May 2, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Top-seeded Notre Dame broke out of a third-period 4-4 tie with five unanswered goals, holding number-four seed Quinnipiac scoreless for more than 23 minutes in the process, as the Irish prevailed 10-6 in the first semifinal of the inaugural Great Western Lacrosse League Postseason Tournament.
The sixth-ranked Irish (12-2) now play number-two seed Ohio State (10-4) in the GWLL championship game at noon EDT Sunday. No. 10 Ohio State defeated third-seeded Denver 15-8 in the second semifinal. The tournament is being held at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich.
Notre Dame defeated Ohio State, 17-12, last Sunday at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame’s 12 victories mark the most by the Irish since their best-ever 14-2 record in 2001 when they advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
The Irish joined Ohio State and Denver in a three-way tie atop the GWLL regular-season standings, all with 4-1 records.
Quinnipiac (8-5) opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game (that was delayed 15 minutes at the start by heavy rain and lightning) on a Ted Dimond goal. Podgajny notched his first goal unassisted less than three minutes later, but the Bobcats held a 2-1 after the opening period, thanks to an unassisted Zach Dendas tally at the 2:28 mark.
Notre Dame then ran off three straight goals – one by Hoff (from junior Duncan Swezey at 11:04 of the second), one from Krebs (at 9:59 from junior Peter Christman), then another by Hoff (again from Christman at 6:40).
But Quinnipiac responded with another Dimond goal (from Mitch Cooper with 1:44 in the second period) for a 4-3 halftime score, then tied it at 4-4 less than three minutes into the third period on a Kaiser goal from Gary Messina.
From there it was all Notre Dame.
With Notre Dame senior goalie Joey Kemp and the Irish defense limiting the Bobcats without a goal from the 12:05 mark of the third period to the 3:30 stop in the fourth period, the Irish took control.
Rookie Zach Brenneman gave the Irish the lead for good at 5-4 on an unassisted tally at the 5:08 mark of the third period. Hoff notched his third goal less than three minutes later (from Alex Wharton), then Krebs put up his second goal (unassisted) to make it 7-4 for Notre Dame at the end of three.
The Irish scoring continued to open the final period, as sophomore Neal Hicks scored on a Krebs feed at 14:53, and Podgajny made it 9-4 at the 13:09 juncture, again from Krebs.
The Bobcats got two more goals from Dendas in the final 3:30, sandwiched around a Swezey goal from Hicks for Notre Dame (at 2:19).
Kemp finished with eight saves for the Irish, four in each half. Notre Dame outshot Quinnipiac 35-24 and also led in ground balls (41-30). Senior Taylor Clagett won 13 of 17 face-offs, helping the Irish as a team win 14 of 20. Freshman David Earl paced the Irish with six ground balls. The only odd-man goal came on a man-advantage opportunity by Quinnipiac on the Bobcats’ last score.
Stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team by logging onto und.com. You can also sign up to receive text message score updates through Irish Alert. Log onto und.com for more details.
Quinnipiac (8-5) – 2 1 1 2 – 6
#6 Notre Dame (12-2) – 1 3 3 3 – 10
Quinnipiac Scoring (goals-assists):
Zach Dendas 3-0, Ted Dimond 2-0, Todd Kaiser 1-1, Anthony Poerio 0-2, Gary Messina 0-1, Mitch Cooper 0-1 Goaltender: Kevin Benzing (L, 60:00, 10 saves, 10 GA)
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Ryan Hoff 3-0, Grant Krebs 2-2, Michael Podgajny 2-0, Duncan Swezey 1-1, Neal Hicks 1-1, Zach Brenneman 1-0, Alex Wharton 0-1, Peter Christman 0-2; Goaltender: Joey Kemp (W, 60:00, 8 saves, 6 GA)