For the Gophers men's hockey team to beat No. 1 Notre Dame, the recipe for success included a few ingredients: Control the puck, play tenacious defense and get to the gritty areas near the Fighting Irish crease.
And, oh yeah, get a puck past Irish goalie Cale Morris, one of the nation's best netminders.
It took more than 63 minutes, but that's what happened Friday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Casey Mittelstadt scored with 1:25 left in overtime, ending a tight defensive battle, giving the Gophers a 1-0 victory over Notre Dame and setting off a raucous celebration in front of an announced crowd of 8,501.
"To get this one against the No. 1 team is huge, and to get one tomorrow would be even bigger,'' said Mittelstadt, the freshman center from Eden Prairie who banged home the winner after Morris couldn't corral the puck on a shot by Rem Pitlick.
With the victory, the Gophers (16-12-1, 7-9-1-1 Big Ten) moved into a three-way tie for fourth in the conference with Penn State and Wisconsin after the Badgers beat the Nittany Lions. Notre Dame (19-5-1, 13-2) lost its second consecutive game after a 16-game winning streak.
"It was a classic game, the type we thought it would be — especially as it went along," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "We didn't crack. That was the big thing for us; we stayed with it."
It would have been understandable to crack against Morris, the nation's leader in victories (18) and save percentage (.951) entering Friday. Morris made 32 saves and was especially solid in the second period, when he stopped 13 Gophers shots on goal.
"We knew if we were going to beat them, it would have to be a low-scoring, patient, 'let's not try to force plays that aren't there' type of game,'' Lucia said.
Instead of Morris notching the shutout, that accomplishment went to Gophers sophomore goalie Mat Robson, who made 25 saves and blanked a No. 1-ranked team for the second time this month. On Jan. 7, Robson had a 34-save, 2-0 shutout of then-No. 1 St. Cloud State.
Robson relished the challenge of facing Morris.
"You definitely know his stats coming in, and you never really want to be bested at your own position," said Robson, who improved to 4-1.
Robson's approach as the game wore on and the score remained 0-0 was simple: "Make the next save.''
The Gophers carried play for most of the night, leading 31-21 in shots on goal through regulation and 58-40 in shots attempted for the game. The Gophers' penalty kill was solid, denying the Irish on their three chances.
No kill was more important than late in the third period, when Gophers winger Brannon McManus was sent to the box for tripping with 2:49 left. Notre Dame got two shots, but nothing past Robson. "Our penalty kill did a really good job tonight, especially at the end with the big one," Lucia said.
That kill set the stage for overtime, and Mittelstadt's winner. "[Pitlick] shot it, and it was just laying there,'' Mittelstadt said. "I'll take it."
Saturday night comes the sequel.
"We took it to them for a good 60 minutes there," Robson said. "They're a good team, and we're a good team. It'll be fun to do it all again tomorrow."