Dec. 28, 2014
ESTERO, Fla. – Down 2-0 with 6:43 remaining in the third period against No. 6 Miami University, the University of Notre Dame hockey team scored two goals in the game’s final minutes, and then a third with 46 seconds remaining in overtime to stun the RedHawks in game one of the Florida College Hockey Classic at Germain Arena.
With the win, the Irish (9-8-2) advance to the championship game of the two-day tournament to play Lake Superior State at 7:35 p.m. ET Monday. The Lakers beat Cornell in a shoot out in Sunday’s nightcap. Notre Dame already owns a pair of victories over Lake Superior State this year at Compton Family Ice Arena, 5-3 and 5-1.
“This win was great for our confidence,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “Hopefully we can come out and play well tomorrow night regardless of who we play.
“We have gone through a lot of emotional swings and I thought tonight we played like we were going to get back in the game and we haven’t done that consistently this year. It was a big growing moment for our team today being as young as we are.”
Many heroes appeared for the Irish in the comeback win, but maybe none more so than freshman right winger Jake Evans, who found the back of the net for the game-tying and game-winning goals while also assisting on Notre Dame’s first lamp lighter.
“He’s a bright young kid who played for St. Michael’s in Toronto,” said Jackson. “St. Michael’s is a great program. We recruited him three years ago when he was only 15 years old. We went and watched him play and we liked his intelligence for the game. Tonight he showed us something that we thought he would have and that’s a little bit of grit and intestinal fortitude that really makes good players great.”
After coming up empty the first two periods, the Toronto, Ontario native helped the Irish trim the RedHawk lead to 2-1 with just under seven minutes remaining, as he picked up the assist on fellow freshman Jordan Gross’ third goal of the season.
Later in the period with just 23 seconds remaining in regulation, Evans found the back of the net again, as he banked it off Miami goalie Ryan McKay (0-4) for his fourth goal of the season off assists from Connor Hurley and Mario Lucia. He scored the goal while maneuvering around a pile of Irish and RedHawk players directly in front of the net. The play required a review from the officials, but the Irish and a rowdy and mostly Irish crowd felt confident the goal would send the two teams to overtime. The referee confirmed the goal to force a five-minute overtime period.
In overtime, neither team could muster much of a threat until the Irish moved down the ice towards McKay. Sophomore Justin Wade brought the puck up the ice and fed it to Hurley, who took a shot. Evans claimed the puck off the save, wrapped around the net towards the left side and took another shot. McKay made his second consecutive save but couldn’t make a third save as Evans claimed his own rebound and put it home to secure the thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Notre Dame held a pretty significant 34-20 advantage in shots, including a whopping 12-3 advantage in the third period. Neither team had any luck in power plays, as the Irish went 0-for-8 and Miami was 0-for-5.
After a scoreless first period, Miami’s two goals came in the second period, as left winger Cody Murphy snuck one past freshman goalie Cal Petersen (5-5-1) 5:36 into the period before fellow left winger Conor Lemirande scored with just 1:08 left off assists from Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik.
Despite the two goals in the second, Petersen held a talented Miami squad at bay for much of the contest and kept the Irish in the contest as he finished with 18 saves to earn his fifth victory of the year.
“We got behind the eight ball early by turning the puck over twice in our zone and giving up two goals,” said Jackson. “Even though our power play had some good chances tonight, we still couldn’t score a goal. It’s been a real problem for us. We are making some progress but we still aren’t scoring. I think for us to come back like that was because we got more aggressive around the net.”
Notre Dame has now beaten the RedHawks two games in a row, with the last victory before Sunday coming at Chicago’s Soldier Field in the Hockey City Classic (2-1) February 17, 2013. It was the highest ranked win for the Irish since a 4-2 victory over No. 2 Boston College in game three of last season’s Hockey East quarterfinals.
The comeback also bucked a few early-season trends, as the Irish picked up their first win of the year when the opponent scored first (0-6-0) and when the opponent led after one period (0-5-0). Notre Dame claimed its second win of the year (UMass – Game 1) when trailing after two periods (2-7-0).
Miami entered the game 8-0 when leading after two periods this season.
Notre Dame is now 3-0 since the beginning of December after a tough November stretch.
Fans can follow the Irish and Lakers from Germain Arena through New Country 99.9 FM in South Bend, WatchND’s audio broadcast or live stats. Links are on UND.com.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director