Jan. 19, 2008
Ann Arbor, Mich. - For the second game in a row, Notre Dame's hockey fortunes were decided in the final minute of regulation play. On Friday night at Michigan's sold-out Yost Arena, the Wolverines got the game-winning goal with 20.3 left on the clock when freshman Louie Caporusso tucked a rebound past Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce to give Michigan a 3-2 victory.
Caporusso's goal capped a Michigan comeback that saw the Wolverines get three unanswered goals over the final two periods to wipe out a 2-0 first-period lead for the Irish. Kevin Deeth and Justin White scored the first two goals of the game only to be answered in the middle stanza as Michigan evened the score on goals by Kevin Porter and Matt Rust.
The heartbreaking loss drops the eighth-ranked Irish to 18-8-1 overall and 11-5-1 in the CCHA. No. 1-ranked Michigan improves to 21-2-0 on the year and 14-1-0 in the conference. Notre Dame's loss coupled with Michigan State's 4-1 win at Ohio State drops the Irish to fourth in the CCHA standings.
Notre Dame is now 0-2-1 in its last three games and 2-4-1 in the second half of the season. The loss also snapped a three-game Irish winning streak versus Michigan as they swept the Wolverines in three meetings last season.
After scoring just 11 goals in the first six games of the second half of the year, the Irish offense came to life early at Yost Arena, scoring twice in the first six minutes of the game.
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead at 3:33 of the first when Deeth converted a Wolverine turnover into his sixth goal of the year.
With the Irish in a line change, the sophomore center intercepted a clearing attempt along the left wing boards and carried it toward the goal. His wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle deflected off a Michigan defenseman's stick and over Wolverine goaltender Billy Sauer for a 1-0 Irish lead.
Less than three minutes later at 5:53, the Irish improved the lead to 2-0 when White capped a two-on-one rush with Ryan Guentzel for his fourth goal of the season.
Freshman left wing Calle Ridderwall stepped in front of a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed Guentzel at the Michigan blue line. Guentzel carried toward the goal and waited for the Wolverine defender to commit, then slid a pass across to White who whipped it past Sauer for the goal.
White almost got his second of the night at 10:58 of the first when he ripped a shot off the left post from the slot but the Irish would not score again on the night as they out shot the Wolverines by an 11-9 margin in the opening period.
Michigan got back in the game with a pair of second-period goals. The first came just 21 seconds into the second period on a four-on-three power play.
Porter, who now has nine career goals versus the Irish in 12 games, took a pass at the top of the right circle from defenseman Chad Langlais and wasted no time burying a shot behind Pearce on a slapper between the goaltender's pads and the right post. The goal was Porter's 21st of the season.
The Wolverines got the equalizer at 12:05 of the period off the stick of Rust. The freshman center took a drop pass from Aaron Palushaj and ripped a shot from the left wing circle past Pearce for his eighth goal of the season.
Notre Dame would have its chances in the third period but could not get the puck past Sauer. At 2:19 of the period, Michigan defenseman Chris Summers received a five-minute major for checking from behind to give the Irish a five-minute power play. They would not even get a shot in 4:13 of power-play time before an Irish penalty ended the power play.
On the night, Notre Dame's power play was again 0-for-5 to extend the goal-less drought to seven games and 35 straight chances without a man-advantage goal.
As time ran down, Michigan controlled play inside the Notre Dame zone. Left wing Brandon Naurato got a shot off from the right circle with Pearce making the initial stop. Caporusso was parked on the door step to the right of Pearce and was able to get the rebound past him for the game-winning goal.
For the game, Michigan out shot Notre Dame by a 28-26 margin. Pearce finished with 25 saves on the night while Sauer had 24 in the game.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in Notre Dame's "home" game that will be played at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and the game will be televised by Comcast Local. This marks the sixth time that the Irish will have played at the Palace in the program's history with the last game there in on Feb. 16, 1996. They have played Michigan in four of the those five games.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F #8/#8 Notre Dame (18-8-1/11-5-1) 2 0 0 - 2 #1/#1 Michigan (21-2-0/14-1-0) 0 2 1 - 3
Second Period: UM: Kevin Porter 21 (Chad Langlais, Aaron Palushaj), PPG, 00:21; UM: Matt Rust 8 (Palushaj), 12:05. Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: UM: Louie Caporusso 5 (Brandon Naurato, Travis Turnbull), 19:39. Penalties: ND: 5 for 10 minutes; UM: 7 for 25 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 11 - 8 - 7 - 26 Michigan 9 - 11 - 8 - 28