March 8, 2003
Marquette, Mich. – The Notre Dame hockey team saw its late-season drive for home-ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA playoffs come to and end as the Irish dropped a 4-1 decision to the Northern Michigan Wildcats.
Senior captain Bryce Cockburn led the Wildcats with three goals and freshman center Dirk Southern added a goal and an assist in the win. Goaltender Craig Kowalski made 34 saves to keep the Irish out of the final home-ice spot.
The lone Irish goal came off the stick of senior left wing John Wroblewski as he deflected an Aaron Gill centering pass behind Kowalski to snap the junior goaltender’s shutout bid.
The Irish, along with Northern Michigan and Miami of Ohio finish in a three-way tie for fifth-place on the season with 29 points each in the final CCHA standings. The Irish will finish seventh as both schools own the tiebreakers versus Notre Dame. Northern has one more league win (the first tiebreaker) and Miami takes it on the third tiebreaker – goal differential as they outscored the Irish 4- 3 in the series split in November.
The Irish will face the RedHawks in the opening round of the CCHA playoffs in Oxford, Ohio on Friday, March 14.
Northern Michigan came out firing in the first period, outshooting the Irish by a 16-12 margin but could score just once on Irish goaltender Morgan Cey.
Southern got the opening goal of the game at 18:51 of the first period as he lifted a rebound in front over Morgan Cey for his ninth goal of the season.
Cockburn did the remainder of the damage for the Wildcats. His first goal of the night came at 17:09 of the second period on the power play as he drilled a hard wrist shot past Cey from the bottom of the left wing circle for a 2-0 lead after two periods.
The senior right wing made it 3-0 at 8:27 of the third period when he took a centering feed from Southern behind the net and beat Cey from the low slot for his 14th of the season.
The Wildcat sniper then locked up the came at 12:29 of the final period when he beat Cey with a slapshot from the left wing circle for his 15th of the season.
On the night, the Irish outshot Northern Michigan by a 35-23 margin. Cey had 19 saves in the game.
Notre Dame failed to score on five power-play chances in the game and are now 0-for-14 over the last four games.
The Irish finish the regular season with a 15-15-6 overall record and a 13-12-3 record in the CCHA, good for 29 points. Northern Michigan goes to 18-16-2 on the year and 14-13-1 in the CCHA, for their 29 points.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 F Notre Dame (15-15-6/13-12-3) 0 0 1 1 Northern Michigan (17-16-2/13-13-1) 1 1 2 4
Scoring First Period: NMU: Dirk Southern 9 (Andrew Cotnois, John Miller), 18:51. Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; NMU: 2 for 4 minutes
Second Period: NMU: Bryce Cockburn 13 (Chris Gobert, Peter Michelutti), PPG, 17:09. Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; NMU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: NMU: Cockburn 14 (Southern, Mike Stutzel), 8:27; NMU: Cockburn 15 (Southern, Stutzel), 12:29; ND: John Wroblewski 17 (Aaron Gill, Tom Galvin), 14:26. Penalties: ND: 3 for 14 minutes; NMU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 12 – 12 – 11 – 35 Northern Michigan 16 – 4 – 3 – 23
Goaltender Saves: ND – Morgan Cey (58:45) 15 – 3 – 1 – 19 NMU – Craig Kowalski (60:00) 12 – 12 – 10 – 34
Power Plays: ND: 0 for 5 NMU: 1 for 4