Nov. 12, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind – Sophomore defenseman Stephen Johns scored with 48 seconds left in the game to cap a Notre Dame comeback, giving the Irish a 5-4 win over Alaska in front of a sellout crowd of 5,022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday night.
Notre Dame fell behind 2-0 in the game and trailed 4-3 after one period of play before battling back in the second and third periods to pull out the win and extend the current unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2). The Irish overcame a first-period hat trick by the Nanooks’ Cody Kunyk who had three of their four, first-period tallies.
The Irish had five different players light the lamp, getting power-play goals from Robbie Russo, Anders Lee and Johns’ game winner, a penalty shot from Riley Sheahan and an even-strength marker off the stick of Billy Maday to tie the game at 4-4. Jarret Granberg joined Kunyk on the scoresheet for the Nanooks.
Alaska scored four times in the first period off Irish starter Mike Johnson. Irish coach Jeff Jackson went to the bullpen in the second period as sophomore Steven Summerhays entered the game to start the second period and stopped all 16 shots he faced, including a pair of breakaways. Johnson finished with eight saves in the game. Scott Greenham had 23 saves in goal for the Nanooks.
The win improves the Irish to 6-2-2 overall and 4-1-2-0 in the CCHA, good for 14 points and a tie for third place in the conference standings. Alaska falls to 3-6-2 overall and 0-5-2-0 in CCHA action.
Fans expecting a defensive struggle were treated to a wide-open shoot out in the first period as the teams combined for seven goals. A week ago in their respective four games, Notre Dame and Alaska combined for a grand total of five goals.
The Nanooks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals just 21 seconds apart. With Sam Calabrese off for slashing at 5:20 of the first, Kunyk struck for his first goal, a power-play goal at 6:31 when he took a feed from Colton Beck from behind the Irish goal line and tucked a shot past Johnson for his second goal of the season.
Just 21 seconds later, Alaska turned a Notre Dame turnover into a 2-0 lead when Nik Yaremchuk picked up a loose puck in the Notre Dame zone and fired a shot that Granberg deflected over Johnson’s right shoulder for his third of the season.
Notre Dame cut the lead in half at 8:17 with its first power play of the night as Russo fired a shot from the high slot over Greenham’s glove hand for his second of the season. T.J. Tynan and Sheahan picked up assists on the play.
The Irish tied the game at 2-2 at 9:53 when Sheahan scored on a penalty shot, tucking a quick wrister over Greenham’s left shoulder for his second goal of the year. The junior center was awarded the shot when Granberg was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease off a Notre Dame scramble around the goalmouth.
The penalty shot was the first for the Irish since Feb. 26, 2011 when Tynan was stopped against Western Michigan. The shot was the first successful one for Notre Dame since Jan. 31, 2009 when Ryan Thang scored in a 3-2 win at Michigan.
Notre Dame wasn’t done scoring in the period as the Irish converted their second power-play goal of the night at 12:38 when Lee hammered a shot from the right face-off circle past Greenham for his 11th goal of the season. Tynan picked up his second assist of the game and Russo his second point with a helper on the play.
Kunyk went back to work to put Alaska back on top as he wrapped up his hat trick with two more goals. His second of the night was a repeat of his first as he took a feed from Beck from behind the goal and tucked it past Johnson at 13:58.
He closed out the hat trick at 16:15 when he picked Lee’s pocket at the Notre Dame blue line and raced in to beat Johnson on a breakaway for his fourth goal of the season and a 4-3 lead after one period.
Things settled down offensively in the second as Summerhays replaced Johnson and the Irish defense tightened and eliminated the turnovers that plagued them in the first period.
Maday would get the game-tying goal at 7:30 of the middle period with linemate Mike Voran making a nice play to set up the senior captain. Voran took in a loose puck in the neutral zone and carried it deep into the Alaska zone before going behind the goal and coming out the left side where he found Maday cutting to the net. Voran put the puck on Maday’s stick outside the crease and he fired it past Greenham for his third goal of the season to make it 4-4.
In the final period, the Irish waited until the final minute to notch the game winner. Outstanding penalty killing earlier in the period helped set the goal up as Johns was called for a five-minute major for kneeing at 12:11 and the Irish were able to kill it off.
A late penalty to Yaremchuck at 17:41 gave Notre Dame its fifth power play and the Irish capitalized on it. Patrick Gaul moved the puck to Maday on the left boards. Maday passed across to Johns in the slot and the sophomore drilled a shot past Greenham for the game winner at 19:12 and the Irish had the 5-4 win. The goal was Johns’ second of the season.
The two teams will close out the series on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
IRISH NOTES: The last time Notre Dame gave up four goals in one period was on March 18, 2011 when Miami scored four times in the first period in the CCHA semifinal game at Joe Louis Arena. The RedHawks won that game, 6-2 … Kunyk’s hat trick was the first by an Irish opponent since Dec. 4, 2010 when Miami’s Alden Hirschfeld scored three times … three times this season, the Irish have trailed 2-0 in a game and come back to win it.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 – F
Alaska (3-6-2/0-5-2-0) 4 0 0 – 4
#7/#7 Notre Dame (6-2-2/4-1-2-0) 3 1 1 – 5
First Period: UAF: Cody Kunyk 2 (Colton Beck) PPG, 6:31; UAF: Jarret Granberg 3 (Nik Yaremchuk), 6:52; ND: Robbie Russo 2 (T.J. Tynan, Riley Sheahan), PPG, 8:17; ND: Sheahan 2 (penalty shot), 9:53; ND: Anders Lee 11 (Tynan, Russo), PPG, 12:38; UAF: Kunyk 3 (Beck), 13:58; UAF: Kunyk 4 (unassisted), 16:15.
Penalties: UAF: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 4 for 8 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Alaska 12 – 8 – 8 – 28
Notre Dame 12 – 10 – 6 – 28
UAF: 1 for 3
ND: 3 for 5
Attendance: 5,022 (sellout)