See-saw battle ends with Irish hockey loss to Sacred Heart

(Tom Franklin/95.3 MNC)

Fresh off of last weekend’s challenges against the undisputed number one team in the land, the Denver Pioneers, the No. 5-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-2-1 overall) found a stubborn challenge out of another team of Pioneers: Sacred Heart University (2-2-0) as they fell in a back-and-forth slugfest 6-4 Thursday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend.
The Irish didn’t waste any time as Cal Burke scored barely a minute into the game to put the Irish up 1-0.
A back and forth second period ensued as Sacred Heart’s Vito Bavaro and the Irish’s Dawson Cook traded goals within two minutes of each other. Two more goals would be traded towards the end of the period, when the Pioneers’ Liam Clare tied the game, then the Irish’s Andrew Oglevie scored with about two and a half minutes left in the period to give the Irish a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The plucky Pioneers just kept coming at the Irish as Bavaro banked home his second of the night about three minutes into the final stanza and Zach Tsekos gave Sacred Heart their first lead of the evening at the 12:30 mark in the third period. But the Irish did not give up, as Joe Wegwerth won a battle in the crease and banked it home on the power play with a little over 8 minutes remaining. And yet, the Pioneers still did not quit as Bavaro completed his hat-trick just over a minute later and Jordan Kaplan stuck the final dagger in the empty net right at the final buzzer to give Sacred Heart a 6-4 win on the road over Notre Dame.
The Irish lost despite holding the 36-28 shots-on-goal advantage. Irish goalie Dylan St. Cyr stopped 22 Pioneer shots.
The Irish finish their two-game set with Sacred Heart Friday night. Next week, Nebraska-Omaha will invade the Compton Family Ice Arena for a two-game non-conference set on Thursday and Friday night.

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