SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame hockey team rebounded to take the final game of a weekend series against Wisconsin, defeating the Badgers 5-2 on Saturday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena (5,331).
Notre Dame (16-11-3, 9-9-2-2 B1G) outpaced Wisconsin (10-15-5, 6-9-5-2 B1G) on special teams, scoring three power-play goals to make the difference on the night. In total, 10 Irish players tallied points as Notre Dame registered five goals for the second time in three games.
"We knew it was getting to the time of the year when we need to win games so I think for us it was just important to get back to our game," Dylan St. Cyr said after the victory. "Today was a big game for us and I think our team played well and we stepped up with five goals today."
Freshman forward Michael Graham led the way for the Irish with his fourth multi-goal game of the season, scoring two of Notre Dame's three second-period goals. With his performance, Graham took the team lead in goals with 11 and earned his first multi-point game since stringing together three such performances from Jan. 18-25 (a two-game series with Wisconsin and the first game of a stint at Michigan State).
Also netting goals were Colin Theisen, Jake Pivonka and Cal Burke. Andrew Peeke, Bobby Nardella and Burke each totaled two assists, while Matt Hellickson, Mike O'Leary, Tory Dello and Cam Morrison recorded an assist apiece.
Wisconsin's two goals provided the game's bookends, as the Badgers scored at the 2:25 mark of the first period (Matthew Freytag) and the 15:49 point of the third (Sean Dhooghe).
Irish sophomore Dylan St. Cyr made his sixth appearance of the season Saturday, accumulating 32 saves — one short of a season high — and a .941 save percentage en route to third-star honors. Wisconsin starter Daniel Lebedeff made 18 saves and allowed four goals in two periods of action, while reliever Jack Berry totaled eight saves and one goal in the third period.
The Irish converted on three of six power play chances, while the Badgers went 0-for-3. Wisconsin committed eight penalties to Notre Dame's five.
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-1 | Theisen ripped a one-timer from the right circle as the Irish capitalized 30 seconds into their first power-play chance at the 9:28 mark of the first period. After his first shot in the series was blocked, Theisen buried his eighth goal of the season when Cal Burke sent it back from the opposite circle for an open look. Hellickson also assisted on the play.
2-1 | The Irish netted their second power-play goal of the night when Graham redirected a pass from the slot past Lebedeff to give the Irish the lead just 3:33 into the second. Peeke and Nardella registered assists on the play.
3-1 | Pivonka's second career goal came at 12:04 of the second when he streaked into the slot and converted on Burke's pass from the goal line, while Nardella added a secondary assist for his second of the night.
4-1 | Graham registered his second goal of the night — and his team-leading 11th of the season — on a one-timer from the top of the right circle. O'Leary and Dello were the helpers on the play that gave the Irish a three-goal lead with less than two minutes until the second intermission.
5-1 | Burke added to his point total with his first goal since Nov. 30 (vs. RPI), scoring on a give-and-go with Morrison. Peeke added the second assist.
The Fighting Irish will play their final regular-season road series next weekend at Minnesota on Feb. 22-23. Friday's game will televised by the Big Ten Network (9 p.m. ET) and Saturday's game will be on Fox Sports North (5:30 p.m. ET).