Nov. 27, 2004
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish saw their weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska come to an end with a tough, hard-fought, 3-2 loss to the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks at the Carlson Center.
A third-period goal by the Nanooks' Ryan McLeod proved to be the game winner as the Irish got third-period goals from Evan Rankin and Josh Sciba in the one-goal loss.
The loss snapped Notre Dame's four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) and drops them to 3-6-4 overall and 2-5-3 in CCHA play. The Nanooks improve to 6-4-0 on the year and 5-3-0 in league play.
After getting shut out nine power-play chances on Friday night, Alaska Fairbanks wasted little time on Saturday with the man advantage.
The Nanooks controlled the puck in the Irish zone with defenseman Darcy Campbell getting off a slap shot from the top of the left wing circle. Irish goaltender Morgan Cey was able to make the pad save but the rebound went right to Curtis Fraser on the right side of the goal. The sophomore center rammed the loose puck past Cey at 7:01 for the only goal of the opening period as the Nanooks led 1-0 after the opening stanza.
Alaska Fairbanks would score the lone goal of the second period to take a 2-0 lead. Senior right wing Jason Grinevitch broke up an Irish pass at the UAF blue line and broke back three-on-one into the Notre Dame zone. Using his linemates as a decoy, Grinevitch took a blast from the top of the right wing circle that beat Cey high to the glove side at 2:05 of the period. The goal was Grinevitch's second of the season.
Notre Dame finally broke through in the third period on goaltender Wylie Rogers, snapping his shut out bid at 6:23 on the power play.
Evan Rankin, in his first game since being sidelined with a hip injury the past two weeks, got the goal, his fourth of the season after some hard work by Tim Wallace and Cory McLean in the left wing corner.
McLean worked the puck free and poked it to Rankin behind the net. The freshman center just walked out in front of the net and steered it between Rogers pads to make it a 2-1 game.
The Nanooks answered right back though, scoring 1:26 later as Ryan McLeod cashed in a two-on-one scoring chance at the 7:49 mark of the third period.
Kelly Czuy made the play as he burst down the left wing, pulled the defenseman toward him and slid the puck across the ice to McLeod who deflected the pass past Cey for the 3-1 lead.
Notre Dame wasn't done however as the Irish cut the lead to 3-2 with 20 seconds left.
With Cey pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Wes O'Neill fired a shot from the right point that Josh Sciba was able to deflect inside the right post for his third goal of the season at 19:40.
In the game, Alaska Fairbanks out shot Notre Dame by a 25-20 margin. Cey finished the night with 22 saves for the Irish while Rogers made 18 saves on the night.
After scoring their first goal on the power play, the Nanooks were stopped on their next six chances, finishing the night going 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Notre Dame was 1-for-4 for the evening on the power play.
Notre Dame returns to action next week with a home-and-home series versus top-ranked Michigan. On Friday, Dec. 3, the Irish travel to Ann Arbor for a 7:35 p.m. game with the Wolverines. On Saturday, Dec. 4, the two teams will battle at the Joyce Center on 7:05 p.m