March 10, 2018
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- After playing to a 2-2 stalemate late into the third period, Jack Jenkins found the back of the net with 31 seconds remaining to send the No. 4/5 Notre Dame hockey team past No. 12 Penn State and into the Big Ten championship game.
The team's played a flurry of a first period, with four goals and three penalties, before things settled down in the second.
The final 20 minutes proved intense, riveting playoff hockey with both sides having a chance to win it before the Irish finally broke through for the winner.
Both goalies were outstanding. Cale Morris, Notre Dame's sophomore Hobey Baker candidate, made 43 saves, while Penn State's Peyton Jones made 44 saves to be named the game's third star.
Each team was 1-for-3 on the power play, with neither team getting a man-advantage opportunity in the third period. The Irish controlled the faceoff circle, holding a 40-27 edge paced by 15 wins from senior captain Jake Evans and 12 wins from junior Andrew Oglevie.
Notre Dame will host the winner of tonight's second semifinal game between Michigan and Ohio State next Saturday, March 17, to decide the Big Ten title. The puck drops at 8 p.m. ET at Compton Family Ice Arena and the game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. To purchase tickets, click here.
COACH JACKSON'S THOUGHTS
On the game...
"They're (Penn State) a heck of a hockey team. They're a better team today than they were the last time we played them. I thought our defensive core did a really good job. (The win) is good for our confidence considering how we finished the regular season. I thought we did a better job than we have (in the past) against them managing the puck and that's always a challenge because they pressure the puck so hard."
On what the game felt like...
"Focus is everything, how you prepare yourself on gameday, in between periods, in between shifts, just staying in the moment. It was a fast game, it was a playoff game and it certainly felt like it."
On the game-winning goal...
"We came out of our zone with speed and we had a couple good opportunities. It was the end of a long shift for both lines, although Jenkins had just come off the bench for that next shift. He was the one fresh guy out there and Oglevie and Malmquist did a good job finding him so it was a great finish to a great game. (This season) has been about our goaltending, our defensive core and our forwards with timely scoring and that's exactly what it was tonight, a combination of those three things that allowed us to win the game."
On the team's playoff mindset ...
"It's a one-and-done season right now. You have to learn to embrace that. Every game at this time of the year is a championship game - you either win or it ends your chance at playing for a championship."
NOTRE DAME GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
2-1 | Skating on the power play, Matt Hellickson took a shot from the high slot that deflected off of Joe Wegwerth in front. The puck then kicked out to Andrew Peeke, who fired it past Peyton Jones for his fifth goal of the season at 14:03 of the first period.
3-2 | With under a minute remaining in regulation, Dylan Malmquist skated the puck into the zone and brought it around the back of the net. After a battle for the loose puck, Andrew Oglevie passes it to Jack Jenkins who fired a shot from the right faceoff dot. It was blocked by a Penn State defender but Jenkins stayed with the rebound and sent it near post past Jones for the game-winning goal with 31 seconds remaining.
- Jack Jenkins scored his fourth career game-winning goal and first of the 2017-18 campaign.
- It was Jenkins' first goal since Notre Dame's 5-3 win over Penn State on Nov. 10.
- Jordan Gross skated in the 154th consecutive game of his Irish career (dating back to the first game of his freshman season).
- Jake Evans skated in his 126th consecutive game dating back to his freshman season (153rd overall).
- Notre Dame is 20-2-2 when scoring first this season.
- The Irish improved to 35-28-0 in playoff games under Jeff Jackson with a win in the program's first Big Ten postseason game.
- Notre Dame has 24 wins in a season for the first time since 2012-13.
- The Irish are 13-6-1 at home this season and 13-6-2 against ranked teams.
- With the win, Notre Dame improved to 5-2-2 when the game is tied at the end of the second period.
- The Irish are 10-3-0 in one-goal games.
- Notre Dame improved to 4-0-1 against Penn State this season.
-- 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).