Freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri celebrates his game-winning goal against Michigan.

Irish Offense Comes To Life In 5-3 Win Over Michigan

Feb. 28, 2010

Final Stats

Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team came into its final regular season game looking to send its seven-man senior class out on a winning note. For the first 20 minutes of the game, the Irish struggled not just to score, but get shots on the Michigan goal.

Trailing 2-0 just 2:22 into the middle period, the Notre Dame offense came to life, running off four goals in a 10:16 span to take a 4-2 lead on the way to a 5-3 win over the Wolverines in front of a sellout crowd of 2,932 at the Joyce Center.

Five different Irish players got on the scoresheet as Calle Ridderwall, Brett Blatchford (shg), Joe Lavin, Kyle Palmieri (ppg) and Dan Kissel lit the lamp behind Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick. Louie Caporusso scored twice and David Wohlberg added a single goal for the Wolverines.

The win snapped Notre Dame’s five-game winless streak (0-4-1) and gives the Irish a 13-15-8 overall record and a 9-12-7-2 ledger in the CCHA, good for 36 points and ninth place in the final conference standings. Michigan falls to 19-17-1 for the year and 14-13-1-0 in the league. The Wolverines finish seventh in the standings.

By finishing in ninth, Notre Dame will open the playoffs on March 5 at eight-place Ohio State in a best-of-three series. The first round series will be played at the OSU Ice Rink as the Buckeye’s home arena; Value City Arena will be hosting Ohio state high school wrestling. Michigan will play host to Lake Superior State in their first round match up.

Michigan wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Caporusso got his first of two on the night just 36 seconds into the game. Sophomore right wing Luke Glendening moved past an Irish defenseman along the right boards and fed the puck to Caporusso who snapped a shot over goaltender Mike Johnson’s glove for his 12th goal of the season for the 1-0 lead.

The lead would go to 2-0 at the 17:43 mark when Wohlberg picked up his sixth of the season on the power play. Wohlberg’s goal came just seconds after Kissel was put in on a breakaway by defenseman Kyle Lawson. Hunwick stopped Kissel’s scoring bid and after the Irish took possession, A.J. Treais broke up a rush at the blue line and Wohlberg picked the puck up and carried it through the Notre Dame defense and lifted a backhander inside the right post past Johnson to give Michigan the two-goal lead.

The Irish were out shot in the period, 10-5, but were blanked for the fourth straight period by Hunwick, making just his fourth career appearance.

The junior goaltender’s shutout streak would end at 71:33 over two games at the 2:22 mark of the second period as Calle Ridderwall notched his team high 18th of the season to make it 2-1.

Defenseman Teddy Ruth, who had a pair of assists in the game, fired a shot from the right point that Ridderwall was able to redirect past Hunwick, getting the puck just past his right pad and into the goal. The lamplighter was the first of the weekend for the Irish who were blanked, 4-0, on Thursday at Yost Arena.

The goal seemed to ignite the Notre Dame offense as the got the equalizer just 4:09 later with Brett Blatchford getting an unassisted, short-handed goal at 6:31.

With Michigan on the power play, Blatchford was able to keep the puck in the Wolverine’s zone at the right point. He moved in and launched a shot at the goal that handcuffed Hunwick and fluttered over his glove hand and inside the right post for his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-2.

Just one minute later, Notre Dame would take the lead as Lavin moved in from his spot on the right point and picked up the rebound of a Kevin Deeth shot. Hunwick stopped his first try from below the right circle but Lavin continued on and lifted the puck up under the cross bar for a 3-2 Irish lead. The goal was Lavin’s third of the season with Thang and Deeth picking up assists.

Palmieri then closed out the four-goal run at the 12:38 mark when he hammered a shot from the left circle that Hunwick never saw for his ninth goal of the year with Thang and Lavin picking up assists to give Notre Dame a 4-2 lead.

The Irish peppered Hunwick with 13 shots in the period while Johnson stopped all 10 he faced as the two offenses heated up.

Michigan wasn’t done and was able to cut the lead to 4-3 at 3:51 when Caporusso scored his second of the night and 13th of the season.

Defenseman Brandon Burlon moved the puck ahead to the junior center and he carried it down the left boards. With a Wolverine player driving to the goal from the right side, Caporusso slid a shot-pass across the front of the crease. The puck hit an Irish defender’s skate and deflected past Johnson to make it a one-goal game.

The score stayed that way until the 14:59 mark when Kissel added an insurance goal for the 5-3 final. The senior drove towards the goal and took a feed from Christiaan Minella in the slot. He moved in on Hunwick and slid a backhander through his pads for his fourth goal of the season.

On the night, the two teams traded 25 shots. Johnson made 22 saves for the Irish while Hunwick finished with 20 for the game. Notre Dame’s penalty killers gave up just one power-play goal on nine chances while the Irish were 1-for-6 on the night.

With the close of the 2009-10 season, the final standings give Miami, Michigan State, Ferris State and Northern Michigan first-round byes as those four teams finished first through fourth.

Next weekend’s playoff pairings include: 12th-place Western Michigan at 5th-place Alaska, 11th-place Bowling Green at 6th-place Nebraska-Omaha, 10th-place Lake Superior State at 7th-place Michigan and Notre Dame at Ohio State. This is the first time since the 2004-05 campaign that the Irish will open the playoffs on the road and the first time since 2005-06 that they won’t have a first-round bye in the playoffs.

GAME SUMMARY                         1     2     3  -  FMichigan (19-17-1/14-13-1-0)         2     0     1  -  3Notre Dame (13-15-8/9-12-7-2)        0     4     1  -  5

Scoring First Period: UM: Louie Caporusso 12 (Luke Glendening, Chris Summers), 00:36; UM: David Wohlberg 6 (A.J. Treais), 17:43.

Penalties: UM: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.

Second Period: ND: Calle Ridderwall 18 (Teddy Ruth, Billy Maday), 2:22; ND: Brett Blatchford 4 (unassisted), SHG, 6:31; ND: Joe Lavin 3 (Kevin Deeth, Ryan Thang), 7:31; ND: Kyle Palmieri 9 (Thang, Lavin), PPG, 12:38.

Penalties: UM: 8 for 24 minutes; ND: 7 for 14 minutes.

Third Period: UM: Caporusso 13 (Brandon Burlon, Carl Hagelin), 3:51; ND: Dan Kissel 4 (Christiaan Minella, Ruth), 14:59.

Penalties: UM: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.

Shots On Goal:Michigan      10 - 10 - 5 - 25Notre Dame     5 - 13 - 7 - 25
Goaltender Saves:UM: Shawn Hunwick (58:10) 5 - 9 - 6 - 20ND: Mike Johnson (60:00) 8 - 10 - 4 - 22
Power Plays:UM: 1 for 9ND: 1 for 6
Attendance: 2,932