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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Irish drop two, finish last at Shillelagh Tournament

Notre Dame dropped a pair of decisions over the weekend — a 3-2 overtime loss to Union on Friday and a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Ohio State on Saturday — to finish last at the Shillelagh Tournament at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The Irish (6-8-2, 2-2-2 Hockey East) grabbed a 2-0 lead for the fourth time in five home games Friday, but like the previous three, they were not able to hold onto the lead.

The defending national champion Dutchmen (7-6-1, 1-4-1 ECAC) got the first goal back coming off a faceoff in the Irish zone with just under 12 minutes to play in the game. After sophomore forward Mike Vecchione won the faceoff for Union, sophomore defenseman Jeff Taylor carried the puck below the blue line. A centering pass found freshman forward Spencer Foo in front of Irish sophomore goaltender Chad Katunar, and Foo put the biscuit in the basket for his seventh goal of the year, closing the gap to 2-1.

With fewer than four minutes remaining, Irish freshman defender Luke Ripley took a hooking penalty, and the Dutchmen used the man advantage to tie the game with 1:45 left in regulation. Union sophomore forward Michael Pontarelli centered a puck in the attacking zone that deflected off junior forward Matt Wilkins and into the Irish net, past Katunar, who finished with a career-high 35 saves.

Irish junior forwards Steven Fogarty and Sam Herr celebrate a goal during Notre Dame’s 3-2 overtime loss to Union on Friday.
Michael Yu | The Observer
Michael Yu | The Observer
Irish junior forwards Steven Fogarty and Sam Herr celebrate a goal during Notre Dame’s 3-2 overtime loss to Union on Friday.
Wilkins and the Dutchmen managed the equalizer late in the third period and scored the winner even later in overtime. In the final minute, Notre Dame was caught committing too many men forward, providing Union an opportunity on an odd-man rush. Dutchmen junior defenseman Sebastien Gingras sent a cross-ice pass to Wilkins who buried it to give the visitors the overtime win with just 22 seconds left on the clock.

Notre Dame went ahead just seven minutes into the game when junior forward Sam Herr scored his sixth goal, roofing a backhand over the glove of Union senior goaltender Colin Stevens while the teams were in the midst of a line change.

The lead grew to 2-0 with five minutes left in the second period when senior forward Austin Wuthrich deflected a Ripley shot from the point past Stevens. Junior forward Thomas DiPauli was also credited with an assist on the play, his ninth of the year.

Although it marked the fourth time the Irish had surrendered a 2-0 lead at home, it was the first time Notre Dame lost a game after such a lead.

After dropping a close decision Friday, the Irish suffered a significant defeat in the third-place game Saturday against Ohio State (5-8-1, 1-1-0 Big Ten).

A pair of goals in the first 13 minutes of the game propelled the Buckeyes to an early two-goal lead, one they would not surrender en route to a 5-1 victory.

Buckeyes junior defender Blake Doerring jumped on a rebound to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game, and senior forward Tanner Fritz doubled the visitors' advantage five minutes later when he fired a wrist shot from the circle past Irish freshman goaltender Cal Petersen.

Petersen finished with 23 saves.

With 56 seconds remaining in the first period, however, the Irish pulled to within a goal when junior forward and captain Steven Fogarty put a rebound past Buckeyes sophomore goaltender Christian Frey. Assists were credited to DiPauli — his team-leading 10th of the year — and senior forward Peter Schneider.

The momentum was short-lived for the Irish, and Ohio State stretched its lead back to two goals just before the six-minute mark of the second period.

An interference penalty on Irish sophomore defenseman Justin Wade gave the Buckeyes a power play, and Fritz bagged his second goal of the game.

Buckeyes freshman defenseman Victor Björkung scored his first career goal to pad his team's lead 88 seconds into the final stanza, and senior forward Derek Angeli bagged the game's final goal with nine minutes to play.

The Irish were 0-for-6 with the man advantage on the weekend and have now failed to score on 21 consecutive power plays.

Western Michigan won the Shillelagh Tournament crown with a 6-2 win against Ohio State on Friday and an 8-2 triumph over Union in Saturday's title tilt.

Notre Dame will return to Hockey East play this weekend as it visits last-place UMass. Puck drop in Amherst, Massachusetts, is slated for 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights.