Oct. 25, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – For the second night in a row, a freshman goaltender backstopped the Miami RedHawks to a win over Notre Dame. Conner Knapp stopped 17 shots of 19 shots on the night while the RedHawks killed eight Irish power-play chances on the way to a 3-2 win at the Joyce Center.
Miami used power-play goals from Gary Steffes and Justin Mercier to build a 2-0 lead and tacked on an even strength goal from Alexandre Lacombe in the victory. Sophomore defenseman Ian Cole and senior center Christian Hanson scored for the Irish. Hanson got his goal with 1:26 left in the game and the goaltender pulled for a sixth attacker.
The 3-2 verdict gave Miami a two-game sweep of Notre Dame and ran the RedHawks win streak over the Irish to four straight in the series. Miami moves to 3-1-2 overall and 3-0-1-0 in the CCHA. Notre Dame falls to 2-3-0 on the season and 0-2-0-0 in conference action. The two home losses in a row mark the first time that has happened for Notre Dame since March 3-4 when the Irish dropped two in a row to Alaska at the Joyce Center in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
“I thought we competed a little bit harder and generated a little more in the offensive zone. You have to give Miami credit,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.
“The competed hard and they defended well. They didn’t look like they had a young defense or goaltending this weekend. Kudos to them. It’s early in the season and we have a lot of work to do and that’s what its all about right now.”
The RedHawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 10:40 of the first period via the power play. With Ian Cole off for an interference call at 8:56, Steffes picked up his fifth goal of the year when he deflected a shot by Andy Miele from the left face-off dot past Jordan Pearce to put Miami on the scoreboard.
The score would stay that way until the 15:48 mark of the opening stanza when Cole hammered a shot from the left point past Knapp for his second goal of the year. Calle Ridderwall and Billy Maday set up the big defenseman working the puck loose below the goal line with Ridderwall finding Cole alone at the point to make it 1-1.
The score would stay 1-1 until late in the second period as Miami dominated play, out shooting Notre Dame, 15-2, in the middle period.
The RedHawks would take the lead for good at 17:10 of the second stanza, getting their second power-play goal of the night. Mercier picked up his second goal of the season on a pretty passing play as Carter Camper and Pat Cannone moved the puck around finding the senior all alone to the left of Pearce where he rapped it home to make it a 2-1 game.
Miami wasn’t done in the period, building the lead to 3-1 at 18:32 off a scramble in front of the Irish goal. Bill Loupee had the puck in the slot and slid it ahead to Brandon Smith. Pearce stopped his shot in close with the rebound rolling to the left of the Notre Dame goaltender where Lacombe tucked it inside the left post for his second marker of the young season.
The score would stay 3-1 as Knapp held the Irish at bay through the third period. Jackson pulled Pearce with less than two minutes left in favor of a sixth attacker and the move paid off Hanson delivered his second goal of the season with 1:26 left in the game.
Freshman defenseman Sean Lorenz carried the puck over the blue line and left it for Erik Condra. The senior captain found Hanson alone in the slot and the big center whipped a shot over Knapp’s blocker to cut the RedHawk lead to 3-2.
Notre Dame controlled the face off and was able to get Pearce off again in the final minute but could not score as the game ended with the RedHawks taking the weekend sweep.
“Their freshmen goaltenders played well on the weekend, but they play hard in front of them too,” said Jackson.
“They make it tough to get pucks through to the net. They compete extremely hard. That’s part of the issue that we need to improve on. If we are going to generate scoring chances, we have to compete in those gritty goal-scoring areas. That’s how we scored our goals tonight.”
One area of concern for Notre Dame is the power play that was 0-for-8 in the game and 0-for-16 on the weekend.
“If you go 0-for-16 on the power-play for the weekend, you aren’t going to win many games,” said Hanson following the game.
“It’s not one person’s fault, it’s every single guy in the locker room. We need to figure out what we’re doing wrong and fix it. I think some of it might be upstairs. We have high expectations for this team both personally and from the inside and outside coming into the season. Guys might be gripping the stick a little too hard; the expectations may be weighing on them a little too much. We just need to find a way to loosen up and play our game of hockey.
Miami out shot Notre Dame, 24-19 in the game. Pearce finished his night with 21 saves.
The Irish return to action next weekend as they travel to Marquette, Mich., to face the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Game times at the Berry Events Center are 7:35 p.m.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#10/#10 Miami (3-1-2/3-0-1-0) 1 2 0 - 3#8/#8 Notre Dame (2-3-0/0-2-0-0) 1 0 1 - 2
Penalties: MU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Second Period: MU: Justin Mercier 2 (Carter Camper, Pat Cannone), PPG, 17:10; MU: Alexandre Lacombe 2 (Brandon Smith, Bill Loupee), 18:32.
Penalties: MU: 4 for 8 minutes; ND: 4 for 8 minutes.
Penalties: MU: 4 for 8 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Miami 2 - 15 - 7 - 24Notre Dame 8 - 2 - 9 - 19
Goaltender Saves:MU - Conner Knapp (59:33) 7 - 2 - 8 - 17ND - Jordan Pearce (58:35) 1 - 13 - 7 - 21
Power Plays:MU: 2 for 7ND: 0 for 8