The Gophers men's hockey team's recent run of strong play came to a screeching halt Friday night.

Cole Knuble scored twice, Maple Grove's Danny Nelson had a goal and two assists and Notre Dame chased Justen Close and routed the eighth-ranked Gophers 6-1 at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.

"We have to get back on top of our game," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "We'll have some things to point out on film and they've got to come ready to play tomorrow."

The Gophers (18-8-5, 11-6-4 Big Ten) came into Friday 9-1-1 in their past 11 games, including 6-1-1 in conference play. But they lost for the first time since a 3-2 defeat at Michigan State on Jan. 26, a game in which they gave up three third-period goals, the last coming with 4 seconds left in regulation.

This time, they were done in by a four-goal second period. Knuble scored at 1:30 and 8:23 before Landon Slaggert made it 4-0 with his 18th goal of the season, putting in a rebound at 11:18. That ended Close's night as the veteran goalie — the Big Ten first star of the week for each of the past two weeks — was replaced by Nathan Airey, having given up four goals on 14 shots to the Irish (15-14-2, 9-10-2).

BOXSCORE: Notre Dame 6, Gophers 1

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Aaron Huglen scored for the Gophers at the 16:53 mark of the second, his seventh goal in the past 14 games, but Nelson restored the four-goal Irish lead by scoring with 36 seconds left in the period. The Irish punctuated their victory with a power-play goal from Drew Bavaro with 3:07 remaining in the third, the only goal of the game that wasn't scored at even strength.

That was all more than enough for Ryan Bischel. The former Benilde-St. Margaret's athlete and last season's Big Ten Goaltender of the Year made 31 saves for Notre Dame, which ended a three-game losing streak. The Gophers had lost at Notre Dame only twice in 11 games over the past five seasons, with both losses coming in overtime.

Airey, the freshman in his second official Gophers appearance and first against a conference opponent, stopped 12 of 14 shots.