March 6, 1999
OXFORD, Ohio - Senior goaltender Forrest Karr made 36 saves and the rejuvenated Notre Dame special teams came through with three goals as the visiting Irish secured home-ice for the upcoming first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs with a 4-2 victory Saturday at Goggin Ice Arena over Miami University.
The game held huge significance for both teams, as Notre Dame (18-12-5, 15-11-4 CCHA) was looking to emerge from the regular season with the CCHAs fourth home-ice spot while Miami (11-20-5, 9-17-4) needed only a tie to claim the eighth and final playoff spot.
Notre Dame's win, coupled with Northern Michigan's 5-2 home loss to second-place Michigan, bumped the Irish one point ahead of the Wildcats (14-1-5) for a fourth-place finish. Miami finished a point behind Lake Superior (10-17-3), which completed its comeback from a dismal start to the season by posting a 5-1 home win over 10th-place Western Michigan.
The night's other two CCHA games also had playoff implications. Bowling Green (13-14-3) completed its sweep this week of Ohio State (17-10-3) by posting a 2-0 home win that dropped the Buckeyes to a third-place finish. The win would have moved the surging Falcons into a sixth-place finish, but Ferris State (13-12-5) maintained that spot with a 2-1 win at first-place Michigan State, ending the Spartans' 23-game unbeaten streak.
The first round of the CCHA Tournament will include four best 2-of-3 series on March 13-15 (game times of 7:00 p.m.), with the following matchups: Lake Superior at Michigan State, Bowling Green at Michigan, Ferris State at Ohio State, and Northern Michigan at Notre Dame.
Karr again showed why he should be considered among the top goaltenders in the CCHA this season, helping stop seven Miami power-play chances in the first two periods before coming up with 16 saves in the final 20 minutes. The Irish-who lost a tough 3-2 overtime game to Miami on Friday-finished the weekend with a perfect effort on the penalty kill (11-for-11).
Notre Dame had totaled just two shorthanded goals in its previous 34 games this season, but early in the second period Saturday, the Irish opened the scoring with two man-down scores in a span of just 36 seconds (during the same Miami power play). Sophomore left wing Chad Chipchase finished a breakaway for the first goal and senior left wing Aniket Dhadphale followed with a rebound goal moments later. Notre Dame's four-goal explosion in the second period continued when freshman center David Inman fired home a power-play shot, followed by a 5-on-5 goal by sophomore right wing Matt Van Arkel that gave the Irish a 4-0 lead.
The Irish were forced to shuffle their forward lines throughout the game, after junior right wing Joe Dusbabek was unable to play due to injury (his spot was taken in the lineup by sophomore Jay Kopischke). Several of the Notre Dame wings responded, with Chipchase and Van Arkel each recording their first goal in the last 13 games. Strong passes from sophomore left wing Dan Carlson set up both of those goals while sophomore right wing Ryan Dolder provided the initial shot that led to Dhadphales rebound goal.
Notre Dame completed a solid showing on the road over the past two seasons, during which time the Irish have posted at least one road victory over each of the other 10 CCHA teams. The victory was just the third ever for Notre Dame at Miami, versus 10 losses.
Chipchase opened the scoring at the 5:58 mark of the furious second period, which featured 18 shots on goal by the Irish and 10 by the RedHawks. With a minute still left on an Inman hooking penalty, Carlson alertly slapped the puck out of the Irish zone. Two Miami players managed to get a stick on Carlson's pass but the puck continued towards mid-ice, where Chipchase was patiently waiting for breakaway chance. The lefthanded Chipchase then skated in on Olsen before depositing a backhanded shot over the goalies left shoulder for Chipchase's 10th goal of the season (doubling his freshman-year output).
Just moments later, Dhadphale collected the puck in the Irish zone near the right boards and sent a cross-ice pass that eventually was controlled by Dolder, who slanted in from the left before sending a hard shot on net. Olsen batted the shot between the circles but Dhadphale was in perfect position to send a one-timer back past Olsen for Dhadphales team-leading 18th goal of the season and third in the last four games (6:34).
Seven minutes later, Inman converted a 4-on-3 power-play chance for his third goal in the last five games. Senior right wing Brian Urick worked the puck to junior defenseman Tyson Fraser, who slid a pass across the ice from the top of the left circle. Inman then uncorked a hard shot from the far side of the right circle, beating Olsen for a 3-0 Irish lead and Inmans 10th goal of his rookie season.
Van Arkel added to the lead late in the second period, on his eighth goal of the season. Inman set the play in motion with a pass down the boards that found Carlson in the left corner. Carlson then fired the puck to the far side of the crease for Van Arkel, who smacked home his own rebound for the 4-0 Irish lead.
Miami then scored twice in the next 4:10 of game time, making for a tense final 18-plus minutes of action. The first Miami goal was set up after Fraser was taken down behind the RedHawks net. Miami senior defenseman Ryan Brindley seized the advantage with a breakout pass from his own end and junior left wing Mark Shalawylo then led a 2-on-1 break down the left side before beating Karr with a high shot to the far glove side (18:15).
Miami cut the lead to 4-2 at the 1:21 mark of the final period, when sophomore right wing Alex Kim scored from between the circles. Kim knocked home a rebounded shot by junior center Dustin Whitecotton, who returned to action in Friday night's game after missing most of the season with a broken arm.
Karr was brilliant in the third period, when he stopped 16 of Miami's 17 Miami shots on net. One of the biggest saves came in the closing moments, on a delayed penalty situation. Amidst a confused scramble around the goal, Miami sophomore right wing Pat Leahy sent a shot from the bottom of the left circle that appeared headed for the back of the net. But Karr pounced to his right, making the save and preserving the two-goal cushion.
The ensuing hooking penalty on Irish junior defenseman Andy Jurkowski, coupled with Miami choosing to pull Olsen from the ice, resulted in a 6-on-4 chance for the desperate RedHawks over the final 1:49. But Karr and the Irish defense made the final stops, ensuring at least two more games at the Joyce Center in 1998-99.
Unsung heroes in the game included Fraser and junior defenseman Sean Molina. Fraser dove to deflect a shot in the closing minutes and was in noticeable pain after taking the shot off his body. Molina, who was still feeling the effects of a physical game on Friday, turned in a gutsy effort that included being on the ice for each of the shorthanded goals and Van Arkel's score.
NOTRE DAME (18-12-5, 14-11-4 CCHA) 0 4 0 - 4
MIAMI (11-20-5, 9-17-4 CCHA) 0 1 1 - 2
2nd: ND 1. Chipchase 10 (Carlson), SH, 5:58; ND 2. Dhadphale 18 (Dolder), SH, 6:34; ND 3. Inman (Fraser, Urick), PP, 13:21; ND 4. Van Arkel 8 (Carlson, Inman) 17:11; MIA 1. Shalawylo 13 (Brindley), PP, 18:15.
3rd: MIA 2. Kim 11 (Whitecotton, Neiezchled) 1:21.
Shots: ND 5-18-4/27, MIA 11-10-17/38.
Saves: ND (Karr) 11-9-16/36; MIA (Olsen) 5-14-4/23.
Power Play: ND 1-for-5, MIA 0-for-8.
Penalties: ND 13 for 29:00,MIA 10 for 20:00.