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Gophers men’s hockey comeback falls short in 3-2 overtime loss to Notre Dame

Junior co-captain Ben Meyers and junior Bryce Brodzinski scored their 11th goals, tying for the team-high this season.
Image by Ethan Fine
Defenseman Ryan Johnson skates away from his opponent with the puck during the Gophers’ matchup against Notre Dame, Oct. 29, 2021. The Gophers won, 4-1.

After a slow first period, the No. 10 Gophers men’s hockey team’s comeback against No. 11/12 Notre Dame fell short as they lost to the Fighting Irish 3-2 in overtime on Saturday night.

Because of penalties, Minnesota (15-11) struggled to gain offensive zone time in the first period.

The Gophers had the opportunity to build momentum as they got the game’s first powerplay just 3:25 into the action. However, they took a penalty just 13 seconds into their man advantage. Then, Notre Dame quickly capitalized during the four-on-four play.

Max Ellis opened up the scoring 4:30 into the game after he buried a long-range shot from just inside the blueline to give Notre Dame an early 1-0 lead.

The Gophers earned their second powerplay of the night, 6:10 into the first, but another penalty 27 seconds later negated the man advantage.

Minnesota took one more penalty in the first period to make matters worse. Although they killed Notre Dame’s advantage, momentum was still not in their favor.

To top off their penalty-filled first period, the Gophers conceded another goal. Notre Dame’s Trevor Janicke scored after receiving a cross-crease pass while on a two-on-one rush from Landon Slaggert to put the Fighting Irish up 2-0 with 3:15 remaining in the first.

But Minnesota quickly got back to their dominating form in the second period, similarly to Friday night’s game, as they outshot Notre Dame 12-3 and cut into the Fighting Irish’s lead.

Just 1:27 into the middle frame, junior co-captain Ben Meyers buried a one-timer into the back of the net from the slot off a beautiful feed from junior Jackson LaCombe to cut Notre Dame’s lead in half at 2-1.

The Gophers started the third period just like they did in the second, building momentum by scoring another early goal.

Junior Bryce Brodzinski beautifully re-directed junior Ryan Johnson’s pass from the point off the crossbar and into the back of the net just 1:23 into the third just after their powerplay expired.

The rest of the regulation play was a battle. Both teams saw offensive scoring opportunities, but the goaltenders kept things knotted at 2-2, so the game went into overtime.

Overtime did not serve the Gophers well. Notre Dame’s Slaggert buried his own rebound just 32 seconds into extra time to prevent Minnesota from sweeping his team for the second time this season.

Meyers and Brodzinski both tallied their 11th goal in the loss, tying each other for most on the team this season.

The Gophers will return home next weekend when they host Michigan State on Friday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. at 3M Arena at Mariucci.

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