November 26, 1996

Lake Superior Holds on for 4-3 Win Over Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Ind. (11/26/96) – Sophomore Jason Sessa’s unassisted goal with 10 minutes remaining gave Lake Superior State a two-goal cushion–moments after the Lakers had killed off a five-minute major penalty–and the visiting Lakers went on to post a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Tuesday at the Joyce Center.

The win kept LSSU (9-5-1, 6-2-0 CCHA) comfortably in fourth place in the league standings while moving the Lakers to within a point of idle third-place Michigan (6-1-1). Notre Dame (4-7-1, 3-5-1) remains tied with Western Michigan for fifth in the CCHA but now trails the Broncos by one in the loss column.

The Lakers–who have won four league games by a single goal, including three straight–have won their last seven games and nine of 10, after opening the season 1-4-1. Notre Dame has lost four times this season by one goal, with each of its last three losses coming by a score of 4-3 (including an overtime game vs. Mankato State on Nov. 17 and a last-minute loss on Nov. 23 at Miami University).

Notre Dame dominated the offensive chances in the first period, outshooting LSSU 10-2, but the game remained scoreless the Laker s scored during the first minute of the second period. The visitors then stretched to a 3-0 lead before a pair of Irish goals made for an exciting 3-2 game heading into the final period.

The Irish had a golden opportunity to notch the equalizer–and even surge ahead–when LSSU forward Matt Alvey was whistled for checking from behind at the 4:51 mark of the third period, resulting in a five-minute major penalty. But Notre Dame could not muster a shot during the man-up opportunity and–after Irish freshman Ben Simon was called for interference with 2:01 left on Alvey’s penalty–the hosts had lost the big chance to tie the score.

Shortly after both teams returned to full strength, the Lakers went back on the attack and Sessa stole the puck at the right wing boards, skated toward the net and roofed a shot just under the crossbar to push the Laker advantage to 4-2 (10:28).

Notre Dame fought back–scoring its second powerplay goal in a game for just the second time this season–when sophomore defenseman Benoit Cotnoir one-timed a Steve Noble pass at the right circle past Grahame, closing the gap to 4-3 with 7:40 left to play. But the Irish would total just five shots on goal in the final period, seeing their record at home drop to 1-4-1.

After a scoreless first 20 minutes, the Lakers struck quickly in the second period, when senior center Mike Peron took a centering pass from classmate Alvey and back-handed a shot over Irish goaltender Matt Eisler, just 38 seconds into the period.

The visitors didn’t waste any time extending their lead, as junior center Terry Marchant again sent a back-hander sailing over the blocker of Eisler to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead (2:44). Nine minutes later, the Lakers added to their lead when junior forward Bates Battaglia received a pass out of the left wing corner from Sessa and wristed a shot through traffic and past the legs of Eisler to give the Lakers a three-goal cushion (11:52).

The Irish began their comeback effort when sophomore right wing Brian Urick tapped in his sixth goal of the season, after a cross-ice pass from classmate Aniket Dhadphale on a 2-on-1 break from the Laker blueline, at 16:17 of the second period.

Notre Dame tallied again 95 seconds later, this time on the power play, when freshman right wing Joe Dusbabek wristed a shot from the slot that narrowly slid past the left skate of Laker junior goaltender John Grahame, Dusbabek’s team-leading seventh goal of the season. Cotnoir set up the bang-bang play, after firing a pass from the right point. Dusbabek was slanting in from the left side and skated in between the circles while receiving the perfectly-timed pass from Cotnoir.

IRISH NOTES: Cotnoir has had a hand in seven of 10 Notre Dame’s powerplay goals this season, scoring two and assisting on five others … Dusbabek has scored in seven of 12 games this season (one goal in each) … Urick has scored four goals in the last three games after enduring a seven-game stretch in which he failed to score … Notre Dame has scored just five first-period goals in 12 games this season, despite taking a combined 106 shots during the first 20 minutes of games thus far … Notre Dame ended a 1-for-22 powerplay slump at Bowling Green last Friday and has converted on four of its last 14 man-up chances.


CCHA HOCKEY (11/26/96) - at Notre Dame's Joyce CenterLAKE SUPERIOR     0    3    1    -    4NOTRE DAME        0    2    1    -    31st:  No scoring.2nd:  1. LS - Peron (Alvey, Blaznek) 0:38;  2. LS - Marchant (Keup)2:44;  3. LS - Battaglia (Sessa, Lambeth) 11:52;  1. ND - Urick(Dhadphale, Borega) 16:17;  2. ND - Dusbabek (Cotnoir, Fraser) PP 17:52.3rd:  4. LS - Sessa (unassisted) 10:28;  3. ND - Cotnoir (Noble, Fraser)PP 12:20.SHOTS ON GOAL:  LS 2-11-6/19;  ND 10-10-5/25.SAVES:           LS (Grahame) 22;  Eisler (ND) 2-8-5/15.PENALTIES:      LS 9-for-29;  ND 8-for-26.POWERPLAY:      LS 0-for-3;  ND 2-for-5.RECORDS:  Lake Superior 9-5-1 (6-2-0);  Notre Dame 4-6-1 (3-5-1)

POSTGAME QUOTES – Lake Superior at Notre Dame (11/26/96)

Notre Dame Coach Dave Poulin:
“I was concerned with the flow of the game after (LSSU’s first goal). It really changed the flow of the game. It was a terrific first period. Yes, we have to score, but it was good that we scored three goals against one of the best goalies in the league. We just have to score goals. These are not pipe dreams, we are going to win these games.”

“We gave up three powerplay goals last weekend. One was off Tyson Fraser’s hand, and another off his stick. These things even out, though. We played extremely well tonight. There was a lapse, but whatever you say about the lapse the first goal really changed the flow of the game.”

(On the powerplay): “Out power play was much better as a result of movement. Guys were moving into position, which was good because there is a tendency to lock your feet when you have an extra guy.”

(On the 5:00 powerplay): “There is always a tendency to let down with five minutes of powerplay, but I told them that the first minute should be the best of the game and every one after that should get better.”

(On Brian Urick’s play): “He’s playing well, he’s playing smart, and he’s getting to the net, like the power forward that he is. Coming back after a strong first year, players usually try to do something different, like add finesse to their game. There’s a reason that he had a good freshman year, and when he plays like the power forward he is and uses his strength, he’s tough.”

Lake Superior coach Scott Borek:
“It was a good hockey game. Notre Dame has an excellent team but we won with our experience. Notre Dame will be a force to be reckoned with.”