November 1, 1996

No. 1 Michigan Races To Quick Lead, Defeats Notre Dame 6-3

Irish rally falls short in second period before capacity Joyce Center crowd

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Five different Michigan players scored in the first period and the Wolverines staved off a second-period Notre Dame rally as the No. 1-ranked University of Michigan hockey team defeated the University of Notre Dame 6-3 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday in front of a sellout crowd (2,267) at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. The victory was the 15th straight win for defending NCAA champion Michigan (6-0, 4-0 CCHA), equaling the school record set during the 1990-91 season.

Notre Dame (2-2-1, 1-2-1) watched the visitors claim a 5-0 lead before scoring three unanswered goals in the first 12 minutes of the second period. But, Wolverines' junior Bill Muckalt netted his team-leading seventh goal of the season with six minutes left in the second period, stopping the Irish momentum on what would be the final goal of the game.

The win gives the Wolverines six points in the CCHA standings, allowing Michigan to keep pace with Michigan State for second place, behind Miami of Ohio (5-0-0). Michigan and Michigan State - an 8-2 winner Friday over the nation's No. 3-ranked team Bowling Green - will face off for sole possession of second place in the league on Saturday night, when the Spartans host the Wolverines.

Michigan outshot Notre Dame by a sizable margin (24-6) in the first period while stretching to the 5-0 lead, but the Irish stormed back in the first 12 minutes of the second period, scoring three times on goals by sophomore Benoit Cotnoir, freshman Joe Dusbabek and sophomore Aniket Dhadphale.

Notre Dame junior goaltender Matt Eisler bounced back from the frustrating first period to finish strong, stopping 24 of Michigan's 25 shots in the final two periods. Michigan junior Marty Turco totaled 28 saves while stretching his career record to 67-14-2.

The veteran Wolverines extended their domination of the series, as Michigan has won 22 of its last 23 games vs. Notre Dame. Cotnoir converted from his defensive position early in the second period (2:52) on a two-man advantage situation, launching a low blast from just inside the center of the blueline, off assists from freshmen Simon Fraser and Ben Simon (their first points with the Irish).

A potential turning point in the game followed moments later, when Michigan defenseman Harold Schock was whistled for a five-minute major penalty after hitting Dhadphale from behind. With the Wolverines forced to play a man down for the full five minutes (regardless of any Irish scoring), Notre Dame was able to score once but could not convert on any other chances. Dusbabek scored his team-leading third goal of the season midway through the Schock penalty, putting back a rebound on the right side of the crease after a shot from Dhadphale, with senior Ben Nelsen initiating the score with a pass around the perimeter.

Despite scoring just once during the five-minute power-play, the Irish added a third consecutive goal at the 12:19 mark of the second period, as Dhadphale picked up a loose puck in the slot, veered to his right while avoiding a Michigan player, and slid the puck inside the right post (12:19). The play began when junior Lyle Andrusiak dug the puck out from the left sideboards before Dusbabek maneuvered the puck towards the center of the ice.

Moments later, the Wolverines slowed the Irish momentum on a patented goal from Muckalt at the 14:03 mark. Senior defenseman Blake Sloan skated up the middle and slanted to the right before leaving the puck for Muckalt, who quickly faked a shot in the slot before backhanding a shot past Eisler at the let side of the crease.

Michigan broke out to a quick lead in the first 70 seconds of the game when senior John Madden stole the puck in the Irish zone and dropped a centering pass to the trailing sophomore Bubba Berenzweig, who blasted a slapshot that beat Eisler to the blocker side (1:19).

The visitors stretched to a 2-0 lead four minutes later, when senior Mike Legg took a pass from Sloan, streaked down the left side and beat Eisler with a backhand shot after the Irish goaltender came out to challenge.

The Wolverines tacked on three more goals in a span of five minutes to take a 5-0 lead into the first intermission. Sophomore Sean Ritchlin pushed the margin to three at the 13:53 mark, after taking a feed from junior Matt Herr just inside the blue line and sending a wrist shot past the sprawling Eisler. Senior Jason Botterill padded the Michigan lead with 1:34 remaining in the opening period, capitalizing on a 5-on-3 opportunity after penalties to Irish freshman Ben Simon and Cotnoir. Madden and senior Warren Luhning provided the setup passes as the Wolverines worked the puck around the Irish zone, with Botterill finding the net on a low slapshot from the top of the zone.

Michigan continued to capitalize in the waning moments of the first period (19:51), as Herr converted on the power-play off assists from Sloan and Legg.

Michigan senior Brendan Morrison was shut out from the scoring, while Madden's two assists gave him 11 in his career vs. the Irish. Botterill's goal was his 11th in the series vs. the Irish, while Legg recorded his seventh career goal and 10th assist in the series.

Postgame Quotes

Michigan Coach Gordon Berenson: "We more vulnerable to taking penalties when we're up 5-0. Don't ask me why. It was a whole different game from the second period on. We were on their heels, then we lost one of our best defensemen (Schock). All that happened in the second period ... That was our best first period of the season. I thought we did good things. When we were five on five we were very strong. Then we had two power play goals, and we really made them pay."

Michigan Defenseman Harold Shock: "I was upset that the penalty was called. This year the five minute hitting from behind penalty is an automatic game disqualification. At that point I was concerned about being able to play tomorrow night ... I've seen (Notre Dame) play one game and have heard some things about them. They're an improved team. When you play Notre Dame you know they're going to work hard, hit, and play defensive hockey. Every year I play in the league they get better."

Notre Dame Coach Dave Poulin: "We had a lot of standing around in the first period and Michigan made us pay. We played pretty well earlier this year as a result of what we have done. But there's a difference between wanting to do it and doing it, particularly when you're playing the #1 team in the nation. After the first period, we did a nicer job physically and skated well. You can't be physical without skating well. Eisler played well--you can't fault him on any of the goals. The first three Michigan goals were just skilled players performing. You're going to give up some of those. Morrison obviously has skills ... but he was pretty quiet tonight. We had a lot of chances in the third period because we skated well. We have increased our team speed but you have to do something with it. We started three kids tonight who are right out of high school and they're just going to continue getting better. This (sellout) was a great atmosphere and a good show after the first period."

Notre Dame Forward Aniket Dhadphale: "I can't explain the way we played in the first period. There's no excuse to starting out like that. You've got to give yourself a chance to win but instead we dug a hole."

Notre Dame Forward Joe Dusbabek: "Starting with the second period, we began hitting more and they were bailing out. They don't like being hit and we're turning the puck over--that's how we got two of our three goals. There definitely were positives. We saw that we can play with Michigan--we just have to do it for 60 minutes. You've got to get on them from the beginning because they are a very talented offensive team. In the first period, we weren't moving our feet and were caught out of position. We needed a wakeup call in the second period. Our fourth line of Craig Hagkull, John Dwyer and Neal Johnson was a great inspiration for us. They showed in the first period that you have to be physical with a team like Michigan."

Michigan 6, Notre Dame 3
CCHA Hockey - at Notre Dame's Joyce Center
MICHIGAN       5  1  0  - 6
NOTRE DAME     0  3  0  - 3

First:  MICH 1. - Berenzweig (Madden) 1:19;  MICH 2. -
Legg (Sloan, Magnuson) 5:09;  MICH 3. - Ritchlin (Herr);  MICH 4. -
Botterill (Luhning, Madden), PP 5-3, 18:26;  MICH 5. Herr (Sloan, Legg),
PP 5-4, 19:51.
Second:   ND 1. - Cotnoir (Fraser, Simon), PP 5-3, 2:52; 
ND 2. - Dusbabek (Dhadphale, Nelsen), PP 5-4, 6:32;  ND 3. - Dhadphale
(Dusbabek, Andrusiak) 12:19;  MICH 6. - Muckalt (Sloan) 14:03. 
Third: No scoring.
SHOTS ON GOAL: MICH 24-13-12/49;  ND 6-20-5/31
SAVES:  Turco (MICH) 6-17-5/28;  Eisler (ND) 19-12-12/43
PENALTIES:  MICH 11 for 25;  ND 9 for 18
POWERPLAY:  MICH 2 for 3;  ND 2-for-5

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