March 20, 2003
Detroit, Mich. – Throughout the 2002-03 hockey season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had their share of success in one-goal games, winning eight of 11 games decided by a single goal.
That good fortune came to an end Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena when the 13th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes ended Notre Dame’s season with a 3-2 loss in the opening game of the CCHA’s Super Six.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the third period, Buckeye defenseman Nate Guenin jumped into the play from his position at the right point and took a pass from Paul Caponigri and beat Irish goaltender Morgan Cey from the right side of the crease.
“That doesn’t happen often, I’ll tell you that much,” said Guenin following the game.
“I saw Cap (Caponigri) with the puck in the corner, so I jumped into the play. He put the puck right on my tape.”
Guenin’s goal ended Notre Dame’s season with a 17-17-6 record while the Buckeyes will play Michigan in one of two semifinal games on Friday. The Buckeyes remain alive in the hunt for an NCAA tournament spot as their record goes to 25-10-5 for the season.
For two periods, the Irish battled Ohio State step for step, actually taking a 2-1 lead late into the second stanza.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed in the locker room right now,” said head coach Dave Poulin.
“I thought we played well tonight. The crucial was when we got up 2-1 in the second period. We had a couple of great scoring opportunities and weren’t able to capitalize on them.
The Irish also did a good job of shutting down Ohio State’s top scorer R. J. Umberger. The first-team all-CCHA forward was held to just four shots on the game and didn’t score a point.
“I liked where we were at the end of the second period. I thought we were forechecking them well,” said Poulin.
“We built a game plan around stopping RJ Umberger, and I thought our guys, particularly Aaron Gill and John Wroblewski, did a great job doing that.”
After a scoreless first period, the two teams took advantage of good scoring chances in the second.
The Buckeyes broke the shutout just 2:44 into the second period as T. J. Latorre scored his first goal of the season. Chris Olsgard came from behind the Irish net to the left of Irish goaltender Morgan Cey. Olsgard was able to slide the puck in front to the top of the crease where Latorre fired it under Cey for a 1-0 Buckeye lead.
The goal snapped Cey’s shutout string at 147:19 as he had blanked the opposition since the 15:25 mark of the third period in the opening game of the Miami series last Friday. The string lasted over seven periods of play and is the longest in the sophomore goaltender’s career.
Strong forechecking got the Irish on the scoreboard at the 8:59 mark of the second period. Center Mike Walsh beat the Ohio State defense to the puck in the right wing corner. The freshman spotted Rob Globke going hard to the goal and threw the puck in front of the net. Buckeye goaltender Mike Betz came out of his net to poke the pass away from Globke, but Brad Wanchulak trailed the play and fired the loose puck into the open net for his second goal of the season and his second in as many games.
The Irish moved ahead 2-1 on another defensive lapse by the OSU defense. Connor Dunlop stripped the puck from a Buckeye defenseman and carried the puck down the left wing boards. He spotted Globke coming down the right side and hit him with a crossrink pass. Globke carried the puck in and made a neat move to beat Betz with his 21st goal of the season at 13:58.
The Irish lead would last until 17:54 of the second period when Ryan Kesler poked a loose puck in the crease past Cey for his 11th goal of the season.
Kesler’s goal was set up by a centering pass from Caponigri that Cey knocked down in the crease. Before he could cover it, Kesler got his stick on it and pushed it past Cey for the goal.
In the game, Ohio State outshot the Irish 25-22. Cey finished the night with 22 saves while Betz had 20 stops for the Buckeyes.
Cey reflected on his team’s season following the game.
“Getting to the Joe was really expected of us this year. As the year progressed, I think a lot of people thought we had a disappointing season, but we stuck together through the ups and downs,” said Cey.
The game marked the end of six seniors Notre Dame careers as Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop, Evan Nielsen, Jake Wiegand, John Wroblewski and Tony Zasowski played their final games for the Irish.
** Notre Dame made its third appearance in four seasons at Joe Louis Arena with the game versus Ohio State. The only teams to be there more over the same four-year period are Michigan and Michigan State.
** The Irish are now 11-19 all-time in CCHA playoff action. Notre Dame has appeared in the CCHA playoffs in nine of the 13 seasons that it has belonged to the CCHA.
** Connor Dunlop, who recorded an assist on Rob Globke’s second-period goal, finished his Notre Dame career with 111 points on 25 goals and 86 assists. The 86 assists tie him for 18th with Ben Simon on the all-time assist list.
** Defenseman Evan Nielsen finished his Irish career by playing in 114 consecutive games. He also finished second in all-time games played with 156 career game, two less than Dan Carlson had in his career. Left wing John Wroblewski finished with 113 consecutive games played.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 F
Notre Dame (17-17-6) 0 2 0 2
Ohio State (25-10-5) 0 2 1 3
Scoring First Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; OSU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Second Period: OSU: T.J. Latorre 1 (Chris Olsgard, Dave Steckel), 2:44; ND: Brad Wanchulak 2 (unsassisted), 8:59: ND: Rob Globke 21 (Connor Dunlop), 13:58; OSU: Ryan Kesler 11 (Paul Caponigri, Eric Skaug), 17:54.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; OSU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: OSU: Nate Guenin 2 (Caponigri, Doug Andress), 6:09.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; OSU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Notre Dame 9 – 10 – 3 – 22
Ohio State 8 – 7 – 10 – 25
ND – Morgan Cey (59:02) 8 – 5 – 9 – 22
OSU – Mike Betz (60:00) 9 – 8 – 3 – 20
ND: 0 for 2
OSU: 0 for 3
Attendance: 6,374 (includes both games)