Goals By Period
All Evan Barratt could do was shake his head. Notre Dame had just taken the lead early in the third period on what could understatedly be called a controversial goal.
The goal counts. Here's the contact on Jones. pic.twitter.com/FTdx3cCnxQ— David Eckert (@davideckert98) December 14, 2019
The Fighting Irish of recent years have an annoying — to opponents, that is — habit of taking a slim lead and milking the clock with suffocating defense. Penn State has been on the receiving end of that style more than once.
This time, though, the Nittany Lions wouldn’t get frustrated and wouldn’t be denied.
Just a few minutes after that Fighting Irish goal, Paul DeNaples leveled the game. Not even two minutes later, Evan Barratt gave Penn State the lead with a power play tally. Barratt’s goal stood as the game winner as Penn State topped Notre Dame 4-2.
Though the Fighting Irish were riding a five-game losing streak and Cale Morris hasn’t been his usual self this season, coach Guy Gadowsky knew this wasn’t a weekend the Nittany Lions could take lightly.
Through two periods, Morris certainly looked like the goaltender who won back-to-back Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards, stopping 27 shots through 40 minutes. Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, Morris’ counterpart outdueled him.
Peyton Jones, who has struggled the past two seasons to find the consistency that Morris has patented, stopped 40 Fighting Irish shots, including 16 in the third period. The only pucks that got past Jones were the controversial third period tally and a fluky bounce off Kris Myllari’s stick in the opening frame.
How It Happened
In a fast-paced period with several odd-man rushes, Notre Dame opened the scoring in one of the more unconventional manners. As Kris Myllari was trying to move the puck behind the net, Cam Morrison tied up his stick, forcing the Penn State defenseman to play the puck off Peyton Jones’ pad and into the net.
As the two teams exchanged chances and power plays during the second period, the Nittany Lions leveled the game at one midway through the period. Brandon Biro caught the Fighting Irish in the middle of a line change as hit Denis Smirnov on a stretch pass. As Smirnov moved in on a breakaway, he froze Cale Morris and lifted a backhand shot over the goaltender’s pad.
Early in the third period, the Fighting Irish regained the lead, but not without a bit of controversy. After making a blocker save, Jones was bumped by Morrison, twisting the goalie around so his back was facing the play. Moments later, with Jones still trying to locate the puck, Alex Steeves picked the top corner from the slot.
A few minutes later, Paul DeNaples leveled the game at two as he unleashed a rocket from the right circle that found the corner over Morris’ blocker.
Not even two minutes later, Evan Barratt put Penn State in front with a power play tally. As the Nittany Lions weaved an attack into the offensive zone, Barratt found a bit of space in the left circle and fired a wrist shot past Morris’ blocker.
Aarne Talvitie added an empty net goal with under 90 seconds to play to seal the win for Penn State.