19-10-1 overall); 7. Wisconsin 4-16-0, 12 points (11-19-0 overall).