Dec. 12, 2010
Notre Dame, Ind. – Northern Michigan freshman goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 51-of-53 Notre Dame shots on Saturday night and the Wildcats built a 3-0 lead on the way to a 3-2 win over the Irish in front of 2,623 at the Joyce Center.
The 6-5, 200-pound rookie puck stopper from Perth, Ont., who was making just his fifth start of the season, made first period power-play goals by teammates Tyler Gron and Scott Macaulay and a second-period tally by Brian Nugent stand up as Notre Dame poured a season-high 53 shots on goal, including a single-period high of 22 in the second stanza.
The Irish got third-period goals from a pair of freshmen as David Gerths (his 6th) and T.J. Tynan (his 10th) finally broke through in the final period, but it wasn’t enough as Notre Dame lost at home for the first time this season, ending a six-game home winning streak this year and an eight-game streak going back to Jan. 30th of last season.
The loss, the second in a row for the 11th-ranked Irish, dropped them to 10-6-2 overall and 8-4-1-1 in the CCHA, good for 26 points. Northern Michigan improved to 8-7-3 overall and 7-4-2-0 in conference play. The loss, coupled with Michigan’s win this afternoon over Michigan State, dropped Notre Dame into third place in the CCHA.
The Irish finished with a 53-15 margin in shots on goal as sophomore Mike Johnson made 12 saves in the game. Notre Dame was 0-for-6 on the power play while the Wildcats were 2-for-3 on the night.
“I was happy with the way we played. Five-on-five I thought we played very well,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.
“The biggest differential was the special teams. Our inability to score on the power play is coming back to haunt us. Our PK was not as good as we needed it. Give Northern credit, they did a great job moving the puck on their power plays and their goaltender played great. That gave them the opportunity to get the big lead.”
Northern Michigan took advantage of a pair of Irish penalties in the opening period for their two power-play goals. Gron opened the scoring when he connected for his team-best 11th goal of the season at 10:21.
Defenseman Kyle Follmer moved the puck from the left point to Greger Hanson at the left circle. Hanson pulled the Irish defense toward him and flipped a pass to Gron alone in the slot where he one-timed it past Johnson to make it 1-0.
The Wildcat power play would click again at 19:21 with Macaulay getting his first goal of the year for the 2-0 lead.
Center Stephan Vigier moved the puck to Phil Fox who got it back to Macaulay on the left point. His shot appeared to deflect in front, going over Johnson for the goal. The two power-play goals by the Wildcats marked just the second time this season that Notre Dame has given up a pair of man-advantage goals in one game.
Northern Michigan’s lead would go to 3-0 in the second period with Nugent getting his second of the season at 15:58 when he deflected Macaulay’s shot from the point under the crossbar to give the Wildcats the three-goal lead.
While the Irish continued to pour shots on Coreau, building a 37-10 advantage after two periods they trailed by three going into the second intermission.
“He (Coreau) played really well for them,” said Jackson. “I had never seen or heard of him before. I know who he is now.”
The Irish finally broke through on the Northern Michigan goaltender at 10:17 of the third period when Gerths jammed a rebound of Nick Larson’s first shot past the big freshman for his sixth goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-1.
Tynan continued his impressive rookie year when he made it a one-goal game at 14:21. Left wing Anders Lee kept a Wildcat clearing attempt in at the blue line along the right wing boards. He drove to the goal with his scoring bid stopped by Coreau. Tynan was right behind Lee and was there to poke the rebound past Coreau for his team-best 10th goal of the year, making it a 3-2 game.
“I thought our kids battled. They played hard and came back in the third, but it just wasn’t enough,” said Jackson.
The Irish would get one more power-play chance with 2:23 left in the game and were able to pull Johnson in favor of a sixth attacker with 55 seconds left, but could not get the equalizer as Coreau and the Northern Michigan defense held the them off the scoreboard for the final of 3-2.
The two teams will meet in game two of the series at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center. That game will feature the Teddy Bear Toss after the Irish score their first goal of the game with the stuffed animals thrown on the ice going to Toys for Tots. Following the game, fans will be able to Skate with the Irish on the Joyce Center ice.
** IRISH NOTES **
* Notre Dame played without the services of sophomore center Riley Sheahan who will miss both games of the series as he is attending Canada’s World Junior Camp in Toronto, Ont. Sheahan is one of 39 players invited to the camp for an opportunity to play for Canada in this year’s World Junior Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.
* The crowd of 2,623 marked the first time this season that the Irish did not have a home sell-out crowd and snapped a streak of 13 consecutive sellouts, dating back to Nov. 28, 2009.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FNorthern Michigan (8-7-3/7-4-2-0) 2 1 0 - 3#11/#11 Notre Dame (10-6-2/8-4-1-1) 0 0 2 - 2
Scoring First Period: NMU: Tyler Gron 11 (Greger Hanson, Kyle Follmer), PPG, 10:21; NMU: Scott Macaulay 1 (Phil Fox, Stephan Vigier), PPG, 19:21.
Penalties: NMU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Second Period: NMU: Brian Nugent 2 (Macaulay, Erik Higby), 15:18.
Penalties: NMU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: NMU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Northern Michigan 5 - 5 - 5 - 15Notre Dame 15 - 22 - 16 - 53
Goaltender Saves:NMU: Jared Coreau (60:00) 15 - 22 - 14 - 51ND: Mike Johnson (59:00) 3 - 4 - 5 - 12
Power Plays:NMU: 2 for 3ND: 0 for 6