Notre Dame Suffers Another Tough Loss
First career goal for Irish freshman Ben Simon lost amidst last-minute defeat
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State's Mark Loeding slid in a shot with 54 seconds left in regulation, giving the No. 8 Spartans a 4-3 victory and handing Notre Dame its fifth one-goal loss in the last seven games in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday before the 192nd consecutive sellout (6,358) at Munn Arena.
The win pushed Michigan State (11-5-0, 9-2-0 CCHA) into a tie with Lake Superior State atop the conference standings while Notre Dame (4-10-1, 3-8-1 CCHA) fell into a tie with Western Michigan for seventh in the 10-team league (Bowling Green gained sole possession of sixth, moving ahead of the Irish and Broncos, after downing Alaska-Fairbanks on Friday).
The Irish scored twice in the first eight minutes of the third period to tie the game, 3-3, but MSU came away with the game-winner after earning a faceoff at the left circle Irish zone. MSU's Sean Berens on the faceoff and the puck then slid between the circles. The Spartans Richard Keyes tried to quickly poke a shot towards the net but the puck kicked off several players skates. Loeding alertly flailed at the puck and pushed in a shot that kicked off the right post and dribbled along the goalline before settling into the left side of the net.
The loss was the second last-minute loss in the last three weeks for Notre Dame, which lost by an identical 4-3 count at Miami University on Nov. 23, after a wraparound goal with just 40 seconds left in regulation.
The Irish missed out on a chance to beat the Spartans for the first time since December of 1982. Since that time, MSU has won 11 of the 14 games in the series, with Notre Dame battling to three ties.
Notre Dame jumped ahead after scoring one of its quickest goals of the season (1:08), as freshman center Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, OH) sent home a backhanded shot at the right side of the crease, off a rebounded shot from sophomore Aniket Dhadphale. The goal was the first of Simon's collegiate career and ended an early season of frustration that had seen him fail to score on his first 31 shots.
MSU gained the equalizer seven minutes later, when sophomore center Mike York put back a rebounded shot from defenseman Chris Bogas. York, who would go on to assist on MSU's second and third goals, earlier in the week joined Simon and Lake Superior's Jason Sessa as the only CCHA players one three of just 15 collegiate players named to the 1997 U.S. junior national team.
The Spartans claimed the lead with two goals in the second, the first coming at the 9:29 mark when the hosts gained a 2-on-1 break after a pair of Irish players ran into one another at the blueline. York quickly capitalized on the advantage, sending a pass across the crease for Bryan Adams, who one-touched a shot past Irish junior goaltender Matt Eisler.
In the closing moments of the second period, MSU converted on the powerplay, after being held in check by the Irish on three earlier man-up chances. York again provided the setup pass, sending the puck from the left to right circle for the waiting Berens, who had time to control the puck and eye the net before flicking a rising shot from the center of the circle into the left side of the net.
The Irish came back to tie the score for the 10th time this season on third-period goals by sophomore Craig Hagkull and senior defenseman Brian McCarthy.
Hagkull netted his first goal of the year after Alban made a costly mistake, wandering out of the crease to chase down a puck at the boards to his right. Alban reached the puck and elected to flick it towards the center of the ice. Hagkull was stationed at the center of the blueline and intercepted the clearing attempt before quickly firing into the open net (6:08).
Two minutes later, McCarthy flicked home a multiple-rebound shot after a major pileup in front of the MSU net, with two players from each team sprawled between the circles as McCarthy scored amidst the confusion.
Of Notre Dame's five recent one-goal losses, four have come by 4-3 scores. In addition to the pair of last-minute defeats, Notre Dame's recent frustrations include a 4-3 overtime loss to Mankato State.
Dhadphale now has assisted in four straight games and five of the last six while bringing his season assist total to 10. The left winger had just seven assists all of last season but led the Irish in 1995-96 with 13 goals (he has lit the lamp just three times this season, having failed to light the lamp in the last nine games).
NOTRE DAME 1 0 2 - 3 MICHIGAN STATE 1 2 1 - 4 SCORING 1st period - ND 1. Simon (Dhadphale) 1:08; MS 1. York (Bogas, Tuzzolino) 7:50. 2nd period - MS 2. Adams (York) 9:29; MS 3. Berens (York, Hodkins) PP 18:44. 3rd period - ND 2. Hagkull (unassisted) 6:08; ND 3. McCarthy (Urick, Andrusiak) 8:06; MS 4. Loeding (Keyes, Berens)19:06. Shots on goal: ND 10-4-7/21, MS 7-13-7/27. Saves: ND (Eisler) 6-11-6/23, MS (Alban) 9-4-5/18. Powerplay: ND 0-for-2, MS 1-for-4. Penalties: ND 6 for 12:00, MS 4 for 8:00.