March 7, 1998
Michigan Tops Notre Dame Hockey, 1-0
Teams to Meet Again in CCHA Tournament
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Bill Muckalt scored his 30th goal of the season just 32 seconds into the game and Marty Turco made 35 saves for his 14th career shutout as visiting Michigan held on for a 1-0 victory over injury-plagued Notre Dame on the final night of Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season play Saturday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.
Notre Dame's loss, coupled with Ferris State's 6-1 home loss Saturday to Ohio State, places the Irish (17-17-4, 12-14-4 CCHA) into the #7 seed for the upcoming CCHA Tournament quarterfinals (March13-15, best 2-of-3). Notre Dame--which finished tied for sixth place with Lake Superior State (12-14-4) but dropped to 7th based on LSSU owning a 2-0-1 head-to-head tiebreaker--will encounter a rematch with #2 seed Michigan, at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
Ferris State (12-15-3) failed to move out of 8th place and next will travel to Munn Ice Arena to face regular-season champion and #1 seed Michigan State (21-5-4), which will be coming off a 5-1 loss Saturday at Northern Michigan. That win, coupled with Miami's 6-1 loss Saturday at Bowling Green, allowed NMU (15-12-3) to vault past Miami (14-12-4) into 4th and the final home-ice spot, with those teams set to meet in Marquette next weekend.
The other CCHA quarterfinal pairing has #3 Ohio State (19-10-1) hosting LSSU, at the OSU Ice Rink.
Muckalt scored unassisted on the first shot of the game, after Irish senior goaltender Matt Eisler attempted to clear the puck around the back boards. Eisler skated behind the net to his left and whipped the puck back to the right. But the puck took a strange bounce off the boards and squirted out into the crease area near the far post. Muckalt skated onto the loose puck and flicked a shot inside the left post, with Eisler diving across the crease in a futile attempt to stop what would be the game's only scoring (0:32).
Notre Dame owned a 35-19 shot advantage--including 15-0 on power plays--but could not solve Turco, whose 14 shutouts established a new record for "western" schools, just two behind the all-time NCAA record held by Clarkson's Wally Easton (1927-31).
The Irish failed to cash in seven power-play chances while Michigan was 0-for-4.
Notre Dame's defense continued to play without injured sophomores Nathan Borega and Tyson Fraser while freshman Ryan Clark also missed Saturday's game due to injury. Michigan also played without one of its top defensemen, as Bubba Berenzweig sat out due to injury.
The Irish had several chances in the final period but could not gain the equalizer. Notre Dame had one final power-play chance with 1:34 left to play, after a five-minute high-sticking penalty on Matt Herr, but Turco saved a shot by Mark Eaton with 40 seconds to play and a second shot by Eaton was blocked by the defense with 24 seconds remaining.
Earlier in the third period, Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale took a pass in the slot with 17:33 to play and sent a spin shot wide of the net. A minute later, Troy Bagne was camped at the top of the crease but couldn't put a strong enough shot on Turco. Then, with 14:39 to play, Eaton zipped a pass to Dhadphale, who broke in on Turco only to be whistled offsides.
Turco made a tough glove save on a shot by Ben Simon with 13:18 to play and Simon misfired on a shot from the slot 90 seconds later. Dhadphale had the last strong scoring chance of the game, taking a pass from Benoit Cotnoir and firing a shot towards the lower left corner with 3:34 to play. But Turco made the save with his right leg.
MICHIGAN (28-9-1, 22-7-1 CCHA) 1 0 0 - 1 NOTRE DAME (17-17-4, 12-14-4 CCHA) 0 0 0 - 0 1ST: ND 1. Muckalt 30 (unassisted) 0:32. SHOTS: MICH 11-5-3/19, ND 15-13-7/35. SAVES: MICH (Turco) 15-13-7/35; ND (Eisler) 10-5-3/18. POWER PLAY: MICH 0-4, ND 0-7. PENALTIES: MICH 11 for 25:00, ND 8 for 16:00.