Notre Dame hockey wins Big Ten Championship in OT thriller

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(Tom Franklin/95.3 MNC)

Before the season, it seemed improbable. Before OT, it also possibly seemed improbable given how the last two periods went.

But, in their first year in the Big Ten Conference for hockey, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-9-2) have captured the conference title, beating Ohio State (24-9-5) 3-2 in an overtime thriller.

The Irish got off to a hot start early. Bo Brauer scored just four minutes in, with Jake Evans providing the helping hand. A little over 10 minutes later on the power play, Matt Hellickson blasted a slapper past Buckeyes goalie Sean Romeo with just over five minutes left. The Irish led in shots 10-7 and Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year Cale Morris wasn’t tested too much.

That would change in the second period, when Ohio State would pepper Morris with 17 shots. One of those shots, a screened effort by Brandon Kearney, would go in.

Then, barely a minute into the third period, the Buckeyes would tie it up when Matt Miller’s wrister would find a way in between Morris’s left arm and the near goalpost. The assault on Morris would continue, but the Irish had numerous chances in the final three minutes to tie it up. However, Romeo would stand tall and force overtime.

The offensive attack continued for the Irish into OT and right at about the halfway point of the 20 minute period, Cam Morrison would streak in from the wing, collect a pass from Evans, pick his spot, and fire it past Romeo’s left glove for the title-clinching goal and first star honors after the game.

Update: The Irish are a No. 1 seed in the Frozen Four NCAA hockey tournament and will face No. 4 seed Michigan Tech (22-16-5). The Huskies won the WCHA title to get in the tournament.

•NOTRE DAME 3, OHIO STATE 2

At South Bend

1st period

ND — Bo Brauer (5) [Jake Evans (28), Bobby Nardella (18)], 15:51

ND — Matt Hellickson (3) [Cal Burke (10), Andrew Peeke (9)], 5:30 (PP)

2nd period

OS — Brandon Kearney (5) [Matt Miller (11), Gordi Myer (11)], 13:39

3rd period

OS — M. Miller (7) [Tanner Laczynski (28)], 15:53

Overtime

ND — Cam Morrison (8) [Evans (29), Dennis Gilbert (6)], 10:37

Shots: Ohio State 43 (7-17-12-7), Notre Dame 38 (10-10-9-9); Saves: Ohio State 35 (Sean Romeo), Notre Dame 41 (Cale Morris); Faceoffs won: Ohio State 28, Notre Dame 27; Power plays: Ohio State 0-1, Notre Dame 1-2; Penalties-Time: Ohio State 3-6, Notre Dame 2-4.

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