Feb. 24, 2018
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The No. 3/5 Notre Dame Hockey team capped its 2017-18 Big Ten championship regular season with a 4-3 setback to Michigan State on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (5,174).
The teams traded goals throughout the game until the Spartans scored the game winner in the third period. Colin Theisen opened the scoring for the Irish before Taro Hirose tied it for MSU, providing a 1-1 score at the first intermission.
The Irish got a power play goal from Jake Evans to take a 2-1 lead at 2:44 of the second, but Michigan State evened the score again later in the period when Mitch Lewandowski found the back of the net.
In the third, Notre Dame struck even quicker, with Dennis Gilbert scoring a short-handed goal just 42 seconds in. The Spartans bounced back again to draw even less than three minutes later when Lewandowski got his second tally of the game. Then at 8:50 of the third, Jerad Rosburg scored the game-winner.
Michigan State out-shot the Irish, 36-26, with Cale Morris making 32 saves in the effort.
The Irish were 1-for-2 on power plays while adding the short-handed goal. Michigan State was 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
The Irish had chances late, generating eight shots in the final two minutes of the game. John Lethermon made three saves in the closing 120 seconds for the Spartans.
COACH JACKSON'S THOUGHTS
On the game...
"As I've said all season long it's extremely hard to beat the same team four times in a row and that's more of what I expected from Michigan State. Last night we jumped out in the second and tonight we didn't have that. (MSU's first line) is one of the best lines in college hockey. I thought we were good in the first period. I thought we fell off in the second. I can't tell you why, I have no idea why it happened but I thought we fell off in the second. We had some life in the third. Obviously, they scored that face off goal. That's the details of the game, you can't lose a draw clean like that in your own end. They capitalized off of that."
On moving into the playoffs...
"We will have a full week of practice and a couple additional days off but we don't want them to lose their competitive edge. We learned our lesson a few years back, we have to work on the details of the game but we also have to do some competing. In the last month here we have given up more goals then I would like to see us give up. I mean our penalty kill and our power play are both doing well. I think five-on-five we just have to do a better job without the puck. That's just attention to detail. We haven't been the same team since we clinched the league. I thought we showed signs last weekend against Michigan and again last night. You have to rely on the leadership and the guys having the right approach to these next few weeks.
On special teams...
"For our PK to be close to ninety and our power play being at a twenty that's really really good. I give my associate coach, Paul Pooley a lot of credit. The guys on the ice are doing a good job and that's a big part of it. Especially with Dennis Gilbert and Justin Wade on defense and our top four forwards do a great job on the penalty kill. We need to be more consistent on five-on-five and that's the biggest key right now offensively and defensively."
NOTRE DAME GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
1-0 | Colin Theisen scored the first goal of the night for the Irish at the time of 12:35. The puck was picked off of an MSU player by senior captain Jake Evans. Evans brought the puck down the center crossing the blue line with a straight pass across to Theisen who completed the play.
2-1 | Jake Evans brought the Irish to a 2-1 lead over the Spartans by scoring Notre Dame's second goal off of a power play. The time of the goal was 2:44. The puck was brought down the center by Cam Morrison who passed it up to Jordan Gross. Gross then passed the puck down and across the slot to Jake Evans who scored for the Irish.
3-2 | Dennis Gilbert scored an Irish short handed goal during the third period at a time of 42 seconds. Captain Jake Evans received his second assist of the night. Evans skated the puck down and fed Jack Jenkins crossing the blue line where he passed the puck across connecting with Gilbert for an Irish goal.
- Jordan Gross skated in the 153rd consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Jake Evans skated in his 125th consecutive game dating back to his freshman season (152nd overall).
- Prior to the game, the team honored graduating seniors Jake Evans, Dawson Cook, Bo Brauer, Justin Wade, Jordan Gross, Luke Ripley and Tony Bretzman as well as senior managers Emily Hession and Jenna Sobczyk.
- Notre Dame is 19-2-2 when scoring first this season.
- With a goal and two assists, Jake Evans posted his 12th multi-point game of the season and the 32nd of his career.
- Dennis Gilbert scored his second shorthanded goal of the season.
By virtue of winning the 2017-18 Big Ten Regular Season Championship, Notre Dame will have a bye next weekend while the remaining six teams play best-of-three campus site playoff series (at the higher seeded team).
Then the Irish will then host a Big Ten Tournament semifinal game at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Saturday, March 10. The start time and television coverage will be announced by the conference office. To purchase tickets, click here.
-- ND --
Dan Colleran, Director of Athletics Communications at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men's hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College ('06 & '08G).