Jan. 9, 1998
Alaska Fairbanks Edges Notre Dame, 3-2
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Chris Kirwan's goal with 45 seconds left in overtime lifted Alaska Fairbanks to a 3-2 comeback victory over visiting Notre Dame, in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday at the Carlson Center.
The Nanooks rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to further muddle the CCHA standings, as just four points separate fifth from ninth place.
Notre Dame (11-10-3, 6-7-3 CCHA) missed out on a chance to move into a tie for fifth, a spot currently shared by Lake Superior and Ferris State (both 7-6-3). The Lakers lost 7-0 Saturday at Ohio State (7-9-0), pushing the Buckeyes to within a point of seventh-place Notre Dame. FSU pulled off a 5-1 upset Saturday at Miami (9-4-1), dropping the RedHawks into a tie with Northern Michigan (8-5-3) for third place. NMU played to a 1-1 tie at second-place Michigan State (9-3-2), which fell five points behind frontrunning Michigan (12-2-1 after a 4-2 win over Bowling Green).
Alaska Fairbanks (7-14-2, 6-13-1)--which has just 10 games remaining in the 30-game CCHA schedule--remained a point behind OSU while moving within two points of the Irish. Idle Western Michigan (4-11-1) remains in 10th place while Bowling Green (2-11-2) is all but eliminated from the race for the eight CCHA Tournament spots (the top four teams will earn home ice).
Perkins earned a rare goalie assist on the game-winner, knocking the puck behind the net for Kevin Epp, who sent a long pass up the middle. Kirwan skated onto the puck for a breakaway chance and quickly beat Eisler for his ninth goal of the season (5:15).
Notre Dame owned a 37-25 shot advantage but UAF goaltender Ian Perkins was good for 35 saves, including 17 in the third period and three in overtime. Notre Dame senior Matt Eisler had 22 saves for the Irish, who have averaged 38 shots on goal during the last five games (10-plus shots in 15 of the last 17 periods).
Notre Dame opened to a 1-0 lead when passes from sophomore center Ben Simon and sophomore defenseman Sean Molina set up junior right wing Brian Urick, who skated untouched into the left side of the slot before beating Perkins (6:55) for his 10th goal of the season.
UAF netted the equalizer four minutes later, when Eon McFarlane's shot from the left point found its way through traffic (10:28). The Irish averted a scoreless second period, on sophomore right wing John Dwyer's goal with two seconds to play. Molina picked up his third assist in two games vs. UAF, feeding the puck to Dwyer, who got loose for his second goal of the season and fourth point in the last four games.
The hosts re-tied the game early in the third period, on a Sean Fraser power-play goal at the 2:58 mark. Jeff Trembecky set up the goal with a shot on net, with Fraser knocking home the rebound to ultimately force overtime (2:58). The goal was just the 14th opponent power-play score allowed by the Irish in 23 games this season.
Eisler crept closer to the 100 career games plateau (97) while pushing his career saves total to 2,539, just 28 behind Mark Kronholm for fifth on the Irish all-time list, 39 behind fourth-place Bob McNamara and 61 behind third-place Dave Laurion, who is in his fifth season as the UAF coach.
1ST: ND 1. Urick 10 (Molina, Simon) 6:55; UAF 1. MacFarlane 3 (Tiemstra, Hallett) 10:28.