January 23, 1999

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Junior goaltender Mike Brusseau made 24 saves and several unlikely Lake Superior players came up with timely goals as the Lakers averted a sweep of the season series with a 3-1 victory over an injury-depleted No. 8-ranked Notre Dame squad in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena.

Notre Dame’s injury woes continued, as junior right wing John Dwyer became the fourth Irish regular who was not in the lineup Saturday due to injury. Dwyer was dinged up in a collision during Friday’s 3-3 tie at Northern Michigan, joining the following players on the injury list: senior right wing Brian Urick (second game missed, hand injury), junior defenseman Tyson Fraser (fourth straight game and fifth overall missed due to lingering injuries) and sophomore defenseman Ryan Clark (eighth straight game missed following Dec. 23 shoulder surgery, 10th game missed overall).

The loss dropped Notre Dame (14-7-3, 11-6-2 CCHA) into fourth place in the CCHA, a point behind Ohio State after OSU (11-6-3) played to a 1-1 tie at home with second-place Michigan (14-3-2). The Irish remain a point ahead of Ferris State (10-7-3)-which skated to a 4-4 tie at seventh-place Bowling Green (7-9-3)-and now are just two points ahead of Northern Michigan (10-8-2), which posted the third tie of the night (1-1) at home versus first-place Michigan State (14-2-4). Notre Dame also now trails MSU by eight points and Michigan by six.

Following a 30-game conference season, the top four teams will host best 2-of-3 CCHA playoff series on March 12-14. The winners of those series then will advance to the CCHA semi-finals and finals, March 19-20 at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, with the winner receiving an automatic berth in the 12-team NCAA Tournament.

Lake Superior (4-17-3, 3-13-2 CCHA)–whose goalscorers had combined for just three goals prior to Saturday’s game–recorded two valuable points to forge a three-way tie for ninth-place in the CCHA, just one point behind Miami in the race for the eighth and final CCHA playoff spot. LSSU avoided its first ever sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, which had posted two earlier wins over the Lakers this season (4-2, 4-3).

Notre Dame went 0-for-5 on the power play (with 15 power-play shots on goal), after converting on 8-of-27 man-up chances (.296) during the previous five games.

The Irish tied the game early in the second period, on the 12th goal of the season by junior center Ben Simon, but the Lakers quickly retook the lead before stretching to a 3-1 cushion shortly before the second intermission.

Irish freshman goaltender Jeremiah Kimento–who had played just 70 minutes previously this season–took the ice in the third period in place of senior Forrest Karr (who had nine saves) and responded with an impressive eight saves and no goals allowed.

Notre Dame had a late power play chance and then opted to pull Kimento for a 6-on-4 advantage with 1:04 left to play. Sophomore left wing Jay Kopischke jumped into the play and put a shot on net, but reserve sophomore goaltender Rob Galatiuk was there for one of his eight saves.

The game boiled over in frustration during the closing seconds, when a full-blown pushing and shoving match resulted in “roughing after the whistle” penalties being on Galatiuk and each of the 10 skaters on the ice–who were forced to leave the ice before the final three seconds were played.

Dwyer’s absence brought about more shifting of the lines, with the Irish bringing back the second line of sophomore left wing Dan Carlson, freshman center David Inman and junior right wing Joe Dusbabek that skated together during the first half of the season. Senior left wing Aniket Dhadphale and Simon were joined on the first line by sophomore right wing Ryan Dolder, while sophomore left wing Chad Chipchase and sophomore right wing Matt Van Arkel returned to the third line alongside freshman center Brett Henning. Kopischke, senior center Craig Hagkull and junior right wing Troy Bagne comprised the fourth line.

The game took an interesting turn at the 7:22 mark of the final period, with the hosts owning a 3-1 lead. Dhadphale stole the puck in the LSSU zone and fired a low shot from between the circles that clanged off the left post. The ensuing pileup resulted in a roughing penalty on LSSU junior left wing Fred Slukynsky and an injury to Brusseau that brought Galatiuk into the game. But the Lakers responded with a breakaway shorthanded chance-with Kimento making back-to-back saves on freshman left wing Jeremy Bachusz-and the Irish were unable to cash in the man-up chance.

Simon put the Irish on the board early in the second period, on a play that showed why he is one of the CCHA’s top candidates for the Hobey Baker national player-of-the-year award. Passes in the back from junior defenseman Sean Molina and senior blueliner Benoit Cotnoir helped find Simon some space near the right point and he then used his speed to angle past a NMU defenseman before sliding a backhanded shot between the legs of Brusseau (0:29).

The Lakers quickly reclaimed the lead, countering an Irish rush with a charge of their own. Senior left wing Tobin Praznik took a pass from sophomore center Ryan Vince and sped down the left side before sliding the puck into the slot. Junior defenseman Tyler Palmer was filling the middle and quickly one-timed a high shot past Karr (1:49). The goal was the first of the season for Palmer and just the third of his career, in 87 games played.

LSSU padded its lead in the closing moments of the period, when freshman defenseman Tyson Turgeon and Praznik set up junior center Ben Keup’s charge from the right point. Keup skated free into the slot and Karr went sprawling at the top of the crease in anticipation of a shot, but Keup held onto the puck before nudging a backhander into the vacated net for his second goal of the season (17:59).

The hosts opened the scoring midway through the first period on a shorthanded goal by Bachusz. The play was set up when Irish junior defenseman Andy Jurkowski let the puck slip past him at the right point. Bachusz skated onto the free puck and fired a shot on net from the Irish blue line. Karr batted the puck to his right but Bachusz put the rebound inside the far post for his third goal of the season and just the third shorthanded goal allowed by Notre Dame this season (11:35).

NOTES: Just four skaters have appeared in all 24 games this season: Inman, Henning, Chipchase and Jurkowski … the Irish have allowed just five shorthanded goals in the past two seasons, with OSU accounting for the previous four … Notre Dame’s top four defensemen have combined to miss 25 games due to injury: Clark (10), junior Nathan Borega (first 8), Fraser (5) and Cotnoir (2, early in season) … Simon, who was shut out of the scoring in Fridays 3-3 tie at NMU, has points in 18 of the 23 games he has played this season and owns 88 career points in 90 games (25G-63A).

No. 8 NOTRE DAME (14-7-3, 11-6-2 CCHA) 0 1 0 – 1

LAKE SUPERIOR (5-16-3, 4-12-3 CCHA) 1 2 0 – 3

1st: LSSU 1. Bachusz 3 (unassisted), SHG, 11:35.

2nd: ND 1. Simon 12 (Cotnoir, Molina) 0:29; LSSU 2. Palmer 1 (Praznik, Vince) 1:49; LSSU 3. Keup 2 (Praznik, Turgeon) 17:59.

Shots: ND 12-10-11/33; LSSU 6-6-8/20.

Saves: ND (Karr) 5-4-x/9, (Kimento) x-x-8/8; LSSU (Brusseau) 12-9-3/24, (Galatiuk) x-x-8/8.

Power Play: ND 0-for-5, LSSU 0-for-4.

Penalties: ND 10 for 20:00, LSSU 11 for 22:00.