March 19, 2011
Detroit, Mich. - The weekend didn't go as Notre Dame had hoped when they returned to Joe Louis Arena and the CCHA Tournament for the first time since winning the playoff championship in March of 2009.
Instead, the Irish were handed a pair of losses, first by Miami, 6-2, in the CCHA semifinals on Friday night and then by Michigan, 4-2, in the third-place game on Saturday.
Saturday's loss was not for a lack of effort as Notre Dame peppered Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick with 44 shots but was only able to get goals from Riley Sheahan and T.J. Tynan on the afternoon. Four different Wolverines scored in the win as Louie Caporusso, Carl Hagelin, Jeff Rohrkemper and Luke Glendening contributed to the scoresheet in the victory.
The loss drops the eighth-ranked Irish to 23-13-5 overall while fourth-ranked Michigan improves to 26-10-4 for the year. Both teams will now wait to find out where they will play in the start of the NCAA Tournament next weekend. The selection show is set for Sunday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2. Notre Dame is 11th in the pairwise rankings while Michigan is seventh following the game. The top 16 teams make the tournament.
"I was pleased with our team's effort tonight," said head coach Jeff Jackson.
"I thought we played a much more complete game. We weren't as high risk with the puck and we played well without the puck. For the most part I was very pleased with out effort. It was a matter of their goaltending out performing ours."
After a slow start in the loss to Miami on Friday, Notre Dame was determined to get off to a better start versus Michigan, and they did.
The Irish struck first with a little help from the referee that set up Sheahan's goal at 4:34 of the opening stanza.
With the puck behind the Michigan goal, Hunwick tried to play the puck around the glass towards the left wing boards. The puck hit the referee in the corner and bounced in front of the Wolverine goal where Sheahan swooped in to back hand from the slot to back hand it past Hunwick as he scrambled to get back to the cage. The goal was Sheahan's fifth of the season and Notre Dame led 1-0.
That lead stayed in place until the 16:07 mark when Michigan got on the scoreboard twice in a 15-second span.
With Jeff Costello off for a tripping penalty, the Wolverines evened the score with a power-play goal by Caporusso.
Off a faceoff, the Irish broke back on the Michigan zone with a 3-on-2 short-handed bid that was broken up at the blue line by right wing Chris Brown. He carried the puck back through the neutral zone setting up a 2-on-1 with Caporusso. Brown fed Caporusso at the top of the left circle in the Notre Dame zone and the senior center beat Summerhays in the Irish goal with a shot between his blocker and body for his 10th goal of the year and a 1-1 tie.
Just 15 seconds later at 16:22, the Wolverines would take the lead as Hagelin scored his 18th of the season with an assist to Caporusso. Hagelin's wrister beat Summerhays from the left circle just inside the left post to make it a 2-1 game.
After a scoreless second period, Michigan would make it 3-1 on a goal by Rohrkemper at 4:37. Defenseman Mac Bennett fired a shot from the right side that Summerhays made the stop on. The rebound came out to the left of the crease and the freshman goaltender reached down to cover it. Before he could get his glove over it, Rohrkemper, who was coming across the front of the goal, dove and got his stick on the loose puck to poke it past Summerhays for his second goal of the year.
The Irish continued to press the attack as they pounded Hunwick with 16 shots in both the second and third periods.
With Summerhays pulled in favor of a sixth attacker Notre Dame was able to cut the lead to 3-2 at 18:38 on a goal by Tynan, his 22nd of the year.
Right wing Ryan Guentzel controlled the puck in the right circle and moved it to Nick Larson in the slot. Larson got the puck on the goal where it was blocked by the defense. Tynan, who was being driven to the ice by a Michigan defender, was able to get his stick on the puck and push it past Hunwick to give the Irish life with 1:22 left in the game.
That would be as close as Notre Dame would get though as Summerhays remained on the bench and the Wolverine's Luke Glendening scored into an open net with five seconds remaining for the final score of 4-2.
Notre Dame out shot Michigan, 44-23, in the game. Hunwick finished with 42 saves while Summerhays had 19 for the afternoon.
"Every game with this young group is a learning experience," said Jackson.
"One of the most important thing was for this team to get here as it will be to make the NCAA Tournament. All the freshmen and sophomores will be sophomores and juniors next year and every game they get to play in this environment is important. That's not to say we aren't going in to win it, because we are. We are capable of winning; we just need to find a way to get it done. It's a matter of confidence over time. I know they believe in each other but sometimes it's a matter of believing in themselves."
** IRISH NOTES**
* The last time that Notre Dame played in the third-place game was the during the 2007-08 tournament. The Irish lost that game, 2-1, to Northern Michigan. They then went on play in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA championship game.
* The Irish have now advanced to the CCHA championship series five times in the program's history. They have two championships (2007, 2009), one runner-up finish (1982) and two fourth-place finishes (2008, 2010).
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F #8/#8 Notre Dame (23-13-5) 1 0 1 - 2 #4/#4 Michigan (26-10-4) 2 0 2 - 4Scoring
First Period: ND: Riley Sheahan 5 (unassisted), UM: Louie Caporusso 10 (Chris Brown), 16:07; UM: Carl Hagelin 18 (Caporusso), 16:22.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UM: 0 for 0 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; UM: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 12 - 16 - 16 - 44 Michigan 9 - 8 - 6 - 23