SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Hosting its own tourney over Thanksgiving weekend hasn’t always assured Notre Dame wins.
Since the Shillelagh Tournament restarted on campus in 2013, the Irish have yet to win the title. They had only advanced to the championship game once (2013) and lost to Northeastern for a second place finish. They are one step closer to reversing those outcomes.
Anders Bjork had a goal and two assists Friday to propel No. 12 Notre Dame to a 5-3 win over Holy Cross. Clarkson awaits in the title game after it advanced past Yale with a shootout win.
“I reminded them before the game, this is like an NCAA regional,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said. “You’re gonna play two different teams on two different nights, so it’s more about what you do than what they do. We try to prepare for the opponent and we will give them some specifics as far as things we have to watch for (tonight).
“But we haven’t had the best Friday nights at home this year and that was a good step for us. We just need to try and finish the job.”
Notre Dame (7-4-2) took a lead in the first period when Connor Hurley redirected a centering pass by Dylan Malmquist past Holy Cross goalie Paul Berrafato. Bjork picked up the secondary assist.
Peter Crinella drew the Crusaders level at 12:37 of the first period with his first goal of the season.
Holy Cross (5-4-2) then took a 2-1 lead just over a minute into the second period when Irish goalie Cal Petersen committed a puck handling blunder. Petersen hoped to clear the zone but instead passed the puck directly to T.J. Moore, who sent a wrist shot into a practically empty net.
Moore’s goal helped Holy Cross carry momentum for the first half of the second period.
“I think we were getting pucks in behind their (defense),” Holy Cross head coach David Berard said. “We were getting in on the forecheck then we started turning pucks over. What they did to us on that fourth goal we were doing to them in the early part of the second. We were getting them hemmed in their zone, they were turning some pucks over, we were getting some guys off the bench to make some line changes. We had good energy and momentum and they were a little bit tired then they were on their heels. That’s the ebb and flow of a hockey game.”
Notre Dame turned the momentum back around before the second intermission.
Joe Wegwerth scored at 13:16 then the Irish capitalized on the second of consecutive power plays. Jordan Gross blasted a slap shot from the point that Cam Morrison deflected just in front of Berrafato at 17:37 for a 3-2 lead.
Bjork scored his goal at 4:30 of the third to extend the lead. Danny Lopez pulled Holy Cross to within a goal at 4-3 about six minutes later.
But an empty netter by Andrew Oglevie with five seconds remaining finished off the scoring. Petersen made 17 saves in the win.
“We haven’t won this tournament at the Compton,” Bjork said. “We definitely wanna win it. I think that would help our team a lot because even that it’s just the Shillelagh (tournament) doesn’t matter. Being a championship team is important to us and to have that winning mentality, being a winning team is huge down the stretch here.”
Clarkson advances with shootout win
Clarkson (7-5-3) rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period against Yale to secure a 2-2 tie then advanced by virtue of a 3-1 shootout win.
Sheldon Rempal staked Clarkson to an early lead with his fourth goal of the season just over three minutes into the game. But after being outshot 11-8 in the first period, Yale (2-4-2) reversed that trend in the second and eventually took the lead.
Frankie DiChiara scored a power-play goal at 7:05 and Joe Snively slapped a one-timer past Clarkson goalie Jake Kielly at 18:56 to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. They put 14 shots on goal in the second period while allowing just seven.
“I think there were ebbs and flows,” Clarkson head coach Casey Jones said. “I thought we were the dominant team in the first period by far. I thought we out-chanced them in the first. They made a couple adjustments, started moving pucks quick on us. The ice was probably slanted their way in the second.”
Clarkson tied the game through Troy Joseph’s goal at 14:36 of the third period to force overtime.
After neither team scored in the extra five minutes, a shootout ensued to decide which team would advance to the tournament title game. Clarkson converted all three of its turns against Yale goalie Patrick Spano.
“We do a shootout every week,” Jones said. “Our guys pretty well know. We asked our guys this week, there might’ve been one there that wasn’t, but it was pretty unanimous it would be those three guys for shootouts. I try not to talk to the players. You don’t wanna get inside their head.”