Notre Dame Dumps Seven on Penn State, Sweeps Weekend Series
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When it rains, it pours.
Notre Dame (14-12-2) kept its foot on the gas and handily defeated Penn State (9-11) 7-1 Saturday evening at Compton Family Ice Arena, completing the weekend sweep.
The Nittany Lions came out of the gate a little on the slow side, as the Irish held the lead in shots on goal 5-1 just a few minutes into the game.
Oskar Autio was tested early on but made a few crucial saves, including one just 1:30 into the contest to keep it scoreless.
There was plenty of dump-and-chase play throughout the first seven minutes, but fortunes for the Nittany Lions quickly changed shortly thereafter. Long Island native Christian Sarlo backhanded one past Dylan St. Cyr off of a pretty feed from Alex Limoges, and the Nittany Lions took a 1-0 lead at the 8:33 mark of the opening stanza.
Then just 1:17 later, Oskar Autio robbed Colin Theisen cold on a breakaway with the right pad and Penn State hung on to its 1-0 lead.
Autio wasn’t done with the stellar play; he stopped yet another breakaway attempt with about three minutes remaining, and the Nittany Lions’ 1-0 lead held after the first 20 minutes of play.
But once the second period started, the Fighting Irish began to apply pressure, and it took just 33 seconds for the game to change. Alex Steeves ripped one past Autio for goal No. 15 on the season, and the score was even at one.
Jake Pivonka then added his name to the stat sheet at 4:46 with a goal of his own, and the Irish had a 2-1 lead not even five minutes into the second.
The onslaught did stop there. Trevor Janicke got in on the scoring party off a redirect at 8:28, and the Notre Dame lead increased to two at 3-1.
A potential five-minute major was on the table for the Nittany Lions with 6:08 to go, but the official review did not give Pierce Crawford a penalty, and the Irish maintained their 3-1 lead going into the final period.
Once the third period began, Notre Dame picked up right where it left off in the second. Jesse Lansdell added the fourth Irish goal of the evening 1:26 into the final frame on a chip shot over the shoulder of Autio, and it became 4-1.
Penn State killed off a 5-on-3 that consisted of a minor penalty on Mason Snell and a game misconduct on Christian Berger in the middle of the period, but Notre Dame answered quickly thereafter. Janicke scored his second goal of the game with 8:34 left to make it 5-1, and Max Ellis increased the score to 6-1 just 4:09 later.
6-1 then became 7-1 as Graham Slaggert completed the touchdown on ice with 1:58 remaining.
The Nittany Lions and Fighting Irish will face each other again in the No. 4/No. 5 game in the Big Ten tournament at noon on Sunday, March 14. The winner will advance to the semifinals against No. 1 seed Wisconsin.
Christopher Hess is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.