Feb. 3, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. – Junior left wing Nick Larson deflected a David Gerths’ shot past Bowling Green goaltender Andrew Hammond early in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and give Notre Dame a 2-1 win over the Falcons in front of a sellout crowd of 5,022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The win got the Lefty Fest weekend off to a good start as former players, coaches, staff members, family and friends turned out to honor the Irish coaching legend – Charles “Lefty” Smith – who passed away on Jan. 3.
T.J. Tynan opened the scoring in the first period and Bowling Green’s Ted Pletsch answered in the second for the only other goals on the night.
The victory was the second in a row for the Irish and improved the overall record to 16-10-3 and 11-7-3-0 in the CCHA race, good for 36 points. The win jumped the Notre Dame from sixth place to a tie for third with Miami and Ohio State. The Irish go into Saturday’s action just one point behind second-place Ferris State and two behind first-place Western Michigan. The Falcons are now 8-16-5 overall and 3-14-4-3 in conference play.
“It’s that time of the year when every game is going to be like this – gritty and tough. Everybody is battling for playoff position,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson following the game.
“Bowling Green is a much improved team as I said going into the weekend. They play hard and they play a smart, tactical game. They don’t give you time to make plays and they have good defensive sticks and they block a lot of shots. They are playing with a lot of confidence. We were fortunate. It was a tough game.”
The teams traded 22 shots in the opening period with the Irish having a 12-10 edge. They also scored the only goal with T.J. Tynan cashing in at the 14:55 mark for his 12th goal of the season.
Freshman Austin Wuthrich started the play deep in his own zone as he hit linemate Anders Lee with a pass at the Notre Dame blue line. Lee carried through the neutral zone and tried to hit Tynan with a pass as he tried to go wide down the left side on the Bowling Green defense. The puck hit Tynan in the skates and then bounced through the BG defenders. The sophomore center was able to corral it in the high slot, make a move on goaltender Andrew Hammond and deposit it behind the Falcon goaltender for a 1-0 lead.
Hammond finished with 11 saves in the period to 10 for Irish starter Mike Johnson.
“I thought Mike (Johnson) really played well tonight. He made some big saves early in the game and again at the end. I always expect the same effort out of him. Like I’ve said, as long as we get consistent goaltending I’m a happy guy,son” said Jackson.
Bowling Green showed there grit and tenacity in the second period as the Falcons netted the only goal of the period with Pletsch doing the honors at 18:19 to send the game to the intermission tied 1-1. Defenseman Ryan Peltoma moved the puck down the right boards to right wing Dan DeSalvo who threw it behind the net. As the play went towards the left wing boards, Pletsch grabbed it behind the net and came out the right side, tucking a shot inside the right post for his fourth goal of the season.
Defenseman Stephen Johns moved the puck ahead to Gerths who carried it into the Bowling Green zone. He pulled up near the right circle and fired a shot at Hammond in the BG net. Before it ever got to him, Larson flashed in front and got his stick on the puck deflecting it up under the cross bar for his fifth goal of the season and second in as many games to give the Irish the lead, 2-1.
The lead almost went to 3-1 at 7:19 off a scramble around the Falcon net. Defenseman Sean Lorenz fired a shot from the right point that Hammond stopped. The puck landed in the crease and it looked like Lee pushed it over the goal line. The officials waved off the goal and after review ruled that it had been directed into the net off a player’s hand and the score remained 2-1.
From there it was up to Johnson and the defense as they held Bowling Green to six shots in the third with the junior goalkeeper stopping all six on his way to a 24-save night. Hammond finished with 25 stops in the game.
The two teams will close out the big CCHA weekend series on Saturday at the Compton Family Ice Arena at 7:05 p.m.
** IRISH NOTES **
** Prior to Friday night’s game, the children of former coach Lefty Smith dropped the ceremonial first puck on the Lefty Smith Rink. Sons Michael and Tom did the honors and were backed up by their five sisters – Chris, Cindy, Cheryl, Sheila and Mary Beth.
** Notre Dame’s line of Austin Wuthrich – T.J. Tynan – Anders Lee extended their point streaks and for Tynan a goal-scoring streak. Wuthrich now has points in four straight games (2-2-4), Lee has points in four straight (0-6-6) and Tynan has points in three straight (3-1-4) and goals in three straight (3-1-4). With his goal, Tynan now has 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points. He has played in 72 career games and has 91 career points (35-36-91).
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FBowling Green (8-16-5/3-14-4-3) 0 1 0 - 1#6/#8 Notre Dame (16-10-3/11-7-3-0) 1 0 1 - 2
Penalties: BGSU: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Second Period: BGSU: Ted Pletsch 4 (Dan DeSalvo, Ryan Peltoma), 18:19.
Penalties: BGSU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Penalties: BGSU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Bowling Green 10 - 9 - 6 - 25Notre Dame 12 - 6 - 9 - 27
Goaltender Saves:BGSU: Andrew Hammond (58:36) 11 - 6 - 8 - 25ND: Mike Johnson (59:46) 10 - 8 - 6 - 24
Power Plays:BGSU: 0 for 2ND: 0 for 2
Attendance: 5,022 (sellout)