Feb. 6, 2010
Kalamazoo, Mich. – The Notre Dame hockey team entered the month of February looking to improve its standing in the CCHA playoff chase. The Irish entered Friday night’s game versus Western Michigan tied for fifth and just two points behind fourth-place Michigan.
The best laid plans went by the wayside early as the Irish started their five-game road trip with a 7-2 loss to the Broncos in front of 2,570 at Lawson Arena.
Seven different Western Michigan players got on the scoresheet as the Broncos scored the most goals against the Irish since Nov. 4, 2005 when Michigan downed Notre Dame, 8-5.
Kyle O’Kane, Jordan Collins, Jared Katz, Derek Roehl (ppg), Greg Squires, Cam Watson (shg) and Ross Henry (ppg) scored for Western Michigan while Joe Lavin and Riley Sheahan were the lone Irish players to get pucks behind Bronco goaltender Riley Gill.
The win was the first for Western Michigan since Dec. 4 and snapped an 11-game winless skid (0-8-3). Notre Dame falls to 12-12-7 on the year and 8-9-6-2 in the CCHA. The Broncos are now 7-15-5 on the year and 3-14-4-1 in conference action.
Both teams had 27 shots on goal with Gill finishing the night with 25 saves. Mike Johnson got the start in goal for the Irish and surrendered three goals on 11 shots in the first 20 minutes. Brad Phillips took over in the second period and gave up four goals on 16 shots to finish with 12 saves in the game.
Western Michigan has struggled offensively all season and came into the game having scored just four goals in its last three games. The Broncos found their offense early in the first period, lighting the lamp three times in an 8:27 span to take a 3-0 lead by the 12:50 mark.
Kane, a sophomore right wing, started the scoring run at 4:23 of the opening period when he ripped a shot from the top of the right circle past Mike Johnson for his second goal of the season.
The Broncos would get their second goal of the night of the night at 7:28 when Collins, a senior defenseman fired a slapshot from the right point through a screen and inside the right post past Johnson for his fourth of the season.
Katz rounded out the three-goal burst at 12:50 when he buried a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle off the rebound of a Greg Squires shot for his seventh of the game and a 3-0 Western Michigan lead. The Broncos out shot Notre Dame, 11-6 in the opening stanza.
Phillips took over in goal for the Irish to start the second and the move paid dividends as they broke through on Gill just 27 seconds into the middle period.
Lavin picked up the first goal of his collegiate career when he fired a shot from the left point over Gill’s glove hand and just inside the right post to cut the Bronco lead to 3-1. Kyle Lawson and Calle Ridderwall picked up assists on the play.
That was as close as Notre Dame would get as Western Michigan scored twice in a span of 1:01 to build the lead to 5-1.
At 8:06, the Broncos scored on the power play off a faceoff to the left of Phillips. Max Campbell won the draw back to Tyler Ludwig at the left point. Ludwig’s shot was deflected by Roehl at the hashmarks and slid past Phillips just inside the right post for Roehl’s third of the season.
Squires made it a four-goal advantage for Western Michigan at 9:07 when his wrist shot from the right circle found its way past Phillips for his fourth of the season and a 5-1 lead after two periods.
In the third, the Irish would get three power-play chances, including a five-minute major but failed to score. The Broncos picked up a short-handed goal at 12:33 of the period just one second before the major to Luke Witkowski ended.
Katz and Watson broke up an Irish rush at center ice and broke back on Phillips on a two-on-one. Katz took the shot that the Irish goaltender saved, but Watson was there to put the rebound in for his fourth goal of the year and a 6-1 lead.
Sheahan scored his sixth goal of the season for Notre Dame at 14:46 when he banged a centering feed from Nick Larson past Gill to make it a 6-2 game.
Henry closed out the night, getting his first goal of the season at 19:24 on a power play to close the scoring at 7-2.
The Irish will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday when the two teams close out the weekend series at Lawson Arena in a 7:35 p.m. game.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FNotre Dame (12-12-7/8-9-6-2) 0 1 1 - 2Western Michigan (7-15-5/3-14-4-1) 3 2 2 - 7
Scoring First Period: WMU: Kyle O’Kane 2 (Max Campbell, Mike Levendusky), 4:23; WMU: Jordan Collins 4 (Levendusky, Jared Katz), 7:28; WMU: Katz 7 (Greg Squires, Derek Roehl), 12:50.
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; WMU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; WMU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; WMU: 5 for 29 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 6 - 9 - 12 - 27Western Michigan 11 - 9 - 7 - 27
Goaltender Saves:ND: Mike Johnson (20:00) 8 - x - x - 8 Brad Phillips (39:54) x - 7 - 5 - 12WMU: Riley Gill (60:00) 6 - 8 - 11 - 25
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 6WMU: 2 for 3