March 15, 1998
Michigan Defeats Notre Dame Hockey, 4-3 in Decisive Game of CCHA Quarterfinal Series
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Notre Dame hockey team jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see the host University of Michigan rally behind three power-play goals for a 4-3 victory Sunday in the third and deciding game of the team's Central Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal series, before 5,342 fans at Yost Ice Arena (963 shy of a sellout).
Seventh-seeded Notre Dame (18-19-4) saw its season come to an end while coming up short in its bid to become the first team seeded 7th or lower to advance to the CCHA semi-finals. Michigan (30-10-1) moves on to a semi-final matchup vs. Ohio State while regular-season champion Michigan State will face Northern Michigan next week.
Both teams scored eight goals in the series while both senior goaltenders came through in the clutch. The teams also met in the regular-season finale (a 1-0 UM win at Notre Dame on March 7), with Notre Dame's Matt Eisler totaling 124 saves and allowing just nine goals in those four games (96 saves in the quarterfinals). UM's Marty Turco had 92 saves in the final four games vs. the Irish, including 57 in the playoff action.
After failing on 14 straight power-play chances vs. the Irish, Michigan converted on four of its final six man-up opportunities, including the game-tying goal on Saturday (UM went on to a 2-1 overtime win) and a 3-for-5 power-play effort on Sunday.
Freshman center Scott Matzka's four goal of the season held up as the game-winner and provided Michigan with its only sustained lead of the series (5:55). Dale Rominski and Geoff Koch set up the score, with a pass from the right boards zipping through the slot and finding Matzka's stick on the endline, near the left boards. Eisler had been stationed to his left and dove back to his right as Matzka was firing the puck on net. But the puck deflected off Eisler and went 90 degrees to the left for the decisive score.
Notre Dame jumped ahead with a first-period goal for the third straight night, when CCHA all-rookie team selection Mark Eaton continued his stellar play by scoring his 12th goal of the season, just two minutes into the game. Members of the fourth line provided the assists, as junior center Craig Hagkull emerged with the puck in the left corner and fed it to freshman left wing Jay Kopischke, who was stationed at the left side of the crease. Kopischke then slid the puck to his right for Eaton and the rookie defenseman tapped the puck by Turco for the 1-0 lead (2:00).
The Irish stretched to a 2-0 cushion in the second period, on the 25th goal of the season from junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale. Sophomore center Ben Simon worked the puck to junior right wing Brian Urick, whose pass from the left corner skipped into the slot. Turco came out in an attempt to clear the puck but the long-armed Dhadphale was able to get his stick on the puck, knocking it into the right side of the net for his first point vs. Michigan in six games this season (4:23).
UM began its comeback three minutes later, on the 11th goal of the season from freshman center Mark Kosick. Bill Muckalt fed the puck to Greg Crozier, whose shot from the top of the left circle kicked off the far right post. But Kosick was there to put home the rebound (7:39).
The Wolverines tied the game five minutes later on junior defenseman Bubba Berenzweig's power-play score, just his sixth goal of the season (12:18). Bobby Hayes won a right-side faceoff and Berenzweig emerged with the puck at the right endline. Berenzweig skated toward the net before sending a tough-angle shot that tucked inside the far left post.
UM's goal at 4:17 of the third period allowed the Wolverines to play with the lead for the first time in the series but the Irish re-tied the game just 14 seconds later.
Freshman right wing Josh Langfeld gave UM the 3-2 lead, nudging a pass from Muckalt past Eisler for his 17th goal of the season. But Irish freshman right wing Ryan Dolder answered 14 seconds later with his second goal of the series and just third of the season. Simon set up the goal with a pass to freshman left wing Chad Chipchase, who sent a shot in transition from the left side. The puck bounced into the air at the top of the crease, with Dolder deflecting it off his chest and knocking it into the open net as Turco slid by him.
NOTRE DAME (18-19-4) 1 1 1 - 3
MICHIGAN (30-10-1) 0 2 2 - 4
1st: ND 1. Eaton 12 (Kopischke, Hagkull) 2:00.
2nd: ND 2. Dhadphale 25 (Urick, Simon) 4:23; UM 1. Kosick 11 (Crozier, Muckalt) 7:39; UM 2. Berenzweig (Hayes, PP, 12:18.
3rd: UM 3. Langfeld 17 (Muckalt, Herr), PP, 4:17; ND 3. Dolder 3 (Chipchase, Simon); UM 4. Matzka 4 (Rominski, Koch), PP, 5:55.
Saves: ND (Eisler) 15-6-12/33, UM (Turco) 2-2-6/10.
Penalties: ND 7 for 14:00, UM 7 for 14:00.
Power Plays: ND 0-5, UM 3-5.
NOTES: Notre Dame played four straight games vs. the same team for the first time since '79, when the Irish lost the final regular-season series at Wisconsin and dropped two playoff games at UW ... UM's last four wins over the Irish have come by one goal ... the Wolverines are 14-4 in one-goal games this season while the Irish are 6-10 ... Eisler had 290 saves and 24 goals against in his final 11 games (a .924 save pct.) ... ND's 12 goals at Yost this season included nine by freshmen (three by Eaton, two by both Dolder and Dan Carlson and one by Matt Van Arkel) ... senior C Steve Noble became just the 5th Irish player ever to appear in 148 career games (he logged 75 straight) ... this will mark the first season in the 27-year history of the CCHA that both Bowling Green and Lake Superior failed to advance to the CCHA semi's ... Eaton's 29 points (12-17) included a team-best 18 on the road while his 12 goals equal the 7th-most ever by an Irish defenseman and most since Bob Thebeau's 15 in '85-'86 ... Simon finished the season with a team-best 37 points (8-28) but managed just two goals on 57 shots over the final 19 games, since returning from the World Junior Championship in Finland ... Notre Dame's 4-2 win on Friday represented just the sixth time in 126 CCHA playoff games that a team seeded #7-#10 has upset a team seeded five-plus spots higher ... Notre Dame is set to return 20 of its 22 skaters, with that group accounting for 84.9 percent of the team's points (276 of 325), including 111 of the 127 goals (.874), 36 of 39 power-play goals, all nine shorthanded goals and 15 of 18 game-winning goals .... all nine defensemen and backup goaltender Forrest Karr (6-3-1, 2.85, .875) also are set to return from an Irish defense that set school records for team GAA (2.74) and save pct. (.899) while posting the best season penalty-killing pct. (.843) since 1975 ... Notre Dame totaled 77 goals in 23 road games this season (3.4/gm).