SOUTH BEND, IND. – There's an old saying in hockey about players only being as good their last shift.
And while the Gophers men's hockey team did plenty of good Friday — most notably rallying from a two-goal deficit to tie Notre Dame with two power-play goals in the last five minutes of the third period — one of those last shifts led to the visitors' demise.
Sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross, a Maple Grove native, scored with 1 minute, 56 seconds left to lead the Fighting Irish to a 4-3 victory at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Gross sneaked from his usual spot on the right point down to the top of the far faceoff circle and blasted a cross-ice feed from forward Jake Evans past Gophers goalie Eric Schierhorn for his second goal of the game.
"I was happy the way we battled back. The first few games, we didn't do anything on the power play and all of a sudden we've got goals in three straight games," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "It's just disappointing to give up that late goal."
The Gophers' rally started when Notre Dame freshman Dylan Malmquist, a former Edina standout, was assessed a major penalty for elbowing with 7 minutes, 38 seconds left in the third period and Irish defenseman Luke Ripley was sent off for a crosscheck a little more than two minutes later, giving the Gophers a two-man advantage.
Leon Bristedt needed only 10 seconds to score his second goal of the game, a shot from the high slot that dribbled past goaltender Cal Peterson with 5:09 remaining. The Gophers drew even with 3:22 left when Hudson Fasching poked a puck past Peterson during a goal-mouth scrum for his team-high fourth goal of the season.
''We came back strong in the end," Bristedt said. "It's good we proved the power play can score goals."
After a scoreless first period, Notre Dame (4-1-2) dominated the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Anders Bjork scored on a 2-on-1 before the Gophers (2-4) countered when four Irish skaters were unable to clear a loose puck in front of goalie Cal Peterson. Fasching got to it and tapped it to Bristedt, standing all alone to Peterson's right, for the easy finish.
"Those are the ones that give you confidence," Bristedt said. "It doesn't matter how they look."
Malmquist gave the Irish a 2-1 lead in the second period, sending a one-timer past Schierhorn for his team-leading fifth goal of the year. That advantage grew to 3-1 when Gross' shot from just inside the blue line appeared to carom off the skate of a Gophers defenseman and into the net only 43 seconds before intermission.
"We're not good enough to have a bad period," Lucia said. "We're not good enough to make some mistakes and overcome that, especially on the road."