SOUTH BEND, Ind. – In a tightly bunched Big Ten race, every point looms big.
So the Gophers men’s hockey team could celebrate a little Friday night when Brannon McManus scored the only goal in a shootout with Notre Dame to secure an extra point in the conference standings. Officially, the game was a 3-3 tie at the Compton Family Ice Arena, but with the extra point the Gophers are now tied for first place with Penn State, which lost 4-3 to Wisconsin.
McManus, the Gophers’ first shooter in the shootout, hit the crossbar with his shot, but the puck bounced off the back of Irish goalie Cale Morris and into the net. Notre Dame’s Tory Dello had a chance to match McManus’ goal, but he was stopped by Gophers goalie Jack LaFontaine.
The Gophers (13-11-5, 8-6-5-4 Big Ten) took a 1-0 lead on Scott Reedy’s team-leading 14th goal at 28 seconds. Blake McLaughlin made it 2-0 at 13 minutes, with Reedy getting one of the assists. But just 1:36 later, Colin Theisen scored Notre Dame’s first goal.
The Irish (12-11-6, 7-7-5-3) tied the score at 2-all just over three minutes into the second period on Nick Leivermann’s goal. Cam Morrison put the Irish ahead 3-2 on a power play with 4:34 left in the middle period.
Sammy Walker of the Gophers tied the game again, scoring at 10:13 of the third.
After a scoreless 5-on-5 first overtime, the Gophers had a great opportunity in the 3-on-3 second overtime. Reedy was awarded a penalty shot with 2:50 left but misfired.
Morris finished with 31 saves. Jack LaFontaine made 39 stops for the Gophers.