March 21, 2008
Detroit, Mich. – Miami defenseman Alec Martinez scored at 6:06 of overtime to give the RedHawks a hard-fought 2-1 win over Notre Dame in the first semifinal game of the CCHA Championships at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night. Notre Dame will face Northern Michigan in the third-place game on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. The Wildcats dropped a 6-4 decision to Michigan in the second semifinal game on Friday night.
Martinez goal offset a brilliant game by Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce who, along with the Notre Dame defense, held the nation’s top-scoring team to just one goal in regulation. The junior goaltender finished the night with 28 saves.
In a game that was scoreless until the third period, Evan Rankin staked the Irish to a 1-0 lead with just 4:30 remaining in the game. Miami got the game-tying goal with just 3.4 seconds left in regulation on a shot from the point by Mitch Ganzak that beat Pearce high to his stick side.
The loss drops 11th-ranked Notre Dame to 24-14-4 on the year while the third-ranked RedHawks are now 32-6-1 overall.
Miami dominated the first period, out shooting the Irish by an 11-3 margin with Pearce holding the RedHawk offense at bay.
In the second period the shots were even at 8-8 with each team playing tight defense.
Notre Dame looked like they finally broke through in the third period while on the power play. Mark Van Guilder ripped a shot from the left circle that appeared to beat Miami goaltender Jeff Zatkoff up under the crossbar at 13:49.
While the Irish celebrated, the goal was being reviewed and was ruled not to have crossed the goal line, keeping the game at 1-1.
Just over two minutes later, the Irish would get on the scoreboard when Rankin whipped a backhander from the slot over Zatkoff’s glove for his eighth of the year at 15:30. Dan Kissel set the play in motion moving it to Ben Ryan at the top of the left circle. Ryan found Rankin all alone in the slot and the senior dumped it behind the Miami goaltender.
The Irish protected the one-goal lead until the final minute. Zatkoff was pulled in the final seconds for a sixth attacker and as time wound down, Jarod Palmer moved the puck to Ganzak at the left point. With traffic in front, he fired a rising shot that Pearce couldn’t get to as he was run down in the crease.
The goal stood and the Irish had to regroup to play in the extra time. Miami would finish with three shots in the six minutes of overtime with the RedHawks third of the stanza the game winner.
Brian Kaufman got the puck to Martinez at the left point and he fired a shot past Pearce for his eighth goal of the season for the 2-1 Miami victory.
On the night, the RedHawks out shot Notre Dame by a 30-21 margin. Zatkoff finished with 20 saves in the Miami goal.
The overtime game was the fifth of the season for the Irish and their first loss of the season as they are now 1-0-4. The loss also ended a two-game Notre Dame winning streak at Joe Louis Arena.
The Irish split their season series with Northern Michigan in Marquette, Mich., on Jan. 4-5. with the Wildcats winning the first game, 2-1, before Notre Dame returned a 2-1 decision the following night. The game will have major importance for Notre Dame as they remain on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Michigan and Miami will play at 7:30 p.m. for the CCHA title. The game will be televised on FSN Detroit in high definition.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 OT - F#11/#11 Notre Dame (24-14-4) 0 0 1 0 - 1#3/#3 Miami (32-6-1) 0 0 1 1 - 2
ScoringFirst Period: No Scoring.Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; MU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; MU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Evan Rankin 8 (Ben Ryan, Dan Kissel), 15:30; MU: Mitch Ganzak 2 (Carter Camper, Jarod Palmer), EX, 19:56.Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; MU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Overtime: MU: Alec Martinez 8 (Brian Kaufman, Ryan Jones), 6:06.Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; MU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 3 - 8 - 10 - 0 - 21Miami 11 - 8 - 8 - 3 - 30
Goaltender Saves:ND - Jordan Pearce (66:06) 11 - 8 - 7 - 2 - 28MU - Jeff Zatkoff (65:52) 3 - 8 - 9 - 0 - 20
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 5MU: 0 for 2