MANCHESTER, N.H. — For the second consecutive game Cam Morrison netted the game-winning goal, lifting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a 3-2 overtime victory over Clarkson to advance to Saturday's NCAA Northeast Regional Final against Massachusetts.
The No. 3 seed Irish (23-13-3) used an extra attacker goal late in the third period to force overtime against No. 2 seed Clarkson (26-11-2) at the SNHU Arena (5,033).
"There's so many momentum swings in the game whether you call that the penalty shot or killing off a five minute major, that's what these games are all about its just momentum and whoever handles that momentum the best generally ends up winning," head coach Jeff Jackson said.
Colin Theisen nearly opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game on a breakaway chance but his shot was turned away by Clarkson goaltender, Jake Kielly.
The Golden Knights got on the board first when Marly Quince scored from a sharp angle with 3:04 left in the opening stanza to give Clarkson a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Irish posted the first eight shots on goal, and held an 11-6 advantage in the category after 20 minutes, but couldn't beat Kielly in the frame.
Having been denied a goal in the first period, Theisen tied the game at one with a shot on the blocker side under the bar. The Golden Knights answered shortly after and the Irish entered the second intermission looking to even the score again.
With less than three minutes remaining in regulation and the Irish trailing 2-1, they chose to pull Cale Morris in favor of the extra attacker. The move paid off for Notre Dame as Bobby Nardella tied the tally at two with 2:20 to go in the third period.
The two teams skated to the overtime period with a 2-2 tie and each had a fair amount of chances early in the extra period. At the 8:27 mark of overtime, Clarkson's Michael Underwood was called for hooking as he attempted to stop Cal Burke from firing a shot on net. The penalty resulted in a penalty shot for Burke but Kielly got just enough of it to record the save.
Notre Dame broke the stalemate at 15:53 in the first overtime period when Morrison buried one top shelf from just outside the crease, propelling the Irish to the Northeast Regional Final Saturday night where they will face UMass.
Through 75 minutes of hockey, the Irish fired 39 shots on goal while allowing just 22. Morris finished the night with 20 saves while Kielly had 35.
Both teams were perfect on the penalty kill with the Irish turning away all shots on their four kills though Clarkson was able to kill off a five-minute Notre Dame power play early in the third.
Notre Dame Goal Descriptions
1-1 | Colin Theisen evened the score as Michael Graham intercepted a clearing pass in the neutral zone and sent it up to Cal Burke who skated it over the blue line. Burke passed the puck across ice, through a sliding defender and onto the stick on Theisen, who fired a shot under the blocker of Kielly at 4:58 of the middle frame.
2-2 | As the final minutes of regulations ticked by, the Irish made a push to send the game to overtime. With the extra attacker on the ice, Bobby Nardellaburied a wrister top shelf with the help of Cal Burke and Andrew Peeke.
3-2 ND | Cam Morrison scored the game winning goal at 15:53 as he lifted the puck high from just outside the crease, beating Kielly. Michael Graham picked up the puck along the boards and brought it towards the net before Kielly batted it away. Morrison then picked up the loose puck to net the game-winner. Nardella posted the second assist on the play for his second point of the night.
The Irish will play in an NCAA Regional Final for the third consecutive season when they take on UMass at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 (ESPNU). Massachusetts, the No. 1 seed, blanked Harvard 4-0 to advance to the regional final.
The Irish recorded the first eight shots on goal, holding the Golden Knights without a shot through the first 14 minutes of play.
Notre Dame is now 4-0-3 in overtime this season.
Notre Dame is now 3-0-0 in overtime NCAA Regional games in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Morrison's goal against Clarkson was his third postseason goal of the season and his second consecutive game winner.
Morrison now boasts eight goals and 13 postseason points in 17 career playoff games.
With two assists in the win over Clarkson, Cal Burke has six career playoff assists and eight points (2-6-8) in 11 games.
Colin Theisen's goal early in the second period was his first collegiate playoff goal while Bobby Nardella's game-tying goal was his first in the NCAA tournament.