Notre Dame used some timely five on five goals and their superb defense to the tune of a 5 – 2 win on Saturday night to lock up a sweep of the Gophers. Cale Morris stopped 40 shots (84 over the weekend series) for the Irish and was certainly a difference maker again tonight as Notre Dame has now marched to a 6 – 0 conference record in their inaugural season as a (affiliate) member of the Big Ten.
The Gophers, who didn’t carry the play as much as they did on Friday, just couldn’t get traction tonight and while they did break Morris’s shutout streak, they got themselves down by two goals in the 2nd period and couldn’t claw all the way back. Mike Szmatula scored two power play goals, and the Gophers were down only 3 – 2 going to the third. But they couldn’t capitalize on a mid period power play and the game slipped away. Notre Dame went up 4 – 2 on Cal Burke’s second goal of the night and things got out of hand after that, with the team making a march to the penalty box as the frustration of a long weekend seemed to get the better of them.
A good amount of negative items to deal with right now, although based on their overall play this year it feels like there is upside coming; they’ve played a grueling schedule and while that won’t stop, it will start to even out a bit once they complete the cycle of conference play. Hopefully they can regain their composure for next weekend’s series against Wisconsin as they only lead the Badgers by one point in conference play while Bucky has two games in hand. Both games next weekend begin at 7PM and are on Fox Sports North Plus.