Goals By Period
Notre Dame hasn’t looked like its usual self this season. Aside from an uncharacteristic six-game losing streak, the Fighting Irish have been relying more on offensive prowess to win games than their usual defensive, bleed-the-clock-dry style.
That style made its return against Penn State, and on Saturday night, ended the Fighting Irish losing streak. The Fighting Irish built a three-goal lead through two periods, then settled into their suffocating style of defense en route to a 3-0 win.
Entering the weekend with a .894 save percentage, Cale Morris also made a return to his usual form, stopping 37 shots for his first shutout of the season. Morris had to be at his best during that third period, when the Fighting Irish were outshot 13-1.
The only shot that beat Morris was a point shot from Paul DeNaples that was immediately called off due to Sam Sternschein standing in the crease.
Morris received plenty of help from those in front of him. The Fighting Irish committed themselves to closing off shooting lanes, blocking seemingly countless shots over the final two periods of play.
Saturday’s contest marked the third time this season and second time in conference play the Nittany Lions have been shut out.
Despite that, the Nittany Lions remain five points clear of Ohio State and Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. Both the Buckeyes and Spartans played out-of-conference series this weekend.
The Nittany Lions have played two more conference games than any other Big Ten team, however, and will open the second half of the season with non-conference games against Niagara and Robert Morris.
How It Happened
Midway through the opening period, the Fighting Irish took advantage of a turnover in the Nittany Lions’ zone. Jesse Lansdell intercepted a pass from Kris Myllari and set up Max Ellis, who buried a one timer over Peyton Jones blocker.
The Fighting Irish doubled their lead midway through the second period shortly after a power play expired. Matt Hellickson fired a cross-ice pass to Alex Steeves, who one timed a shot through the legs of Jones.
Later in the period, Graham Slaggert knocked in the rebound of a point shot to extend the Fighting Irish lead to 3-0.