After the Irish won their first B1G regular season championship this past Friday night, Ohio State Buckeyes entered Saturday evening looking to play the role of spoiler. The Buckeyes wanted to make sure the Irish knew that the season wasn’t over yet and did so with a 5-1 victory over Notre Dame.
Both teams came into the first period with a very physical style of play. Both teams took a total of 21 shots in the period. The Irish had 10 shots on the Buckeyes net-minder Romeo who didn’t let any of those attempts through.
The Buckeyes made sure that one of their 14 shots on goal found the back of the net at the 8:49 mark as Matthew Weis found a way to get one by Cale Morris. The Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period saw the Irish come out with a chip on their shoulder as they were firing at will on the offensive end and were playing great defense as well.
The Buckeyes didn’t play that bad either. They attempted 18 shots of which 11 were on target. Once again, the Buckeyes were able to out hustle the Irish and found the back of the net at 8:55. This time, Matt Joyaux was the hero for OSU, putting the Buckeyes up 2-0.
The Irish were getting their fair of looks at the goal as well, but nothing was getting past Romeo. The Irish attempted 29 shots, 23 of those were on target. One of them was finally good enough to sneak by Romeo as the Cam Morrison cashed in on an Irish power play line scored at 17:35. OSU took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
After cutting the deficit to one, there was hope that the Fighting Irish could find a way to dominate the Buckeyes in the final period. OSU on the other hand had their own plans.
The Buckeyes came out in the third and set the tone early. In the first four minutes, the Buckeyes had five shots on goal to the Irish’s two.
The Irish killed of a power play in which the Buckeyes only had two shots. One minute later at 6:56, Kevin Miller found the back of the net and put the Buckeyes up 3-1. The Buckeyes didn’t let the previous goal slow them down as Sam McCormick put OSU up 4-1 at 7:53.
That goal by OSU gave Coach Jackson an opportunity to get Cale Morris off the ice and gave Dylan St. Cyr some time in goal. Cale Morris had nothing to ashamed of. In this past 23 games, the Irish net-minder faced 825 shots on goal, racking up 786 saves, while only allowing 39 goals against during that span.
In the late moments of the period, the Irish got a power play attempt and removed St. Cyr in exchange for a sixth attacker. The Irish didn’t score on the power play, but the Buckeyes took advantage of the empty net and Brendon Kearney put the puck in the empty goal for the insurance goal, pushing the final to a 5-1 Buckeye win.
Coach Jackson Post Game Press Conference
On Cale Morris coming out of the game…
“The way we were playing, I have been looking for an opportunity to get Dylan St. Cyr into the net. And I figured the first opportunity would be mop up duty. Because the kid has been working hard. I would have done it in Chicago versus Wisconsin, but that was at the end of the streak. That was a little more difficult for me to do it. ”
On what Cale has meant to the streak….
“Like I have said all season long, he has been our rock. He’s been the guy that’s made the difference in so many games. When you play sloppy like that, you can’t rely on your goaltender on two-on-ones and breakaways all the time. You are just putting him in high risk situations.
On keeping focus and avoiding the “hangover” and keeping an eye on the end game…
“I addressed it [on Friday night] a little bit, but I addressed it further on Saturday morning. It’s really up to them on how they want to finish off the regular season. We are playing for more than last night, there’s more out there. I don’t want to go into the playoffs sloppy, we are also playing for NCAA seating…We are going through to the second round [of the B1G Tournament]. Wisconsin, we beat them two games early, then you beat them on Friday night. It’s hard to beat a team four times in a row. It’s hard to beat a team two times in a row in college hockey. We need to recognize that. We took three out of four from the number six team in the country. We have to make sure we work to get better. We are going to play one of these teams in the second round of the playoffs.”