March 16, 2003
Oxford, Ohio – Notre Dame goaltender Morgan Cey made 32 saves to record his second consecutive shutout and Aaron Gill scored two goals to pace the Irish to a 5-0 win over the Miami RedHawks. The win gives Notre Dame the best-of-three series, two games to one and sends the Irish to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA’s Super Six.
The Irish will face Ohio State on Thursday, March 20 in the first game of the Super Six at 4:05 p.m.
The convincing 5-0 win matches the Irish program’s largest margin of victory ever in a postseason game, with the previous three five-goal wins coming in Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff games (5-0 and 8-3 vs. North Dakota in 1973 and 8-3 vs. Michigan in 1980).
The five goals represent the third-highest scoring output ever for a Notre Dame team in CCHA playoff action, with the 1981-82 team posting 6-5 and 5-3 wins over Michigan in a first-round series before besting Bowling Green 8-5 in the CCHA semifinals (in WCHA playoff games, the Irish scored eight goals twice and six goals once).
Joining Gill on the Irish scoring parade were Rob Globke, Brett Lebda and Brad Wanchulak as Notre Dame won its eighth game in its last 11 contests since February 1st.
Cey, who ran his shutout streak to 124:35 minutes over the last three games, kept the Irish in it early as Miami had an 8-1 edge in shots in the first eight minutes of the game. The two shutouts this weekend are the first-ever for the Irish in CCHA playoff competition, with the program’s only previous shutout in the postseason coming in the 5-0 game vs. North Dakota during the 1973 WCHA playoffs.
“Morgan was huge for us tonight. Two shutouts in the playoffs are quite an accomplishment. He really played well the entire series,” said head coach Dave Poulin outside a jubilant Irish locker room.
He added, “All I know is that when I looked up at the board and the shots were 8-2, we led the game 1-0.”
That second Irish shot came at 8:33 of the opening period and Rob Globke scored for his 20th of the season.
With a crowd in front of goaltender David Burleigh, defenseman Joe Zurenko got off two shots from the center point that were blocked in front. Rob Globke fought off the Miami defense and fired the rebound through Burleigh’s pads for his 20th of the season to snap a five-game goal scoring drought.
The goal made Globke the first Irish player to score 20 goals in a season since Aniket Dhadphale scored 25 during the 1997-98 season.
“It was good to finally get one,” said Globke, Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer.
“Joe (Zurenko) did a good job of getting it in front. I just wacked at it and it went in.”
Brett Lebda would score the goal that really took the wind out of the RedHawks. The junior defenseman went end-to-end to score at 19:28 to send the Irish to the second intermission with a two-goal cushion.
Lebda picked up the puck behind the Notre Dame net and raced up the right boards through center ice. When he hit the Miami blueline, he cut to his left with the two defensemen backing in. He ripped a low wrist shot from between the circles that beat Burleigh through his pads to give the Irish the two-goal cushion heading into the second intermission.
“I just carried the puck up the boards and really didn’t have anyone to give it to,” described Lebda.
“I kept going and when I got to the blue line their defense pinched up on me. I went past them and had a clear shot to the net and shot it in over his blocker.”
That goal just added to Notre Dame’s confidence in the third period.
“Brett’s goal was the turning point,” said Poulin.
“It really gave us a boost to score that late in the period. We really played with confidence and poise the rest of the way.
Gill sealed the deal with his 12th and 13th goals of the season just over seven minutes apart at 3:52 and 10:55 for a 4-0 lead. The second goal came on the power play and snapped an 0-for-24 drought that extended over seven games.
Wanchulak added to the victory when he and Jake Wiegand combined on a two-on-one for his first of the season at 15:06 and the final score of 5-0.
On the night, Miami outshot the Irish 32-27. Burleigh made 22 saves in goal as the RedHawks season comes to an end with a 21-17-3 overall record. The win improves the Irish to 17-16-6 on the year.
The Irish return to Joe Louis Arena for the third time in the last four years. Only Michigan and Michigan State have been there in all four years since 1999-2000.
“That’s quite a legacy for our seniors. It really is a remarkable thing that we have been able to advance to Detroit that many times,” said Poulin.
** Notre Dame’s last five first round CCHA playoff appearances have gone to three games. In 1997-98, the Irish lost in three games to Michigan and in ’98-’99, they lost in three to Northern Michigan. Their fortunes changed in 1999-2000 when they defeated Ferris State in three games. They did it again last year, winning two games to one at Nebraska-Omaha. This season, the Irish beat Miami two games to one.
** The Irish are now 11-18 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.
** Coach Dave Poulin moved into second in coaching wins at Notre Dame after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Miami. He now has 114 wins in his career. He passed Ric Schafer (1987-95) who had 112 career wins. “Lefty” Smith is Notre Dame’s all-time win leader with 307 in his illustrious coaching career.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 F
Notre Dame (17-16-6) 1 1 3 5
Miami (OH) (21-17-3) 0 0 0 0
First Period: ND: Rob Globke 20 (Joe Zurenko, Neil Komadoski), 8:33.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; MU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: Brett Lebda 7 (unassisted), 19:28.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; MU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Aaron Gill 12 (Rob Globke, Connor Dunlop), 3:52; ND: Gill 13 (Cory McLean, Neil Komadoski), 10:55; ND: Brad Wanchulak 1 (Jake Wiegand), 15:06.
Penalties: ND: 4 for 8 minutes; MU: 4 for 8 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Notre Dame 7 – 13 – 7 – 27
Miami (OH) 14 – 12 – 6 – 32
ND – Morgan Cey (60:00) 14 – 12 – 6 – 32
MU – David Burleigh (60:00) 6 – 12 – 4 – 22
ND: 1 for 7
MU: 0 for 6