Notre Dame learns lesson with 2 weekend losses
By MATT ORENCHUK
Sometimes speed kills. That was the lesson the Notre Dame hockey team learned this weekend, losing twice to the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks, 7-5 Friday and then 6-5 on Saturday.
"Teams look fast when they react well," said Irish head coach Dave Poulin. "[Alaska-Fairbanks] was jumping on every loose puck."
The two losses dropped the team to 9-14-5 overall, and 7-11-5 in the CCHA.
Saturday night's game proved to be a study in two different teams. In the first period Alaska-Fairbanks started off fast. The Nanooks scored the first three goals of the game, and the first period ended with a 4-1 Alaska-Fairbanks lead. Connor Dunlop scored the only Irish goal of the first with 2:13 left in the period.
Morgan Cey started the game Saturday for Notre Dame, but he didn't finish it. At the start of the second period Poulin pulled Cey in favor of senior Jeremiah Kimento.
The second period started much like the first ended for the Nanooks. Two minutes into the period Alaska-Fairbanks scored their fifth goal of the night to make it 5-1.
Then the Irish started to relax and make plays. Rob Globke scored 4:49 into the period to make it 5-2. Alaska-Fairbanks added another goal when Aaron Voros tapped in his second goal of the night to make the score 6-2.
Then the Irish rallied. Yan Stastny and Kyle Dolder scored 34 seconds apart to cut the lead to 6-4. The Irish got another goal with 1:08 left in the period from Neil Komadoski to make the game 6-5. It was Komadoski's first goal of the year.
"In the second we finally relaxed," said Poulin. "We didn't overthink the game, just went out and made plays."
In the third Alaska-Fairbanks pulled Preston McKay in favor of Lance Mayes in goal. The decision proved to be the right one for the Nanooks. Mayes shut down the Irish in the third. Notre Dame couldn't get anything going offensively, and the game ended 6-5.
In Friday's game the Irish just couldn't get over the hump. Down 6-5 late, Alaska-Fairbanks got an empty-netter to put the game away.
The game started out fast for both teams. Alaska-Fairbanks scored 31 seconds into the game. 1:48 later the Nanooks were up 2-0. But the Irish fought back. Connor Dunlop and David Inman both scored late in the period to make it a 2-2 game.
15 seconds into the second period the Irish took a 3-2 lead on an Evan Nielsen goal.
Alaska-Fairbanks then responded by putting three straight goals on the board for a 5-3 lead. That lead stood through the end of the second.
Stastny put one in 43 seconds into the third to pull the Irish within one. Through the third both teams traded goals, with Globke netting a goal for Notre Dame.
With the score 6-5 at the end of the game the Irish pulled their goalie for a shot at the tie. Instead Alaska-Fairbanks put in the empty-netter to seal the win.
A big loss in Friday's game was junior winger Mike Chin. Chin crashed into the boards in the second period and had to be helped off the ice. Initially trainers thought he broke his ankle, but it turned out to be a high ankle sprain. Nonetheless the loss of Chin's firepower will be crucial going into the final few weeks of the season.
Next weekend the Irish take on CCHA powerhouse Michigan State. With their CCHA positioning falling fast the past few weeks, Notre Dame needs a win. Next week the Irish will have to play at their best to stay in contention.
All Sports Stories for Monday, February 4, 2002