Feb. 24, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame hockey fans saw something they haven’t seen much of this season – a home loss at the Joyce Center. The Ferris State Bulldogs scored three unanswered third-period goals to snap a 2-2 tie to hand the Irish a 5-2 loss in front of a sellout crowd of 2,763.
Mark Bomersback score two goals and added an assist and linemates Brendan Connolly (1g, 2a) and Cody Chupp (3 assists) each had three points as the Bulldogs overcame a 2-0 second period deficit in the come-from-behind win. Corey Couturier and Matt Case also scored for the Bulldogs. Kevin Deeth and Mark Van Guilder scored for the Irish.
The loss was the first for the number one-ranked Irish since Jan. 19 (a 3-2 loss at Western Michigan) and snapped a nine-game Notre Dame unbeaten streak (7-0-2). The Irish are now 26-6-3 on the year and 20-4-3 in the CCHA. The red-hot Bulldogs have now won six of their last seven games and are now 13-19-3 overall and 10-15-2 in the conference. A Ferris State win on Saturday coupled with a Lake Superior loss would move the Bulldogs into the final home playoff spot in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
For the first time this season, the Irish surrendered five goals with Hobey Baker candidate David Brown surrendering four goals for the only time this season. The game also marked just the second time this season that Notre Dame lost a two-goal lead.
“Give credit to Ferris State tonight,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “They changed their game dramatically after we scored the first two goals. That’s the worst lead in hockey and we saw that tonight. One goal and it changed the momentum.
For a period-and-a-half, the Irish seemed to be in complete control as they built a 2-0 lead. Deeth gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead at 7:17 when he beat Ferris State goaltender Mitch O’Keefe from the slot after taking a pass from Ryan Thang behind the net. The goal was Deeth’s 16th of the season.
The lead would go to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 5:25 of the second period. Left wing Justin White fired a shot from the right circle that missed the net. The rebound went off the backboards and caromed to Van Guilder on the left side. The junior right wing tucked the puck past O’Keefe for his 16th of the season to give the Irish the two-goal lead.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy and after we went up 2-0 we kind of let down,” said Van Guilder. “We started to get a little too cute, tried to beat guys one-on-one and started turning over the puck a little more. Early in the game we were chipping it in deep and going to the front of the net. We got away from that and all of a sudden we’re down two goals.”
The Bulldogs began their comeback at 14:26 via the power play. Matt Case moved the puck from the right point to the right corner to Bomersback. The Ferris State center threw the puck in front where it went off a defenseman’s stick and deflected past Brown for Bomersback’s fourth goal of the season.
Ferris State would tie the game at 18:05 off an Irish turnover while on offense. Defenseman Evan Case broke up a Notre Dame scoring bid at the top of the slot and Couturier picked up the loose puck and headed toward the Irish zone.
The Notre Dame defense tried to force him wide in the Irish zone but the sophomore right wing got a shot on goal that beat Brown deflecting off his pads and inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
The five-goal run would continue in the third period when Matt Case beat Brown inside the right post with a slapshot at 6:07 to make it 3-0. The goal was Case’s fourth of the year.
Bomersback notched his second of the night at 8:01 when he took a feed from behind the Notre Dame net from Brendan Connolly and beat Brown from the slot for his fifth of the season.
With the Irish on a power play in the final seven minutes, Jackson pulled Brown in favor of a sixth attacker for a two-man advantage but they failed to score. Brown would go in and out of the goal over the final five minutes to try to jump-start the attack, but the Irish could not get any closer.
“We pulled the goalie to try to get the team going. I thought we were playing back on our heels a little,” said Jackson. “I’ve pulled the goalie with 15 minutes left. I’m not going to sit back and watch us lose. We were just trying to get something going.”
Connolly closed the scoring at 19:46 when he scored into the empty net for his 11th of the season and the 5-2 win.
“I don’t think there is anything like a good loss,” said Van Guilder. “We took care of that earlier in the season and we should be able to remember that. You can call it a wake-up call if you want, but the bottom line is that we have to put together a complete game going into the playoffs and start feeling good about ourselves again.”
Notre Dame out shot Ferris State, 23-20, in the game with Brown finishing with 15 saves and O’Keefe stopping 21 Irish shots.
The two teams close out the regular season on Saturday night at the Joyce Center. Game time is set of 7:05 p.m. The Irish will honor their eight-man senior class following the game.
** Notre Dame’s sellout crowd of 2,763 was the fifth in a row and the seventh in the last eight games for the Irish.
** Ferris State’s second-period power-play goal was just the fourth power-play goal given up by the Irish in the last 12 games. They have killed 55-of-59 power-play chances (93.2%) since Jan. 13.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FFerris State (13-19-3/10-15-2) 0 2 3 - 5#1/#1 Notre Dame (26-6-3/20-4-3) 1 1 0 - 2
Penalties: FSU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Penalties: FSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: FSU: M. Case 4 (Brendan Connolly, Cody Chupp), 6:07; FSU: Bomersback 5 (Connolly, Chupp), 8:01; FSU: Connolly 11 (Chupp, Bomersback), ENG, 19:46.
Penalties: FSU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Ferris State 4 - 8 - 8 - 20Notre Dame 7 - 8 - 8 - 23
Goaltender Saves:FSU - Mitch O'Keefe (60:00) 6 - 7 - 8 - 21ND - David Brown (57:18) 4 - 6 - 5 - 15
Power Plays:FSU: 1 for 4ND: 1 for 5
Attendance: 2,763 (sellout)