Notre Dame traveled down to the University School of Milwaukee (USM) to take on arguably the biggest game at the start of the year. USM’s season got off to a rough start with a 5-3 loss to Muskego Ice Force. Notre Dame was yet to play this season.
In the first period, both sides had quite a few opportunities. Neither team wanted to give too much up in the first even with a couple of penalties going each way. Both goalies stayed solid, providing both the zero-zero draw after the first.
The second period ended with a draw as well, but the offense opened up for both sides. USM led in the offensive zone possession and created many opportunities. Jack Torinus, a USM senior, led to a great forecheck which led to a Notre Dame defenseman coughing up the puck. The turnover led to a shot from the point that was redirected a couple of times off players and landed in front of the net. A frenzy for the puck in front of the net led to a great clear by a Notre Dame defender off the goal line.
After another turnover, Notre Dame’s Lleyton Jaschke makes another fantastic save. Towards the end of the period Notre Dame made a push on offense but USM goalie Mason Griener kept the puck out with a few decent saves.
The third period started with a big bang as both traded huge hits and decent chances with both goalies making saves. About 6 minutes in, Notre Dame is pushing offensively but still can’t find a way to put one away. A major chance by Notre Dame off the rush for a 2-on-1 is stopped by USM’s Griener on a low shot and pushes the puck into the corner.
USM creates a few chances after the 10-minute left mark and can’t slot any away. The game is opening up at this point as both teams are pushing for offense. Another Notre Dame chance on a breakaway and another amazing five-hole stop by USM’s Griener.
USM then counters on the power play and another big bail-out but this time by Notre Dame’s goalie Jaschke. Notre Dame’s James Flanigan scores after a scramble in front of the net is put away with an assist by Nathan Antti. With 1:30 left, USM pulled their goalie for a chance at tying but they were never able to set up a decent chance to score which led to an empty net goal with 13 seconds left in the game by Notre Dame's Bryce Dahl.
Both goalies deserved a win but one has to come out on top but only one could. Notre Dame’s Jaschke ended the night with a perfect 30 for 30 coming out to a clean save percentage. USM’s Mason Griener made 20 saves on 21 shots for a save percentage of .952. Notre Dame’s next game is in Superior against the Spartans at in Eau Claire. USM plays at home against the Fond Du Lac Cardinals on Friday at 7pm.