Feb. 14, 1998
Western Michigan Downs Notre Dame Hockey, 5-3
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Freshmen Jay McCabe and David Gove both scored twice while little-used rookie goaltender Chris Peck picked up his first career victory as Western Michigan kept alive its faint CCHA playoff hopes with a 5-3 victory over visiting Notre Dame, in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday at Layson Arena.
Notre Dame (14-15-4, 9-12-4 CCHA)--which again played without injured sophomore defensemen Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega-- failed to move closer to clinching its first berth in the CCHA Tournament since 1995. The Irish now stand seventh in the CCHA standings, two points behind Lake Superior (10-11-4) and a point ahead of Ferris State (9-12-3). LSSU posted a 3-2 win Saturday at FSU, with the Lakers set to host Notre Dame next weekend (Feb. 21) in a game that will determine the season series and head-to-head tiebreaker (LSSU leads the series, 1-0-1, with a +2 goal differential).
Western Michigan (7-24-2, 6-18-1) remains tied with Bowling Green (5-16-3) for 10th place, eight points behind FSU in the race for the eight playoff spots. Idle Alaska Fairbanks (6-17-2) stands in ninth place, with games this week at LSSU and Northern Michigan before hosting WMU for three games to close the regular season.
In other CCHA action Saturday, frontrunning Michigan (19-4-1) posted a 4-2 win over fifth-place NMU (13-9-3) to clinch one of the four home-ice positions. Michigan State (16-4-4) strengthened its hold on second place with a 4-1 win over third-place Ohio State (15-10-1), halting OSU's 10-game unbeaten streak. Bowling Green kept its faint postseason hopes alive, holding on for a 5-4 home win over fourth-place Miami (13-8-4).
The loss prevented Notre Dame from posting its first sweep of a CCHA season series since 1994-95, when the Irish took all three games from OSU. Notre Dame won at WMU on Dec. 5 (2-1) before beating the Broncos at home the next night (4-2).
The Irish--who held a 29-24 edge in shots but were 0-for-6 on the power play--again were victimized Saturday by unforeseen offensive heroes for the opposition. Gove, WMU's second-line left wing, entered the game with just eight points (3G-5A) but added half of that total with a two-goal, two-assist performance. McCabe, the fourth-line right wing, had no career points before scoring twice and adding an assist. Sophomore center Corey Waring assisted on four WMU goals, after totaling just six points (3G-3A) in WMU's previous 32 games.
Junior Forrest Karr had 17 saves for the Irish but was pulled from the game midway through the third period, after Gove had scored for a 5-1 WMU lead. Freshman Kyle Kolquist then saw the first action of his Irish career, stopping both shots he faced. Peck made 26 saves for his first career win, after going 0-5-0 in his previous five decisions.
McCabe opened the scoring in the closing moments of the first period, after the Irish failed to clear the puck. Waring forced a turnover and Gove sent a pass from behind the net, with McCabe filling the slot for the 1-0 lead (19:29).
WMU senior defenseman Jeff Rucinski's sixth goal of the season came in unusual fashion, early in the second period. Rucinski took a pass from fellow defenseman Brent Lovett and skated free on a breakaway. Karr committed and Rucinski elected to skate past the net before banking a shot off Karr from behind the right side of the net (3:10).
The Irish struck midway through the second, when sophomore center Ben Simon knocked the puck free to junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale. Dhadphale led a charge down the right side and crossed the puck into the slot for freshman right wing Matt Van Arkel, who beat Peck with a one-timer for his fifth goal of the season (12:26).
Crisp passes in the opening moments of the third gave WMU a 3-1 lead. McCabe worked the puck to Waring, who drew the Irish defense near the right boards before zipping a pass to the trailing Gove, who beat Karr at the far left side of the net (1:39). Just 34 seconds later, Waring and Gove set up a shot by McCabe from the top of the right circle, with Karr failing to come up with the save and the Broncos taking a 4-1 lead (2:13).
Waring set up Gove's breakaway goal at 10:16 of the third, with Gove ending Karr's night on a backhanded shot into the upper right corner of the net.
The Irish made the score more respectable with goals in the closing minutes by senior center Lyle Andrusiak and sophomore right wing John Dwyer. Andrusiak took a pass from freshman left wing Jay Kopischke and pushed the puck past Peck with a high glove-side shot (17:26). Freshman defenseman Mark Eaton and Simon set up the final goal, with Dwyer nudging home a backhanded shot from the right side of the crease (19:38).
NOTES: Neither team scored on the power play during this year's three-game series (ND was 0-for-11, WMU 0-for-10) ... senior C Steve Noble played in his 67th consecutive game and the 140th (out of 141) of his career ... Dhadphale has nine points in the last four games (5G-4A) but stunningly had just one shot and no goals vs. WMU this season (no shots Saturday) ... Dwyer has nine points (5G-4A) in the last 13 games while Eaton has 13 (6G-7A) in the last nine ... junior right wing Brian Urick has 14 goals this season but just one in the last four games ... Simon has points in 22 of the 28 games he has played this season while his 32 points (9 G-23A) are most at Notre Dame since Jamie Ling's 43 in 1994-95.
NOTRE DAME (14-15-4, 9-12-4 CCHA) 0 1 2 - 3 WESTERN MICHIGAN (7-24-2, 6-18-1 CCHA) 1 1 3 - 5
1ST: WMU 1. McCabe 1 (Gove, Waring) 19:29.