NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two goals late in the second period and then two more early in the third made the difference in a 6-3 victory by No. 11/12 over the Michigan State hockey team on Friday night at Compton Family Ice Arena. Cody Milan scored twice for the Spartans (9-13-3, 5-8-2-2) while Patrick Khodorenko had a pair of assists.
With the Spartans trailing 2-1 late in the second period and having created several quality chances, Notre Dame was able to grab ahold of the game with two goals in a span of 27 seconds in the final 1:40 of the period. Notre Dame added two more goals just over four minutes into the third period and while the Spartans pushed back a pair of goals in a 22-second span later on, they were unable to get any closer.
MSU outshot Notre Dame (14-8-2, 7-6-1-1) in all three periods and 52-31 for the game.
“There were an awful lot of things I thought we did well and when you get around 50 shots on goal against Notre Dame, you’re doing something right,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “There are things we’ve been doing well that we didn’t do tonight. Notre Dame deserved to win tonight – they played a good game - and we’ll be better tomorrow.”
The Irish got the only goal of the opening stanza as Dylan Malmquist got the puck from Michael Graham between the circles and put a wrister past MSU goaltender John Lethemon.
Malmquist scored the first of three Notre Dame power-play goals on the night 2:48 into the second to make it 2-0.
The Spartans got on the board less than four minutes later, making good on a 5-on-3 power play. Mitchell Lewandowski let a one-timer go from the right circle that goaltender Cale Morris stopped, but the rebound bounced to Khodorenko just off the side of the net. Khodorenko whipped the puck across the ice to Milan, who one-timed it past Morris from just off the left post.
The Spartans had several other good scoring opportunities on the remainder of the 5-on-4 power play and more later in the period, but Notre Dame struck for a pair of goals in a 27-second span to take a 4-1 lead.
Cam Burke got the third UND goal with 1:40 to go in the period, scoring off a snap shot from the right circle following some extended pressure by the Fighting Irish in the MSU end.
Tory Dello made it 4-1 when he rushed up ice into the MSU zone and scored on a shot from the slot.
Three Spartan penalties early in the third period led to three power plays and the Irish capitalized on two of them to extend their lead to 6-1. Michael Graham got both power-play goals, scoring at 1:53 and 4:12, respectively.
Taro Hirose, the nation’s leader in points, extended his point streak to five games with a goal at the 10:09 mark to make it 6-2. Off a turnover in the UND end, Khodorenko got the puck to a wide open Hirose, who didn’t miss.
Just 22 seconds later Milan got his second of game as he found the puck during a scramble in front and was able to lift it into the net.
Milan’s goal extended his point streak to a season-long four games.
“He’s been aggressive and assertive,” Cole said of Milan. “Look at where he’s scoring all his goals, they're all right around the net.”
The Spartans and Fighting Irish will meet in game two of the series on Saturday at 7 p.m.