March 5, 2000
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Senior center Ben Simon continued his torrid play by scoring two goals but Michigan State matched Notre Dame with three power-play goals of its own en route to a 5-3 victory, in penalty-marred Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday night at the Munn Ice Arena.
Notre Dame (14-16-5, 110-10-7 CCHA)-which already had secured home ice for its first-round CCHA Tournament series-continued to play well on the power play, as all three of the Irish goals came in man-up situations. Notre Dame has scored at least one power-play goal in 10 of its last 12 games, with 23 of the team’s last 41 goals (56.1 percent) coming on the power play, including four-of-five during the weekend series with MSU.
Irish freshman Tony Zasowski allowed five goals on 17 shots, before giving way to sophomore Jeremiah Kimento with five minutes left to play in the second period. The five goals are the most allowed by Zasowski in 21 games (he entered the night with an Irish-record 2.27 season goals-against average). Kimento stopped all nine shots he faced, while seeing his first action in seven weeks.
Simon-who pushed his season goal total to 12 and his career total to 43-has totaled six goals and six assists in his last seven games. He has seven goals and two assists in 11 career games versus MSU, while the rest of the Irish team has totaled just seven career goals versus the Spartans.
Senior right wing Joe Dusbabek assists on all three of the Irish goals, giving him a career-best 26 points this season (8G-18A) and 16 points in his last 15 games played (5G-11A). He totaled just 23 points in the previous two seasons combined.
Prior to allowing the five goals on Saturday, Notre Dame had posted a 2.45 team GAA in the previous nine games (25 goals allowed in nine games).
Michigan State (23-10-4, 18-8-2 CCHA) clinched a second-place finish in the CCHA and will play host to ninth-place Miami (10-15-3). Junior right wing Rustyn Dolyny led the Spartans on Saturday with two goals and one assist while senior center Shawn Horcoff’s three assists gave him the CCHA scoring championship (11 goals, 45 assists), edging Michigan’s Mike Comrie by a single point.
The game featured season highs by Notre Dame for penalties (22), penalty minutes (52) and power-play chances (11) while MSU’s 14 penalties and 16 power-play chances likewise were most by an Irish opponent this season. The teams combined for 80 penalty minutes and 27 power-play opportunities.
The home team remains unbeaten in each of the last eight games of the series (6-0-2), with the Irish dropping their last five games at Munn (outscored 16-6 in those games). Notre Dame’s three goals were its most versus MSU in the last eight games of the series, since a 6-1 win at Munn in 1997-98.
The Irish claimed a 1-0 lead midway through the first period-thanks to a strong individual effort from Simon-but the Spartans took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, after a rebound goal by junior left wing Sean Patchell and Dolyny’s power-play shot from the left circle.
MSU stretched to a 5-1 cushion in the second period, thanks to Dolyny’s 5-on-3 goal, a fluttering goal from the point by sophomore defenseman Jon Insana and a tip-in score by sophomore right wing Adam Hall.
The Irish made things interesting in the early moments of the third period, with junior left wing Jay Kopischke tapping in a pass from Dusbabek at t he 2:01 mark. Just 50 seconds later, the visitors had a length 5-on-3 chance (for 1:18) but failed to convert, with the final 36 seconds of the second power play wiped out by a costly too-man-men-on-the-ice penalty.
But three minutes later, the Irish again had a substantial 5-on-3 chance and were able to convert during the 5-on-4 portion, with Simon’s alertly scoring after a deflected shot from Dusbabek.
The penalty-marred game ended in an unusual way, as Carlson’s 10-minute major and four separate minors led to five Irish players being in the penalty box, with 1:03 left to play (Carlson was sent to the lockerroom to make room in the box).
* ND 1, MSU 0 – The scoring sequence came just seconds after a 5-on-3 chance had ended, with MSU clearing the puck into the Irish zone … ND quickly moved the puck out of its own end, as passes from senior D Tyson Fraser and Dusbabek moved the puck to Simon at the middle faceoff circle, with several MSU players still up-ice … Simon used his speed to beat freshman D Brad Fast down the right side and angled back towards the goal before tucking a forehand shot inside the far left post (8:20).
* ND 1, MSU 1 – Junior RW John Nail sets up the goal with a shot from the center of the left circle, with Patchell slapping home his own rebound for his seventh goal of the season (11:01).
* MSU 2, ND 1 – Power-play passes from Horcoff and freshman D John-Michael Liles set up Dolyny at the center of the left circle … Dolyny has time to size up his shot before sending a low blast by a crowded crease area and inside the far right post (12:12).
* MSU 3, ND 1 – Horcoff and Maloney draw assists on Dolyny’s 13th goal of the season, during a 5-on-3 … Dolyny skates free towards the top of the slot before wristing a left-side shot by Zasowski’s blocker (7:51).
* MSU 4, ND 1 – Insana flutters a shot from the right point over Zasowski’s shoulder for just his third goal of the season, with Maloney and Horcoff again picking up the assists (12:18).
* MSU 5, ND 1 – Maloney passes to Dolyny, whose power-play shot from the left point is tipped in by Hall for his CCHA-leading 23rd goal of the season (15:27).
* MSU 5, ND 2 – Dusbabek gathers a loose puck behind the MSU net and sends a pass to Kopischke for a tap-in score that gave Kopischke his fifth goal of the season and first point in eight games (2:01).
* MSU 5, ND 3 – Junior LW Dan Carlson sets up Dusbabek’s shot from the high slot … the puck is deflected near the right goalpost, with Simon banking the rebound off Blackburn for the 5-3 final (8:30).
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Regular-season champion Michigan (19-6-3) dropped a 6-3 home game to Bowling Green on Saturday … the Wolverines will host 10th-place Western Michigan (10-15-3) in the first round … MSU will welcome a ninth-place Miami team (10-15-3) that dropped a 2-1 home game to 11th-place Ohio State (9-16-3) … Lake Superior (17-9-2) won 3-1 at home on Saturday, completing a sweep of upper peninsula rival Northern Michigan (16-8-4) and vaulting LSSU ahead of NMU into the No. 3 spot … the Lakers will play host to eighth-place BG (12-15-1) while the Wildcats will entertain seventh-seeded Nebraska-Omaha (10-12-6) … Notre Dame’s first-round opponent Ferris State (13-13-2) finished just one point behind the Irish, after a 7-0 rout of visiting WMU … if one of the 7-10 seeds pulls a series upset, the ND-FSU winner would play host to the March 14 “play-in” game (pitting the lowest two remaining seeds, after the five first-round series) … if two of the 7-10 seeds pull off upsets, the ND-FSU winner advancing to the semi-finals (at Joe Louis Arena) without having to worry about the play-in game … if the top four seeds win, then the ND-FSU winner would have to travel to NMU for the play-in game.
NOTES: Simon’s 12 goals this season include 10 on the power play, including each of the last five (his 31 goals prior to this season included just 11 PPGs) … ND dropped to 8-2-1 this season when scoring two-plus PPGs … the Irish dropped to 1-5-1 during the final week of the regular season, during the five-year Dave Poulin era … Carlson has 10G-7A in the last 12 games … Simon’s recent surge gives him 128 career points (43G-85A) in 140 games, leaving him three points shy of the cracking Notre Dame’s top 20 career scoring list … despite allowing multiple PPGs in Saturday’s game, the Irish penalty kill went 13-for-16 and is 36-for-42 (.857) during the last seven games … as the Irish head to the postseason, they hope to ride the leadership and experience of a group of eight seniors and five juniors that has combined for 1,454 career games played (not counting third-string G Kyle Kolquist, 2 GP, and injured LW Chad Chipchase, 92) … the senior class alone has combined for 958 career games played … senior D Sean Molina played in his 144th career game on Saturday, becoming just the sixth Irish player to reach that milestone since 1982, with the others including: RW Brett Bruininks (145, ’92-’96), F/D Brian McCarthy (144, ’93-’97), C Steve Noble (148, ’94-’98), C Lyle Andrusiak (44, ’94-’98) and RW Brian Urick (146, ’95-’99) … the senior D foursome of Molina, Fraser (127), Nathan Borega (136) and Sean Seyferth (63) has combined for 470 career games played … ND’s defensive pairings have remained unchanged since New Year’s Eve (18 straight games), with the only exception being the Feb. 19 game at Bowling Green (when junior Ryan Clark did not play due to injury) … Molina and Borega skated together in 32 of the 38 regular-season games (18 straight), Fraser and Seyferth in 27 (18 straight) and Clark and freshman Evan Nielsen in 26 (17 of the last 18) … Dusbabek is one of seven veterans with career-high point totals this season: Molina (1G-8A), senior LW Andy Jurkowski (4G-8A), Seyferth (2G-4A), Carlson (16G-16A), junior RW Ryan Dolder (7G-14A) and Kopischke (5G-4A) … the Irish again played without three of their top left wings: Jurkowski (hand injury, could return for the FSU series), sophomore David Inman (illness) and Chipchase (knee surgery), with freshman Michael Chin again shifting from right to left wing.
NOTRE DAME (14-16-8, 11-10-7 CCHA) 1 0 2 - 3MICHIGAN STATE (23-10-4, 18-8-2 CCHA) 2 3 0 - 5
1st: ND 1. Simon 11 (Dusbabek, Fraser), PP, 8:20, MSU 1. Patchell 7 (Nail, Hodgins), 11:01, MSU 2. Dolyny 12 (Liles, Horcoff), PP, 12:12.
2nd: MSU 3. Dolyny 13 (Maloney, Horcoff), 5-3, 7:51, MSU 4. Insana 3 (Horcoff, Maloney) 12:18, MSU 5. Hall 23 (Dolyny, Maloney), PP, 15:27.
3rd: ND 2. Kopischke (Dusbabek), PP, 2:01, ND 3. Simon 12 (Dusbabek, Carlson), PP, 8:30.
SHOTS: ND 13-4-7/24, MSU 7-10-9/26.
SAVES: ND 5-7-9/21 (Zasowski, 35:27, 5-7-x/12, Kimento, 24:33, x-0-9/9), MSU (Blackburn) 12-4-5/21.
POWER PLAY: ND 3-for 11, MSU 3-for-16.
PENALTIES: ND 22 for 52:00, MSU 14 for 28:00.