Feb. 26, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. – The 2011-12 regular season came to an end Saturday night for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they dropped a 4-2 decision to Michigan State in front of a seventh straight sell-out crowd at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The Spartans scored three unanswered goals after the Irish had taken a 2-1 lead on an Anders Lee power-play goal and a short-handed tally by T.J. Tynan midway through the second period. Kevin Walrod, Chris Forfar (shg), Torey Krug and Dean Chelios scored for Michigan State in the victory while goaltender Will Yanakeff made 27 saves on the night.
The loss gives Notre Dame a 17-16-3 overall record and a 12-13-3 mark in the CCHA, good for 39 points and an eighth-place tie with Ohio State. The Irish have the tiebreaker with the Buckeyes, giving them eighth place and home ice against OSU in the first round of the best-of-three CCHA first round playoffs beginning on Friday, March 2 at the Compton Family Ice Arena with game times to be announced.
Michigan State improved to 19-13-4 on the season and finished the CCHA regular season with a 14-11-3-2 record, good for 47 points and fifth place in the conference. The Spartans will have a first-round bye but open the second round on the road at Miami.
The evening got off to a strong start for the Irish as they jumped on top 1-0 at the 4:37 mark of the first period as Lee scored on the power play, back handing a shot from the slot past Yanakeff for his 15th goal of the season. The goal was his first since scoring two against Boston University on Dec. 31.
Senior forward Billy Maday notched his 100th career point on the goal with an assist, making him the 46th player in Notre Dame history to reach the “Century” mark. Sam Calabrese also had a helper on the play.
The Spartans would get the equalizer at 17:02 of the first as a bad line change by the Irish resulted in a two-on-one with Brett Perlini setting up Walrod for his ninth goal of the season to make it 1-1 going into the first intermission.
Irish special teams connected for the second time on the night midway through the second period as Tynan scored his second short-handed goal of the year and 13th overall at 10:57 for a 2-1 Notre Dame lead.
With the Irish short-handed, Tynan stripped a Spartan defenseman of the puck along the right boards and moved in on Yanakeff. He held the puck in front of himself before dropping it to his skates and then kicking it back to the blade of his stick and then tucking it under the Spartan goaltender to give Notre Dame its final lead of the night. The shortie was the third of the season for the Irish.
Less than seven minutes later at 17:01 of the second, Michigan State returned the favor, getting a short-handed goal of their own as Forfar finished off a two-on-one by beating Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson through the five-hole for his sixth goal of the year to make it 2-2. Center Anthony Hayes started the play by blocking an Irish shot and carrying the puck down the ice before setting up Forfar. The short-handed goal was the third given up by the Irish this season.
The Spartans weren’t done in the middle period as they took the lead for good at 19:18, scoring off a face off in the left circle with Hayes again setting up the play. The junior center won the draw off the left boards back to Krug on the left point. The junior fired a slap shot that beat Johnson low to the ice just inside the left post for Krug’s 11th goal of the year.
Notre Dame out shot the Spartans by a 9-3 margin in the second period but trailed surrendered two goals.
The Irish would have their chances in both the second and the third periods but couldn’t get anything else past Yanakeff as he made 16 of his 27 saves in the final two periods.
Michigan State would get an insurance goal at 9:13 of the third period to lock up the victory as Chelios drilled a shot from the right face-off dot that appeared to deflect off an Irish defender in front and end up behind Johnson for the final of 4-2. The goal was Chelios’ eighth of the year and came off assists from Perlini and Matt Berry. Perlini’s assist was his second of the night.
For the night, the Irish out shot the Spartans by a 29-19 margin. Johnson finished with 15 saves on the night.
Joining Notre Dame with home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs is Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State as those schools finished sixth and seventh in the standings. Northern will play host to Bowling Green while the Lakers will face off against Alaska next weekend. Ferris State finished first, followed by Michigan, Western Michigan, Miami and Michigan State. Those teams will have a bye and return to action the weekend of March 9th in the best-of-three second round with Ferris, Michigan, Western Michigan and Miami hosting second round series.
** IRISH NOTES ** ** The Irish honored their senior class of 2012 prior to the game as graduating seniors – manager Joe Baroz, Nick Condon, Patrick Gaul, Sean Lorenz, Billy Maday, Eric Ringel and Rich Ryan – and their parents were celebrated in pre-game ceremonies. All five active seniors – Condon, Gaul, Lorenz, Maday and Ryan played in the game.
** Notre Dame’s sell-out crowd of 5,022 on Saturday night was the 11th of the season in 17 home games at the Compton Family Ice Arena with the last seven coming consecutively.
** Sophomore center T.J. Tynan will share the CCHA scoring title with Michigan State defenseman Torey Krug as both players finished with 29 points in CCHA conference games. Tynan finished with nine goals and 20 assists for his 29 points while Krug had 11 goals and 18 assists for his 29.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#14/#13 Michigan State (19-13-4/14-11-3-2) 1 2 1 - 4rv/#18 Notre Dame (17-16-3/12-13-3-0) 1 1 0 - 2
Penalties: MSU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: ND: T.J. Tynan 13 (unassisted), SHG, 10:57; MSU: Chris Forfar 6 (Anthony Hayes), SHG, 17:01; MSU: Torey Krug 11 (Hayes), 19:18.
Penalties: MSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: MSU: Dean Chelios 8 (Perlini, Matt Berry), 9:13.
Penalties: MSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Michigan State 9 - 3 - 7 - 19Notre Dame 12 - 11 - 6 - 29
Goaltender Saves:MSU: Will Yanakeff (60:00) 11 - 10 - 6 - 27ND: Mike Johnson (59:25) 8 - 1 - 6 - 15
Power Plays:MSU: 0 for 3ND: 1 for 5
Attendance: 5,022 (sellout)