Jan. 14, 2012
Kalamazoo, Mich. – Special teams were the name of the game on Saturday night as Western Michigan scored a pair of power-play goals while holding Notre Dame to one as the Broncos handed the Irish a 3-1 loss in front of a sellout crowd of 4,237 at Lawson Arena.
Matt Tennyson and Chase Balisy scored power-play goals and Jordan Oesterle added an insurance goal at even strength to lead Western Michigan to a series sweep of the Irish. T.J. Tynan had the lone Notre Dame goal, scoring on a power play in the second period. The Broncos were 2-for-5 with the man advantage while the Irish were 1-for-7.
The sweep was the first time that the Irish have been swept in a weekend series in the CCHA since Feb. 5-6, 2010 when Western Michigan did the trick, winning twice at Lawson Arena.
The loss drops third-ranked Notre Dame to 13-8-3 overall and to 8-5-3-0 in the CCHA. The sweep improves the 10th-ranked Broncos to 12-7-5 on the year and 9-4-3-3 in conference play.
Western Michigan got the only goal of the first period, scoring on a 5-on-3 power play at 13:17. Tennyson hammered a slap shot from the left point that got by Irish goaltender Mike Johnson just inside the left post for his seventh goal of the season. Dennis Brown and Shane Berschbach picked up assists on the goal.
In a penalty-filled second period, the Broncos made it 2-0 at 11:57, this time scoring on a four-on-three power play. Berschbach drilled a slap shot on goal that Johnson kicked out. Balisy grabbed the rebound in the slot and fired it past Johnson for his ninth goal of the season.
Notre Dame finally got on the scoreboard at 15:46 as Tynan scored his ninth of the year on a 5-on-3 opportunity. The Irish had 1:37 of the two-man advantage and poured the pressure on Bronco goaltender Frank Slubowski before Tynan scored. Nick Larson deflected a shot into the corner where Billy Maday grabbed it. He passed it to Tynan who moved into the slot before ripping a shot past Slubowski to cut the Bronco lead to 2-1.
The teams combined for 13 penalties in the middle period with the Irish getting five for 10 minutes and the Broncos eight for 19 minutes.
Notre Dame would outshoot Western Michigan, 8-4, in the third period but the Broncos scored the lone goal at 3:52 on an outstanding rush by Oesterle. The freshman defenseman carried the puck down the right boards and got around an Irish defender, cutting toward the goal at the bottom of the face-off circle. He fired a shot that beat Johnson under the cross bar for his second goal of the season. Defensive partner Dennis Brown picked up his third assist of the game.
The Irish finished the night outshooting the Broncos by a 26-22 margin. Slubowski picked up his second win of the weekend, making 25 saves. Johnson had 19 stops for the Irish as he made his first start in a regular-season game since December 9th at Ferris State.
Notre Dame will have to regroup quickly as the Irish face a huge test next weekend as they host the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 20-21 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Game time both nights is 7:35 p.m.
** IRISH NOTES **
– With the win, Western Michigan wins the season series, 2-1-1.
– With his goal, T.J. Tynan extended his point streak to four games. He now has three goals and three assists in his streak that dates back to Dec. 9 at Ferris State.
– Notre Dame has scored at least one power-play goal in 19 of its 24 games this season.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#3/#3 Notre Dame (13-8-3/8-5-3-0) 0 1 0 - 1#11/#10 Western Michigan (12-7-5/9-4-3-3) 1 1 1 - 3
First Period: WMU: Matt Tennyson 7 (Dennis Brown, Shane Berschbach), 13:17.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; WMU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 5 for 10 minutes; WMU: 8 for 19 minutes.
Third Period: WMU: Jordan Oesterle 2 (Brown), 3:52.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; WMU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 7 - 11 - 8 - 26Western Michigan 11 - 7 - 4 - 22
Goaltender Saves:ND: Mike Johnson (58:09) 10 - 6 - 3 - 19WMU: Frank Slubowski (59:49) 7 - 10 - 8 - 25
Power Plays:ND: 1 for 8WMU: 2 for 5