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Notre Dame Hockey Clinches Playoff Home Ice With 2-2 Tie Vs. MSU, Help From WMU

March 3, 2000

Game Photos!

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior center Ben Simon scored the game-tying goal with five minutes left to play and freshman Tony Zasowski turned in a 32-save effort, as the Irish played to a 2-2 tie with visiting Michigan State before finishing the night with possession of the fifth and final home ice spot for the upcoming Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament.

Notre Dame’s win-coupled with Ferris State’s 4-2 home loss to Western Michigan-ensures that the Irish (14-15-8, 12-9-6 CCHA) will finish fifth in the final CCHA standings. FSU (12-13-2) is locked into the sixth spot and will play its first-round CCHA playoff series versus the Irish at the Notre Dame Joyce Center Fieldhouse, with the best two-of-three series to be held Friday-Sunday, March 10-12.

Michigan State (22-10-4, 17-8-2) moved into a tie with Northern Michigan for second in the CCHA standings while Michigan wrapped up the regular-season title with a 3-1 win at Bowling Green. The Spartans overcame an early goal from Irish junior left wing Dan Carlson, with sophomore right wing Adam Hall scoring twice to push his CCHA-leading season goal total to 22. MSU freshman Ryan Miller totaled 29 saves but gave up Simon’s power-play goal for the final 2-2 score.

Notre Dame is now 2-4-2 in its last eight games versus MSU, after enduring a 17-game winless streak versus the Spartans (0-14-3). The home team has gone unbeaten in the last seven games of the series (5-0-2), with the Irish losing their last four games at MSU’s Munn Ice Arena heading into tomorrow night’s game in East Lansing.

Friday’s game ultimately hinged on Notre Dame’s ability to hold back MSU’s power play, which entered the game with a CCHA-best .218 efficiency. The Irish stopped 5-of-6 MSU power plays, including the first four of the game. Hall’s power-play goal capped an 11-minute stretch that saw the Spartans receive four power-play chances.

Scoring Recaps
* ND 1, MSU 0 – Carlson turned in an outstanding individual effort for his team-leading 16th goal of the season (he has goal in six of the last seven games and nine of the last 11) … passes from senior D Nathan Borega and Sean Molina moved the puck to Carlson near mid-ice and the speedy junior did all the rest from there … Carlson moved the puck down the right side-using bursts of speed to shake several MSU players-before sliding free down the endline towards the goal area … Miller stopped Carlson’s first try from close range (a low shot between the legs) but Carlson collected the rebound and quickly stuffed the puck into the left side of the net for an Irish lead heading into the first intermission (14:50).

* ND 1, MSU 1 – In the opening moments of the second period, sophomore D Andrew Hutchinson took a shot and Hall pounced on the rebound, sending a shot from between the circles that tucked under the crossbar (00:45).

* MSU 2, ND 1 – After an interference penalty on Irish sophomore C Brett Henning, MSU cashed in its fifth power-play chance of the night … Irish senior D Tyson Fraser tried to clear the puck to his left but the puck kicked off the skates of one of the officials … MSU senior C Shawn Horcoff beat Fraser to the puck and lightly banked the puck off the right boards … freshman LW Brian Maloney collected the loose puck and skated down the end line towards the goal-taking a similar route to Carlson’s earlier in the game … Zasowski rotated to challenge the charging Maloney, who then shifted the puck to Hall, with the CCHA’s leading goalscorer banging the puck into the net from the right side of the crease (16:38).

* ND 2, MSU 2 – With Horcoff in the box for a hooking penalty, Simon won a rightside faceoff in the MSU zone and slapped the puck to his right for senior D Tyson Fraser, who then cycled the puck back to the right point … Carlson had junior RW Ryan Dolder open on the other point but elected to send a shot on net, with senior RW Joe Dusbabek setting the screen between the circles … the low shot kicked by Dusbabek and Miller slapped the puck off to his left … but the lefthanded Simon was in position at the inside edge of the right circle and paused briefly before wristing a low shot past Miller’s right leg, with the MSU goalie guessing wrong to his left (14:23).

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH DAVE POULIN: “We have never been happier with a tie, and the way it happened, coming back to get it. Every time we have tied this year, it was really a tie. Tonight, we came back and got this one. … You don’t like it when things are out of your control. Ideally, we would have liked to win tonight and tomorrow night. But you take all the help you can get in this league. Tonight, we earned our points. Our penalty-killing lines were great. That was a very good power-play unit they were up against. Basically, the power-play efficiency was a draw. They just had more chances. … Ryan Miller has not gotten a lot of ink, but he has had a great year. He really does not get that much recognition, but he really does a great job for them. … Home ice is a big advantage for us. We like this building and we play well at home. … They felt it on our bench. After hearing the score, they really picked it up. Dan Carlson was the first to jump up and he said, ‘It’s in our hands, let’s go get it.’ There was a definite surge. … Carlson’s goal was obviously highlight material. I remember seeing him do stuff like that in high school.”

MSU HEAD COACH RON MASON: “We did walk away with the tie, and we’ll take it. You can’t think about the possible playoff scenarios going in, all you can think about is how we are going to win the game. It took us a while to get our feet under us in the first period, but the kids played hard tonight. … The point was certainly important to get tonight, despite the fact we were up 2-1 in the third. On the power play they scored on, we had our best penalty killer and faceoff guy off the ice. There wasn’t really much we could do about that. … Their goalie came up with three-to-four clutch saves in the third period. Every game we play, both goalies always play well. … Their shots were a result of bouncing pucks, while we seemed to have much cleaner passes and shots.”

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Michigan (19-5-3) has clinched the No. 1 seed and will face Western Michigan, Miami or Bowling Green in the first round … MSU (17-8-2) has clinched at least third place and holds the tiebreaker with NMU (16-7-4), which dropped a 4-3 game at home on Friday to fourth place Lake Superior (16-9-2) … the Lakers could claim third and bump NMU to fourth with a win over the Wildcats on Saturday … Nebraska-Omaha (10-12-6) has completed CCHA regular-season play and will be the No. 7 seed, with a playoff series at LSSU or NMU … BG (11-15-1) owns the tiebreakers vs. the other teams that are tied for eighth: Miami and WMU (both 10-14-3) … Miami hosts 11th-place Ohio State on Saturday.

NOTES: Sophomore LW/C David Inman missed the game due to illness, with his spot on the second power-play unit filled by junior LW Jay Kopischke … senior LW Andy Jurkowski missed his third straight game due to a hand injury … to compensate for the shortage of LWs, ND shifted freshman Mike Chin from the right side … ND improved to 2-2-2 after bye weeks during the five-year Dave Poulin era and is now 1-4-1 in the final week of the regular season under Poulin … the Irish are 21-2-3 during the past two season when ahead at first intermission (9-1-1 this season) … ND is 13-8-4 this season when scoring one-plus PPGs … the Irish have scored PPGs in nine of the last 11, with 42.9 pct. of the team’s goals this season coming on the PP (39-of-91), including 20 of the last 38 (52.6 pct.) … eight of Simon’s 10 goals have come on the PP, including the last three … he has 5G-2A in 10 career games vs. MSU (the rest of the ND team has just six career goals vs. MSU) … ND improved to 7-2-3 this season when facing a team ranked ahead of (or tied with) the Irish in the CCHA standings … ND will be looking for just its third CCHA series sweep on Saturday … ND is 7-3-5 in its last 15 games and remains one win shy of reaching .500 for the first time this season … ND extended its team record with eight ties this season (the old record was five) … ND has played to OT in eight of last nine weeks and has played 10 OT games overall, tying the team record (2-4-4, in ’97-’98) … ND has lost just once in its last 16 OT games (2-1-13, with a 3-2 loss at Miami on March 5, 1999) … Carlson has 12G-9A in his last 18 games (10G-5A in the last 11) … Simon has 126 career points in 139 career games (41G-85A), leaving him five points shy of the Irish career top-20 scoring list … Simon has points in five of the last six games (4G-6A) and 21 (8G-13A) in the last 22 … Zasowski improved his ND-record totals for season GAA (2.27) and save pct. (.910) … he has allowed just 36 even-strength goals in 26 games played (15 in the last 14) … Zasowski has started ND’s last 14 games and has allowed 0-2 goals in 16 of his 23 starts … ND is 20-7-6 in its last 33 regular-season home games

MICHIGAN STATE (22-10-4, 17-8-2 CCHA)   0   2   0   0   -   2NOTRE DAME (14-15-8, 11-9-6 CCHA)       1   0   1   0   -   2

1st: ND 1. Carlson 16 (Molina, Borega) 14:50.

2nd: MSU 1. Hall 21 (Hutchinson) 00:45, MSU 2. Hall 22 (Maloney, Horcoff), PP, 16:38.

3rd: ND 2. Simon 10 (Fraser, Carlson) 14:23.

SHOTS: MSU 11-15-7-1/34, ND 13-7-10-1/31.

SAVES: MSU (Miller) 12-7-9-1/29, ND (Zasowski) 11-13-7-1/32.

POWER PLAY: MSU 1-for-6, ND 1-for-2.

PENALTIES: MSU 2 for 4:00, ND 6 for 12:00.