Saunders stops Notre Dame as North Dakota nets tight road victory
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Seventh-ranked North Dakota edged No. 6 Notre Dame 2-1 despite being outshot 36-17 in a fast-paced and physical non-conference tilt at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday. North Dakota goalie Clarke Saunders kicked out 35 of 36 shots while Nick Mattson and Danny Kristo supplied the offense for the visitors.
The stat sheet suggested a dominant performance by the host Fighting Irish as Notre Dame held a 73-35 edge in shot attempts. Yet North Dakota minimized the number of quality scoring chances and capitalized on its own timely opportunities.
Mattson's goal, a rocket from the high slot through traffic, opened the scoring with 3.8 seconds left in the first period. North Dakota was outshot 18-6 in the peroid, its largest deficit of the year.
Kristo then extended the lead to 2-0 while on the power play just 2:49 into the second period. Center Corban Knight found Kristo with a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone, and Kristo streaked in on Notre Dame's Steven Summerhays, going forehand to backhand before going top shelf for his fifth goal of the season.
Saunders' lone blemish came during one of Notre Dame's five power play chances. The Fighting Irish won an offensive zone faceoff to set up a point shot, and Anders Lee banged home a rebound just six seconds into the power play.
Lee nearly tied the game in the final three minutes of the third period, again with Notre Dame on the power play. Saunders made a save down low and the puck squirted free in the goalmouth to Lee, who swiped the puck into the net as the referee whistled the play dead.
UND held Notre Dame to just four shots on goal in the final 20 minutes on its way to improving to 6-2-3 overall and 3-2-0 in non-conference play.
Summerhays made 15 saves for Notre Dame, which went 1 for 5 on the power play. UND went one for two with the man advantage.