January 3, 1997

No. 4 Miami Rallies To Beat Notre Dame

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Marc Tropper, C.J. Buzzell and RandyRobitaille each scored in the third period, lifting No. 4 Miami Universityto a 6-3 comeback victory over the University of Notre Dame in CentralCollegiate Hockey Association action Friday in front of a sellout crowdat the Joyce Center (2,667).

Miami (17-5-0, 11-2-0 CCHA) extended its lead in the leaguestandings to three points ahead of second-place Michigan and four pointsahead of Michigan State and Lake Superior (all of which were idle onFriday). This is the latest in the season that Miami has led in the CCHAsince the Redskins captured the title in 1993.

Notre Dame (5-13-1, 4-9-1) bounced back from an early deficit toclaim a 3-1 lead in the opening minutes of the second period. But theIrish could not hold off the visitors, who tied the game with two goalsin a span of 33 seconds midway through the second period before Troppernetted the game-winner on the power-play early in the third. Buzzellthen scored unassisted with 4:29 remaining and Robitaille netted hisfifth shorthanded goal of the season (tying the Miami record) with threeminutes to play.

The Irish played minus two of their regulars. Freshman center BenSimon was busy Friday helping the U.S. junior national team post a 5-2victory over the Czech Republic in the World Junior Hockey Championships(held in Geneva, Switzerland). The U.S. – already assured of its bestfinish ever at the World Juniors – will face defending champion Canada inthe gold medal game Saturday (the teams played to a 4-4 tie earlier inthe week). Simon is one of 15 college players and four CCHA players onthe U.S. team.

Notre Dame also was without freshman defenseman Sean Molina, who didnot dress due to a shoulder injury suffered in the Dec. 29 game atPrinceton.

Friday marked the ninth straight game that Notre Dame has failed toscore more than three goals but the Irish did manage to top the seasongoals-against average of Miami goaltender Trevor Prior (2.18, best inthe nation).

Senior Tom White gave Miami an early lead when he tipped in aslapshot from defenseman Josh Mizerek at the 1:34 mark, but the Irishanswered four minutes later on the powerplay, when junior LyleAndrusiak poked home a rebounded shot by freshman defenseman TysonFraser (5:30).

The Irish surged ahead at the 13:10 mark of the first period whenfreshman Joe Dusbabek intercepted an attempted clear between the circlesand beat Prior with a quick shot. The hosts then went ahead 3-1 early inthe second when freshman defenseman Sean Seyferth sent home a slapshotfrom the left point.

Dusbabek’s score was his eighth of the season (tying him withsophomore Brian Urick for the team lead) and ended a personal six-gamegoalless drought while Seyferth scored for the second time in threegames.

Miami junior Tim Leahy cut into the Irish lead with histeam-leading 16th goal of the season on a goal that was initiated by ablast from the blue line by freshman defenseman Josh Mizerek. Notre Damesophomore goalie Forrest Karr blocked the shot near the right post butMiami freshman Gregor Krajnc collected the loose pluck and slid it to thetop of the crease for Leahy, who quickly redirected the puck past Karr(6:53).

The visitors gained the equalizer just 35 seconds later, as juniorJoe Bodnar gathered in the puck near the right side of the net and fedclassmate Mark Shalawylo, who beat Karr with a quick shot from the top ofthe crease.

Tropper netted his 13th goal of the season three minutes into thefinal period, scoring on the power-play after an errant shot from sophomoredefenseman Josh Harrold banged off the back boards and bounced between thecircles. Tropper took the lucky bounce near the bottom of the left circleand beat Karr with the tough angle shot.

Buzzell scored unassisted at the 15:31 mark after taking the pucknear mid-ice and slanting down the left side. Buzzell beat the Irishdefense to the crease and faked out Karr before putting the puck inside theright pipe.

Robitaille scored on a shorthanded situation 80 seconds later,putting a backhanded shot inside the right post after beating back theIrish defense off passes from Adam Copeland and Dan Boyle. It was justRobitaille’s second point and first goal vs. the Irish this season (heranks 6th in the CCHA with 34 points). Notre Dame has allowed only fourshorthanded goals all season (fourth-fewest allowed by any CCHA team).

The comeback was a rarity this season for Miami, who had been just3-5 in games this season when trailing or tied after two periods. TheIrish took a lead into the first intermission for just the fifth timethis season and are now 3-2 in games when leading after the first 20minutes.

Neither team fared well on the powerplay, with Notre Dameconverting on 1-of-7 while Miami was 1-of-6.

Post-Game Quotes

Notre Dame Coach Dave Poulin: “We’re there. We are so close to it. I don’t know what to say–it’s like we’re running old tapes. We played real well. We had one little breakdown for about a minute in the second when it was 3-3. The same guys keep playing because they are playing well, so you just keep putting them out there. We could have scored a power-play goal in the critical period; instead, we end up taking a penalty near the end of the power-play. We have guys who are playing terrific right now. Dusbabek is playing real well. (Junior) Steve Noble is playing strong hockey … (Miami is) a good hockey team right now. They are playing well. Boyle and Robitaille are real factors out there–especially on the power-play or short-handed. They are truly star players. They don’t seem as loud like a team like Michigan, because Michigan has more of them.”

Miami coach Mark Mazzoleni: “I like Notre Dame’s hockey team. I think Dave and his staff are doing an excellent job. They compete very hard. They don’t quit. When you look at our team, we are moving into the top half of the league–maybe even higher. Notre Dame is a team that competes very hard. They don’t give you a lot of space and they work extremely hard. They play a full 60 minutes. That is a tribute to what they’ve done with the team. We have a lot of respect for them. We had to play a smart game to come out of here with a victory tonight.”

MIAMI         1   2   3   -   6NOTRE DAME    2   1   0   -   3SCORING1st period- MU 1. White (Mizerek, Whitecotton) 1:34;  ND 1. Andrusiak (Fraser, Urick), PP, 5:30;  ND 2. Dusbabek 13:10.2nd period- ND 3. Seyferth (Unassisted) 2:13;  2. MU - Leahy (Krajnc, Mizerek) 6:53;  MU 3. Shalawylo (Bodnar, Bautch) 7:28.  3rd period- MU 4. Tropper (Harrold, Boyle) , PP, 2:59;  MU 5. Buzzell 15:31;  6. MU Robitaille (Copeland, Boyle), SH, 16:52.Shots on goal: ND 9-8-5/22, MU 11-10-10/31.Saves: ND (Karr) 10-8-7/25, MU (Prior) 7-7-5/19.   Power-play: ND 1-for-6, MU 1-for-7.Penalties:  ND 11 for 30:00, MU 12 for 32:00.RECORDSMiami: 17-5-0, 11-2-0 CCHA      Notre Dame: 5-13-1, 4-9-1 CCHA