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    Fighting Irish

    Feb. 28, 1997

    No. 8 Michigan State Hockey Defeats Notre Dame 3-2

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- Mike Watt and Mike York scored one minuit, 45 seconds apart in the third period as eighth-ranked Michigan State overcame a two-goal defecit to defeat Notre Dame 3-2 at the Joyce Field House on Friday night.

    The Spartans, 20-11-3 overall and 16-7-3 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, secured the No. 3 seed in the CCHA postseason tournament. The Irish, 9-25-1 and 6-20-1, finished their season with the 12-one goal loss of the season.

    "We were pretty sloppy in the early stages and pretty slugish, but when it was two-nothing, I don't think anyone on our team panicked," Michigan State coach Ron Mason said. "I told them that we had to keep playing our game and see if the game will give us a goal."

    The loss was the 10th in 11 outings for the Irish.

    "In many ways that was a microcosm of exactly of what we went through all season," Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin said. "I thought we played pretty well tonight. We had a good week of practice, and I thought they came and played hard, and I admire them for that, and I think they should take a lot of prided in that."

    Notre Dame was eliminated from CCHA playoff contention after a 6-1 loss at Western Michigan last Saturday.

    "The fact that we came out and played hard even though we had nothing on the line is a tribute to this team," Poulin said. "I thought they played extremely hard against a team that is fighting for anywhere between second to fourth place."

    Michigan State, which trailed 2-1 at the end of two periods, tied the score on a delayed penalty call. Irish goalie Matt Eisler deflected a Kevin O'Keefe shot out to the right circle where Watt connected on a wrist shot for his 19th goal of the season, tying the game at 2;26 of the third period.

    Michigan State took the lead for good when York took an O'Keefe pass along the right boards, outraced the Irish defense and fired a shot past Eisler at the 4:11 mark of the third period.

    The victory gave Michigan State a sweep of the three-game season series.

    The Spartans defense stifled the Irish, allowing just four third-period shots on net.

    Notre Dame dominated play in the first period, limiting the Spartans to four shots on net. The Irish scored the only goal of the period when Lyle Andrudiak tipped the puck past Spartan goalie Chad Aldan on a two-on-one breakaway with senior co-captain Terry Lorenz. Notre Dame was unable to build the lead, failing to convert on three first period power play opportunities.

    The Irish pushed the lead to 2-0 when Steve Noble took a Brian Urick pass between the circles and scored 1:03 into the second period for his ninth goal of the season.

    Michigan State scored its first goal of the game on the power play. The Spartans worked the puck to a wide open Steve Ferranti who beat Eisler to the stick side.

    The game marked the final contest for five Notre Dame seniors - Lorenz, Tim Harberts, Brian McCarthy, Ben Nelsen and Erik Berg.

    Notre Dame         1  1  0 -- 2
    Western Michigan   0  1  2 -- 3
    1st period:  (ND) Andrusiak 7 (Lorenz, Johnson), 7:11.
    2nd period: (ND) Noble 9 (Urick), 1;03; (MSU) Ferranti 11 (Hodgins, Kozakowski), 3:35.
    3rd period:  (MSU) Watt 19 (O'Keefe, York) 2:26; York 17 (O'Keefe, Watt) 4:11.
    Shots on Goal
    Notre Dame        9-6-4 -- 19
    Michigan State    4-12-10 -- 25
    
    Saves/Minutes
    ND  - Eisler (58:56)   4-11-8 -- 23
    MSU - Alban (60:00)    8-5-4 -- 17
    
    Penalties
    Notre Dame         6-for-23:00
    Michigan State     6-for-12:00
    
    Power Play Conv
    Notre Dame        0-for-4
    Michigan State    1-for-5
    
    Records
    Notre Dame         9-25-1 (6-20-1)
    Michigan State     20-11-3 (16-7-3)
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