Jordan Pearce made 20 saves in the 3-1 loss to Ohio State on February 22.

Irish Fall To Buckeyes At Home, 3-1

Feb. 23, 2008

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Notre Dame, Ind. – Second period goals by Tommy Goebel and Patrick Schafer erased a 1-0 Notre Dame lead as the Ohio State Buckeyes skated to a 3-1 win over the Irish on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,857 at the Joyce Center.

Matt McIlvane added and empty net goal with eight seconds left as the Buckeyes extended their mastery over the Irish at the Joyce Center to nine games (7-0-2) dating back to October 23, 1998. The 3-1 loss also snapped Notre Dame’s current three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) against Ohio State.

Evan Rankin had Notre Dame’s lone goal as the Irish have now scored just seven goals in five games during the month of February and are 1-2-2 for the month.

The loss drops the Irish to 21-11-3 on the year and 14-8-3 in the CCHA. The Irish have a five-point lead on Nebraska-Omaha and Ferris State with three games to play for fourth place and the final spot for a first-round bye. Only Ferris State can catch the Irish mathematically, but any combination of two points (a Notre Dame win or tie or a Bulldog loss or tie) will clinch fourth for Notre Dame. Ohio State goes to 11-21-3 on the year and 7-16-2 in league play.

“I never really felt like we had the tempo of the game in our favor,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.

“Give them credit. They clog things up and make it difficult to generate anything. I thought they played with a lot of jump. You have to give them credit. We didn’t really have the tempo of that game.”

The Irish started strong, out shooting the Buckeyes, 8-3, in the early going, including six shots on an early power play but never got the puck past Joseph Palmer until the 19:41 mark of the period when Rankin collected his seventh goal of the year on a deflected shot.

Dan Kissel moved the puck from the left corner to Christian Hanson along the left boards at the face-off circle. The junior fired a shot toward the far right post were Rankin battled for position with an Ohio State defenseman. Hanson’s shot deflected off a skate in front and slid past Palmer for a 1-0 Notre Dame lead.

“The shot went off my stick and then their defenseman’s skate and went in,” said Rankin describing his goal. “I really thought that it was going to be the bounce that was going to jump start us going into the second period.”

Instead, the Irish offense mustered just three shots in the middle period while the Buckeyes were scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead.

Goebel, Ohio State’s leading scorer, tied the game at 16:37 when he redirected a shot off from the left circle by John Albert. The goal was Goebel’s 20th of the season.

The game would remain tied until the 19:53 mark when Schafer got what would prove to be the game winner. Tom Fritsche carried the puck into the Irish zone and raced down the right side. Jordan Pearce made the initial save on his wrap-around try, but Shafer dumped the rebound in for his third of the season and a 2-1 lead at the second intermission for the Buckeyes.

“I thought we played with a sense of urgency in the first and third period,” said Jackson.

“In the second we were in a haze and not as sharp as we needed to be. The urgency was there early on and again at the end but we lost it in the second period and that eventually cost us.”

The Irish would out shoot Ohio State in the final period, but again failed to dent Palmer. The score would remain 2-1 into the final minute when Jackson pulled Pearce for a sixth attacker.

Notre Dame would get a face off to the right of Palmer with 17 seconds left. McIlvane pulled the draw behind the net where Goebel fired it around the boards. The puck bounced past Brett Blatchford at the left point and McIlvane picked up at center and carried in for the empty net goal at 19:52. The goal was his fifth of the season.

On the night, the two teams traded 23 shots. Palmer finished with 22 saves in the game while Pearce had 20 stops in the Notre Dame goal. Neither team scored on the power play as the Buckeyes were 0-for-4 and the Irish were 0-for-6.

“I think they are putting so much pressure on themselves during the second half,” said Jackson. “I know they want to do well, they want to do better on the power play, they want to score goals. That pressure wears on you and I think it’s worn on us in the second half.”

The two teams will close out the series on Saturday night at the Joyce Center. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.

GAME SUMMARY                          1    2    3  -  FOhio State (11-21-3/7-16-2)           0    2    1  -  3#9/#9 Notre Dame (21-11-3/14-8-3)     1    0    0  -  1
ScoringFirst Period: ND: Evan Rankin 7 (Christian Hanson, Dan Kissel), 19:41.Penalties: OSU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: OSU: Tommy Goebel 20 (John Albert), 16:37; OSU: Patrick Schafer 3 (Tom Fritsche), 19:53.Penalties: OSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: OSU: Matt McIlvane 5 (Goebel), ENG, 19:52.Penalties: OSU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Ohio State 8 - 9 - 6 - 23Notre Dame 10 - 3 - 10 - 23
Goaltender Saves:OSU - Joseph Palmer (59:55) 9 - 3 - 10 - 22ND - Jordan Pearce (59:01) 8 - 7 - 5 - 20
Power Plays:OSU: 0 for 4ND: 0 for 6
Attendance: 2,857 (sellout)