Dec. 28, 2003
Estero, Fla. –
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish scored just one goal at the Everblades College Hockey Classic, but junior goaltender Morgan Cey made sure it proved to be a game-winning goal.
Cey, making his first appearance for the Irish since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early December, stopped all 32 shots he faced as Notre Dame shutout third-ranked Maine, 1-0, in the third-place game of the Everblades Classic. Cornell won the tournament as the Big Red defeated Ohio State, 4-3, in overtime.
Sophomore left wing Mike Walsh scored the lone goal of the game on a power-play deflection at 9:03 of the second period and the Irish defense made it stand up as Maine outshot the Irish, 32-22 on the afternoon, including 25-13 over the final two periods.
Cey’s return to action was just what the Irish needed as they snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 9-6-2 on the year. The Maine Black Bears, who dropped a 4-2 decision to Ohio State on Saturday, fall to 12-4-1 on the season.
“This was an enormous win for us this afternoon,” said head coach Dave Poulin following the game.
“We talked before the game about building on all the things we did well last night (4-0 loss to Cornell). Morgan’s return was a big boost. This win gives us a big boost going into the second half of the season.”
The first period started slowly as both teams worked to get their legs going in the 1:05 p.m. start. The Irish had a couple of good chances on two first-period power plays but failed to beat Maine’s Frank Doyle.
Cey came up with the stop of the period with under a minute left when Maine’s top goal scorer – Todd Jackson – raced in on a breakaway.
“That was a big save for us. He made a good move but I was able to get a leg on it,” said Cey.
“I think it gave the team a bit of a boost going into the intermission. For me, it was great to be able to get back in the lineup and help the team out.
For Poulin, the save proved that his junior goaltender was back.
“After he made the save, I thought, ‘He’s okay.’ I had a perfect angle on it, and he gave him (Jackson) room to shoot, and then made the big stop,” said Poulin.
In the second period, Walsh would provide the Irish with the only goal of the game. Maine’s Prestin Ryan was whistled off for elbowing at 8:08 and the Irish capitalized 55 seconds later at 9:03.
Off a faceoff in the right wing circle, the Irish controlled the draw on the left wing boards. Cory McLean moved it back to the right point to Brett Lebda who fired a wrist shot towards Doyle in the Maine goal. Walsh was parked on the hash mark of the right wing circle and got the blade of his stick on it to deflect it over Doyle’s glove hand for his eighth goal of the season and third game-winning goal.
“This was an outstanding hockey game today. There was plenty of scoring chances and both goaltenders were outstanding. Doyle (Frank) played great and made some great saves on Rob Globke and Tim Wallace to keep it a one-goal game,” said Poulin.
The Irish tightened up on defense after Walsh’s goal and Cey held the Black Bears at bay the rest of the way.
“I was a little nervous coming in to this game. I really wanted to get back in the lineup,” said Cey.
“We really wanted to come out of this game with a win. Maine’s got a great team. The team really stepped up especially in the third period. I got to see the shots and I kept seeing guys getting knocked down in front. They really played great in front of me.”
The Black Bears pulled Doyle (21 saves in the game) with 2:11 left in the game, to play with a sixth attacker, but time and again, the Irish defense was able to clear the puck.
The win marks the second time this season that the Irish have shutout a highly-ranked Hockey East team, 1-0, as they blanked then top-ranked Boston College, 1-0 on Oct. 24. In both games, Walsh recorded the lone goal of the game for Notre Dame.
For Cey, the shutout was the fifth of his career, giving him the most shutouts any Notre Dame goaltender has recorded in his career.
Notre Dame returns to action at the Joyce Center on Saturday, Jan. 3 when the Irish play host to the University of Findlay Oilers. Faceoff time is 7:05 p.m.
** The Irish wore their dark green and gold jerseys for the second game of the tournament.
** The shutout was the fourth of the season for Notre Dame (David Brown recorded three in a row earlier this season). That is a single-season record for the Irish. The 1999-2000 team had three shutouts in that season.
** The win improved the Irish to 3-2 this season in games versus nationally ranked teams. The Irish have defeated #15 Ohio State, #1 Boston College and #3 Maine while losing to #15 Ohio State and #14 Cornell.
** Notre Dame wins over Boston College and Maine this season mark the first time since the start of Hockey East (1984-85) that the Irish have won two games in one season versus Hockey East teams.
** Mike Walsh has now scored nine goals in his Notre Dame career with four of them being game-winning goals.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 – F
Notre Dame (9-6-2) 0 1 0 – 1
Maine (12-4-1) 0 0 0 – 0
First Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: ND: Mike Walsh 8 (Brett Lebda, Cory McLean), PPG, 9:03.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UM: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Notre Dame 9 – 7 – 6 – 22
Maine 7 – 12 -13 – 32
ND – Morgan Cey (60:00) 7 – 12 – 13 – 32
UM – Frank Doyle (57:49) 9 – 6 – 6 – 21