Undermanned for a critical home game, Notre Dam coach Jeff Jackson welcomed contributions Saturday from throughout his lineup.
Four different players scored and goalie Cal Petersen made 31 saves in leading No. 17 Notre Dame to a 4-1 victory over No. 12 Vermont. After a 4-4 tie Friday, the Irish captured three valuable conference points with a win in the series finale.
“It’s probably one of our best 60-minute efforts of the season,” Jackson said. “Maybe we’re designed to give up the first goal. Maybe we play better. I’d rather give up the first goal and win the game than give up goals in the third. But I thought we did a good job of controlling the puck and that’s where it all starts from.”
Notre Dame (15-9-4, 8-5-3 Hockey East) entered the game without top four defenseman Bobby Nardella (lower body injury), center Connor Hurley (undisclosed) and winger Joe Wegwerth (lower body injury).
On top of that, Matt O’Donnell gave Vermont (16-9-3, 8-6-2 Hockey East) a 1-0 lead at 14 minutes of the first period. Liam Coughlin picked up the assist.
However, the Catamounts couldn’t solve Petersen again.
Andrew Oglevie scored with speed at 14:50 of the second, shooting a wrist shot past Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas to finish off an odd-man rush, for his second goal of the series.
Notre Dame then vaulted into the lead with 18 seconds left in the period on a goal by defenseman Jordan Gross, who put a wrist shot through Lekkas after a Vermont turnover during a four-on-four stretch. Each team had a player in the box serving minor penalties.
“I thought it was a pretty good hockey game,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “I thought we were playing great until that four-on-four situation. It was a 1-1 hockey game but I thought we had some really good shifts throughout that period. I thought our guys did a pretty good job of coming out in the third and putting that behind them. But then, obviously, we didn’t do a great job on that one play.”
More goals came in the third period for Notre Dame from unlikely sources.
Winger Mike O’Leary, a freshman, scored with just under five minutes remaining for his first collegiate goal. Cal Burke then added an empty netter at the 18:05 mark for his second of the season. Defenseman Dennis Gilbert assisted on both.
“It was huge,” said Petersen, who added a secondary assist to Burke’s goal. “That’s something we’ve been kinda looking for the entire year. It’s obviously tough for young guys to come in and make an impact right away. I think, like I was saying, probably the biggest thing is those guys having confidence and playing larger roles and being successful —- being able to be a legitimate part of a victory for us. They should be really excited and really proud of the production.”
Hockey East roundup
Merrimack 2, at Connecticut 2
Evan Richardson and Spencer Naas each scored to give Connecticut a 2-0 lead by the 5:28 mark of the third period, but it didn’t last. Ludvig Larsson scored two late goals to pull Merrimack into a tie it maintained through overtime. Larsson scored his second with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
No. 10 Massachusetts-Lowell 8, New Hampshire 2
Jake Kamrass had two goals and Nick Marin had a goal and two assists as UMass Lowell routed New Hampshire. Mattias Göransson also had a goal and two assists. Lowell had a 3-2 lead at the second intermission before scoring five unanswered goals in the third period, during which Nick Master had a goal and an assist. Tyler Wall made 21 saves.
No. 15 Providence 5, Maine 3
Anthony Florentino netted a hat trick in leading Providence to a win and series sweep of Maine. Florentino scored in each period, including what turned out to be the game-winner in the third when he put Providence up 4-2 at the 5:47 mark. Erik Foley scored an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining after Maine had pulled to within a goal.