Dec. 12, 1997
Notre Dame Falls to Wisconsin, 3-2
NOTRE DAME, IN--The Fighting Irish hockey team lost for the first time in four games on Friday night. The visiting Badgers of Wisconsin took the second game of the home and home series by a score of 3-2, after dropping the first game on Wednesday night 4-2, in Madison.
The Badgers got an early lead on Kevin Granato's third goal of the season. Granato took the puck off the left wing boards, spun around an Irish defenseman and wristed a high shot at Notre Dame netminder Matt Eisler. Eisler got his catching glove on the puck and it deflected up into the air, landed in the crease and rolled into the open net at 5:58 of the first period.
The Badgers took that 1-0 lead into the second period, but the Irish fought back to tie the game at the 16:10 mark of the session. The Badgers went down two men at 14:37, and Irish junior Brian Urick took advantage by scoring his fifth goal of the year. Urick took a cross ice pass from Ben Simon deep in the left circle, and roofed the puck over Badger goalie Graham Melanson. The Badgers responded just 1:45 later when Kevin Granato notched his second goal of the game. Granato picked up the puck in the slot and skated to his left and beat a sliding Eisler with a wrister.
The Irish were able to tie the game again at 10:59 in the third, when Urick tallied for the second time on the night. Freshman Dan Carlson skated into the Wisconsin zone and circled at the left point, he then sent a cross ice pass to a streaking Ben Simon, who spun and put a backhanded pass on the tape of Urick's stick as he skated across the top of the crease, enabling him to deflect the puck into the net. The Badgers rebounded quickly again, taking only 1:12 to score the go-ahead goal. The Badgers went on the power play at 11:27, when Ben Simon was whistled for charging. Sophomore Dustin Kuk picked up a loose rebound of an Erik Raygor shot out in front of the net and scored the game winning goal at 12:11.
Wisconsin goaltender Graham Melanson had an excellent night in net, making 34 saves, including two on breakaways by Carlson, and freshman Jay Kopischke. Melanson also stopped Mark Eaton with a spectacular glove save at point blank range to preserve the 3-2 victory for the Badgers.
"We had plenty of chances to win the game tonight," stated Irish head coach Dave Poulin. "Their goaltender played real well, and he made an excellent stop on Mark Eaton late in the third. We have to play the entire game like we did in the third period. Its a game we have to win."
The loss dropped the Irish to 9-7-2 on the season, and raised Wisconsin's record to 8-6. The Irish now have two weeks off for finals and the holidays, before hitting the ice again on December 27 in Minnesota in the opening round of the Mariucci Classic, where they will face off against Northeastern.