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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Hockey: It takes a shootout, but Notre Dame sweeps Lakers at home

No. 9 Notre Dame won its first ever sudden death shootout Friday night and finished a sweep of Lake Superior State with a 5-2 win the next day to extend its winning streak to six games.

"Since we lost to Miami a few weeks ago, we really wanted to bounce back and get some points in the league here. That really matters," sophomore Calle Ridderwall said.

The Irish dropped a pair of games to Miami on Oct. 24 and 25, the last time they were in South Bend, but they haven't lost a game since.

Ridderwall was played a large part in keeping that streak going with the game-winning goal in sudden death Friday night and a goal and two assists on Saturday.

True freshman Billy Maday scored Notre Dame's only goal in the regular shootout, but Irish goalkeeper Jordan Pearce stopped two out of three as well, sending the game to sudden death.

Ridderwall was first to shoot for the Irish. He deked to his backhand, weaved across the crease and flipped a shot over Lake Superior's Brian Mahoney-Wilson.

"I pretty much had the whole move planned out and luckily it worked out. I've been practicing that move for a long time," he said.

Junior wing Nathan Perkovich had a chance to force another round for Lake Superior, but Pearce was up to the challenge and made the save.

"[Pearce] handled it very well. He made a couple of big saves for us and won the game," Irish coach Jeff Jackson said.

Pearce had 40 saves when all was said and done, including several big stops late in the game.

"They definitely put a lot of heat on me and had a lot of chances," Pearce said.

Notre Dame pushed the game to overtime on a goal from sophomore Ryan Guentzel with just under 10 minutes left to tie the game 3-3. Guentzel's first goal of the year came on a rebound off of a Justin White shot from the point.

"[That line] probably generated as many scoring chances as any of our lines tonight because they executed the game plan," Jackson said.

Guentzel's goal came just over a minute after Lake Superior had taken the lead on a shot from senior Josh Sim.

Ben Ryan and Christiaan Minella also added goals for the Irish earlier in the game.

"[Minella]'s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He's big and strong along the walls. He can be an effective player for us," Jackson said. "I'm happy for him, it's good to see him have success."

Minella added another goal in Saturday's win to bring his season total to three through 11 games.

After a slow start to the first period on Saturday, Notre Dame finished the weekend series with a little more authority, with three unanswered goals in the final two stanzas.

"To be able to bounce back tonight, especially after the mediocre first period we had, was just huge for us," senior center Christian Hanson said.

Hanson assisted on two of the three late goals, including Ridderwall's goal, which sealed the game with about three minutes remaining.

Irish defenseman Brett Blatchford, working with a 5-on-3 advantage, started the play with a shot towards the net, which Hanson deflected to Ridderwall to finish.

"I saw Hanson's stick, he's a big body in front, so I was just shooting for his stick trying to get a tip. He didn't tip it on goal but he made a real nice play to tip it to Calle back door," Blatchford said.

Senior captain Erik Condra, sophomore Teddy Ruth and Maday also scored on the night to round out an impressive 5-2 win.

"It was a good night all around and hopefully we can have a good week of practice and come out and do the same thing next Friday night," Jackson.

Next Friday, the Irish welcome Bowling Green to the Joyce Center for another CCHA matchup