SOUTH BEND, IND. – Blake McLaughlin scored with eight seconds left to give the Gophers a 2-1 victory over No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday night.
It was McLaughlin's second goal of the season. The freshman forward from Grand Rapids scored his first goal Friday, when Minnesota won 5-1. So this was quite a weekend for him and his team — the Gophers’ first series sweep of the season.
“For a team trying to grow up, this was just crazy,” coach Bob Motzko said. “We kind of got a gift there.”
With this win, the Gophers (9-8-4, 6-3-3 Big Ten) took sole possession of second place in the Big Ten, just two points behind Ohio State.
Notre Dame, the defending conference regular-season and tournament champion, remains in sixth place in the seven-team league.
“We were not pretty at times tonight,” Motzko said, “but we have a work ethic, we have a goalie and we do special teams pretty well. And how critical was it tonight to win the special teams battle on the road.”
The Irish outshot the Gophers 13-6 in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead on Jack Jenkins’ goal at 7:29.
But the Gophers tied the score on Brannon McManus’ power-play goal midway through the second period just nine seconds after Notre Dame was called for too many men on the ice. Tyler Sheehy and Rem Pitlick had assists on the play.
Sheehy also had an assist on McLaughlin’s goal.
The Gophers were 1-for-5 on the power play, Notre Dame 0-for-2.
Mat Robson had 34 saves, 15 in the third, for the Gophers; Dylan St. Cyr had 24 stops for the Irish (12-8-1, 5-6).
“I have been saying it for a while,” Motzko said, “and I think people will believe it now — I like this team.”