The young guns came through for the Gophers at Compton Family Ice Arena Saturday night.
Minnesota freshman Jake Bischoff (New York Islanders) scored the winning goal with 11:03 remaining as the top-ranked Gophers (6-1-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Notre Dame 5-4 to split the two-game road series. All five Minnesota goals were scored by freshmen, including two by Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles Kings).
"That was not our best performance last night," said Fasching, who recorded his first career multi-goal game Saturday. "We had a lot better effort tonight. A lot better result too."
Mario Lucia (Minnesota Wild) scored twice for the Fighting Irish (7-3-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East), who came back to tie the game after being down by two goals on 3 separate occasions.
Minnesota came out firing early a night after losing 4-1 in a five goal first period. The Gophers scored two goals in the opening 10:29. Taylor Cammarata put the Gophers ahead 1-0 on the power play with his 3rd goal of the season. Fasching then followed up with a wraparound past Steven Summerhays, who made 29 saves Saturday.
Justin Kloos' third tally of the season was sandwiched between goals by Notre Dame's Shayne Taker and Lucia. Mario, entering tonight with 2 goals in nine games, scored with 16 seconds left to give the Fighting Irish momentum. Rather than being down by two, Notre Dame headed into the second period trailing only by a 3-2 score.
Discipline and special teams doomed the Gophers, 0-4 with the man-advantage Friday while giving up 2 power play goals, last night. For a stretch in the second period, it appeared that history would repeat itself in South Bend.
Fasching's fifth goal of the season gave Minnesota a 4-2 lead. Lucia, playing against his father's team, made up for not getting a shot last night with his second goal of the night. The sophomore forward tapped home a Vince Hinostroza shot past Adam Wilcox with 6:22 left in the second.
Unfortunately for Hinostroza, Notre Dame's leader with 9 assists, that was the highlight of his game. Three minutes later Tom Serratore hit the freshman near center ice with a knee-on-knee hit. Hinostroza did not return to the game while Serratore received a five minute major for kneeing.
With Kyle Rau (Florida Panthers) already in the box for interference, the Fighting Irish enjoyed a 5x3 power play. Notre Dame had another one when Rau was called for contact to the head 19 seconds after getting out and Stephen Johns, the player hit, made the Gophers pay in the last minute for the second consecutive period. Johns tied the game at 4 with just 1.5 seconds left.
It wasn't the prettiest win, but for Don Lucia there was a positive for his team besides his son scoring on them twice.
"The bottom line is we had a lot of young guys who came in and responded in a real positive manner with their performance tonight and helped our team grow," he said.
Minnesota returns home next weekend to face Minnesota State. Both games begin at 7:00 p.m. CT and will air on FSN+.
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate