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No. 9 Irish Skate to 2-2 Tie With No. 4 Michigan State

February 5, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Power-play goals by Rustyn Dolyny and Bryan Adams gave No. 4 Michigan State an early 2-0 lead but No. 9 Notre Dame answered with a power-play score by Benoit Cotnoir and a second-period goal by Ben Simon, as the teams skated to a 2-2 tie in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

The win leaves Notre Dame (15-7-4, 12-6-3 CCHA) just four points out of second place in the CCHA standings, a spot currently shared by Michigan (14-5-3) and Ohio State (14-6-3). The Wolverines suffered a stunning 6-3 home loss Friday to eighth-place Lake Superior (6-13-2) while OSU (14-6-3) rallied for a 3-2 win at seventh-place Bowling Green (8-11-3). In other CCHA action Friday, Western Michigan (3-13-6) posted a 6-3 win over visiting Alaska Fairbanks (5-17-1) to claim the season series with UAF while sliding ahead of the Nanooks in the standings. Fifth-place Northern Michigan (11-8-3) and sixth-place Ferris State are idle for the weekend.

Michigan State (14-2-6) stretched its unbeaten streak to 16 games (12-0-4) while playing to its third straight tie and fourth in the last six games. The tie bumped MSU’s lead atop the CCHA standings to three points over Michigan and OSU.

The Irish head into Saturday night’s game versus UAF holding a two-point cushion and one “game-in-hand” on Northern Michigan in the race for the fourth and final home-ice spot in the CCHA playoffs. Notre Dame and NMU will meet in a crucial late-season series at the Joyce Center on Feb. 27-28.

Notre Dame remained unbeaten at home this season (9-0-2), with a 50-19 scoring edge in those 11 games. The Irish welcomed back senior right wing and team captain Brian Urick, who missed the previous three games due to a hand injury. The return of Urick also led to a reemergence of the potent first forward line comprised of senior left wing Aniket Dhadphale, Simon and Urick-a unit that combined for 23 goals and 50 points in the first 10 games but had not skated together since the tough 8-1 loss at No. 1 North Dakota on Jan. 2.

MSU opened the scoring at the 8:59 mark of the first period, after senior defenseman Jeff Kozakowski and junior blueliner Jeff Hodgins worked the puck to the top of the left circle for Dolyny. The sophomore right wing then sent a rising shot on net that flew by the left shoulder of senior goaltender Forrest Karr and into the far right corner of the net, giving Dolyny his 12th goal of the season.

The visitors added to their lead less than three minutes later, with senior left wing Mark Loeding setting up a shot from the blueline by freshman defenseman Andrew Hutchinson. Karr made the save but Adams was in position at the right side of the crease to knock home the rebound, giving the senior left wing his 16th goal of the season for a share of the team lead (11:25).

Cotnoir pounced on an MSU clearing attempt and snapped home a shot from the right side of the blueline with 3:22 left in the first period. The glove-side shot sailed over the right shoulder of MSU sophomore goaltender Joe Blackburn, a lefthanded netminder who was seeing his first significant career action vs. the Irish (16:38).

Cotnoir’s goal was his fifth of the season and his 45th career power-play point (out of 83 overall). The senior defenseman is Notre Dame’s leading scorer during the current 6-1-2 run, with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists).

Simon came up with another prime-time play at the 10:46 mark of the second period, with Dhadphale notching his 43rd career assist and 100th career point. Urick forced the action by deflecting the puck past the endline and MSU junior defenseman Mike Weaver then tried to flick the puck out of the zone. But the 6-3 Dhadphale caught the puck near the center of the left circle and quickly slid a pass into the slot for Simon and the junior center beat Blackburn with a one-timer for his 14th goal of the season (tying Dhadphale for the team lead).

NOTES: The Irish are now 11-1-2 when Simon and Dhadphale each enter the scoring column Simon has 91 points (27-64) in 92 career games played Karr and the Irish improved to 4-2-3 vs. top-10 opponents this season Karr has allowed just 19 goals in the 11 home games this season (670 minutes).

No. 4 MICHIGAN STATE (20-3-6, 14-2-6 CCHA)  2   0   0   0   -   2No. 9 NOTRE DAME (15-7-4, 12-6-3 CCHA)      1   1   0   0   -   2
1st: MSU 1. Dolyny 12 (Hodgins, Kozakowski), PP, 8:59; MSU 2. Adams 16 (Hutchinson, Loeding) 11:25; ND 1. Cotnoir 5 (unassisted), PP, 16:48.
2nd: MSU 2. Simon 14 (Dhadphale) 10:46.
SHOTS: MSU 8-9-6/25 ND 8-9-9/28SAVES: MSU (Blackburn) 7-8-9-2/26 ND (Karr) 6-9-6-2/23POWER PLAY: MSU 2-3 ND 1-3PENALTIES: MSU 7 for 14:00 ND 7 for 14:00