SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Cam Morrison and Alex Steeves each netted goals, but the #6 Irish fell to Michigan 4-2 in the first outdoor college hockey game held at Notre Dame Stadium. The contest was played in front of a record crowd of 23,422 fans, the most to ever watch a home Notre Dame hockey contest.
The Fighting Irish (12-6-1, 5-4-0-0 B1G) and Wolverines (7-7-6, 3-4-4-2 B1G) will close the regular season series against each other on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at Compton Family Ice Arena.
The Wolverines got off to a quick start, scoring twice in a 16-second span in the first five minutes before taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. Joseph Cecconi scored at the 4:42 mark before Will Lockwood found the net at 4:58 to make it 2-0. Nearly five minutes later, Nolan Moyle beat Cale Morris at 9:54.
Morrison deflected a shot by captain Andrew Peeke past netminder Hayden Lavigne to put the Irish on the board 5:30 into the middle frame. The hosts continued to push hard to get within one goal, but entered the final period with a two-goal deficit.
Steeves pulled the Irish within one with 2:48 to play but the Wolverines scored on an empty net in the final minute to secure the 4-2 victory.
Lavigne finished with 30 saves for the Wolverines, while Morris stopped 38 of 41 shots in net for the Irish.
The Irish finished 1-for-4 on the man advantage while going a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
IRISH GOAL DESCRIPTIONS
1-3 | The Irish got on the board at 5:30 of the second when Cam Morrison got to the net and redirected Andrew Peeke's shot from the left circle to convert on the power play. Dylan Malmquist also added an assist on the play.
2-3 | Notre Dame made it a one-goal game with just 2:48 to play when Alex Steeves corralled the puck after an offensive-zone faceoff and fired a shot past Lavigne from the top of the left circle.
Coach Jackson's Thoughts
On the outdoor atmosphere...
"It was a great crowd, the weather was good for us and the ice was good. I thought it was a great event with a great opponent. Everything was positive in that regard. For me, it's being in this place, walking down that tunnel. The history of this building and just the history of the people that have been in that locker room and have walked down that tunnel, it's a great thrill. I'd love to do this again someday, maybe as our own event. The NHL did a great job helping us through this whole event."
On the rest of the season...
"There were a couple funky goals in the first period and you're chasing the game for 60 minutes. They're not an easy team to come back on. We have to recognize the rest of the way is all Big Ten [conference play] and this conference is going to be challenging; it's going to be a tough second half for us. I think we're in a good position, we just have to take control of the ice and steal an occasional road game. I was encouraged by our team's attitude. They could've gotten down after the first goal but they didn't. They stayed up and had a good approach. They battled right to the end and that's a positive sign going forward."
Cam Morrison has now scored a goal in five of his last six games dating back to Nov. 30 vs. RPI. He has collected seven points (5G, 2A) in that span.
Dylan Malmquist has recorded a point in five of his last six games dating back to Nov. 30 vs. RPI (3G, 4A).
Alex Steeves has now collected four points in three career games against the Wolverines (3G, 1A).
Saturday's game marked the third outdoor game in the modern era of Notre Dame hockey, having previously played against Miami at Soldier Field in Chicago (W, 2-1 on Feb. 17, 2013) and versus Boston college at Fenway Park in Boston (L 4-3 on Jan. 4, 2014)
Notre Dame's previous outdoor game goal-scorers include: Mario Lucia and Jeff Costello versus Miami and Lucia, T.J. Tynan and Bryan Rust versus Boston College.
The original site for Notre Dame hockey, dating back as far as 1912, was outdoors at the current site of Badin Hall and Saint Mary's Lake (the area where Badin hall is located was flooded in order to use as a rink).
Notre Dame's most recent outdoor home game from the early years of the program took place on Thursday, January 20, 1927 against the Michigan College of the Mines (Michigan Tech).
Notre Dame returns to Compton Family Ice Arena next weekend (Jan. 11-12) for a pair of tilts against Big Ten foe Minnesota. Puck drop for both contests is set for 7 p.m. ET.