Jan. 12, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. – Northern Michigan goaltender Craig Kowalski stopped all 41 shots the Notre Dame Fighting Irish fired at him and right wing Bryce Cockburn scored a pair of goals as the Wildcats blanked the Irish 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd at the Joyce Center Saturday night.
The loss gives the two teams a split of the weekend series as Notre Dame won Friday’s game 4-1. The Irish are now 8-9-5 overall and 6-6-4 in CCHA play. Northern Michigan improves to 13-7-2 on the year and moves the Wildcats two points ahead of the Irish in the league standings.
The two teams combined for 83 shots in the game with the Irish giving up a season high 42 while peppering Kowalski with 41 of their own. Freshman goaltender Morgan Cey made a career-high 38 saves in the Notre Dame loss.
Northern Michigan came out flying in the opening period firing 17 shots at Irish goaltender Morgan Cey. The freshman stopped 16 of them with the lone Wildcat goal coming off an Irish turnover.
Chris Gobert notched the eventual game-winner at 17:24 when he picked off an errant Irish clearing attempt between the face-off circles. The junior center wasted little time as he drilled a wrist shot over Cey’s glove for his sixth of the season.
The two teams traded 28 shots in the second period with Northern breaking the game open with a pair of goals 14 seconds apart late in the stanza.
Cockburn got his first goal of the night at 15:27 while he whipped a shot past Cey from the bottom of the right wing circle for his 11th of the season.
Fourteen seconds later at 15:41, Sean Owens stuffed a loose puck through Cey’s pads on a scramble to the right of the big goaltender. The goal was Owen’s fourth of the year.
The third period was a wide-open shootout as the Irish took 17 shots to 13 for Northern Michigan, but could not get one past Kowalski.
With 3:14 left in the game, Irish head coach Dave Poulin pulled Cey in favor of a sixth attacker. Cockburn closed out the scoring with an empty net goal at 18:20. Notre Dame’s Brett Lebda fired a shot at the goal only to have it deflect off Michael Chin in front. Cockburn picked up the rebound and fired it the length of the ice for his 12th goal of the season and third on the weekend.
The shutout was the first against the Irish since a 9-0 blanking at Michigan on Jan. 23.
The loss drops the Irish into seventh place in the CCHA with 16 points. They trail sixth place Ferris State by one, and fifth-place Northern Michigan by two points in the standings. Nine points separate the first 10 teams in the standings.
Notre Dame will close out its six game homestand next weekend (Jan. 18-19) when they play host to the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. Nebraska-Omaha is 12-9-3 overall and one point behind the Irish in the league standings with a 6-7-3 CCHA record.
IRISH HOCKEY NOTES:
**The Irish are 6-2-3 in the first game of each weekend series and just 2-7-2 in the second game of those series.
**Notre Dame goaltender Morgan Cey has faced 153 shots in the last four games and has stopped 144 of them for a .941 save percentage.
**Notre Dame is now 2-3-1 this season versus ranked teams.
**The last time the Irish gave up over 40 shots in a game was March 2, 2001 when Western Michigan had 41 shots on the Notre Dame goal.
**Since starting the season with an 0-4-2 mark, the Irish are 8-5-3 in their last 16 games and 6-3-1 since Dec. 1st.
No. Michigan (13-7-2/8-6-2) 1 2 1 – 4
Notre Dame (8-9-5/6-6-4) 0 0 0 – 0
First Period: NMU: Chris Gobert 6 (unassisted), 17:24.
Penalties: NMU: 3 for 6 minutes, ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Second Period: NNU: Bryce Cockburn 11 (Chad Theuer, Mike Stutzel), 15:27, NMU: Sean Owens 4 (Justin Kinnunen), 15:41.
Penalties: NMU: 1 for 2 minutes, ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: NMU: Bryce Cockburn 12 (unassisted), ENG, 18:20.
Penalties: NMU: 8 for 27 minutes, ND: 5 for 21 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
No. Michigan 17 – 12 – 13 – 42
Notre Dame 8 – 16 – 17 – 41
No. Michigan – Craig Kowalski (60:00) 8 -16 – 17 – 41
Notre Dame – Morgan Cey (58:23) 16 -10 – 12 – 38
Power Plays: NMU: 0 for 4, ND: 0 for 9
Attendance: 2,721 (sellout)