NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Junior center Jason Deskins scored two goals and added an assist and the Miami RedHawks scored a pair of shorthanded goals to knock off the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 5-2, Friday night in CCHA action.
Deskins’ linemates, Ernie Hartlieb (goal and two assists) and Pat Leahy (three assists), also collected three points in the game to help Miami to its eighth win in the RedHawks’ last nine games. Miami is now 9-6-2 on the season and 6-4-1 in CCHA play.
The loss ran Notre Dame’s winless streak to seven games (0-5-2). The Irish fall to 3-10-3 on the year and 1-6-2 in league action.
“Here we are again,” said Irish coach Dave Poulin following the game. “Critical breakdowns by veteran players cost us again. We’ve had total breakdowns at the wrong times. It’s no mystery why we’re struggling. This is a talented team that has not played very well this season.
Turnovers in the defensive zone got Miami on the scoreboard just nine minutes into the game. Deskins got his tenth goal of the season when Leahy forced a turnover in the right-wing corner and fed the puck to Hartlieb who found Deskins alone in the slot. The center waited for Irish goaltender Tony Zasowski to commit and wristed it past him for the 1-0 lead.
The second goal was a carbon copy of the first as Leahy again forced an Irish turnover deep in their defensive zone. This time Deskins found Hartlieb in front and he beat Zasowski for his fifth of the season at 17:49.
ND would get four power-play chances in the second period which turned out to be costly, as Miami scored twice shorthanded.
Deskins made it 3-0 just 3:26 into the second stanza when the Irish gave the puck up near their own bench and Matt Chandler and Deskins broke in 2-on-1. Chandler fed the RedHawks’ leading scorer, who beat Zasowski low to the far post for his 11th goal of the season. That ended the night for Zasowski as Jeremiah Kimento took over in goal.
Poulin wouldn’t blame his goaltender for the three goals. “I wasn’t blaming Tony. We are really hanging our goaltenders out to dry.
“They (Miami) had seven shots at the time and three goals came off turnovers. They had some great chances all alone in front.”
The Irish finally got their power play rolling (two-for-nine in the game) as David Inman scored his sixth of the year on a long flip shot from the right-wing boards that somehow eluded Miami’s David Burleigh. The goal came off assists from Aaron Gill and Jon Maruk at 11:55.
Miami did its best to get the Irish back in the game as Matt Chandler went off for hooking just nine seconds after Inman’s goal. The Irish power play quickly turned into a Miami shorthanded goal.
Senior center Gregor Krajnc cashed in as he wristed one past Kimento on the first shot he saw to give Miami a 4-1 lead at the 13:27. For Kranjnc, it was his 10th of the season.
The Irish still weren’t done as they used the power play to cut Miami’s lead to 4-2 at 3:12 of the third. Gill fired a low hard wrister from the bottom of the left wing circle for ND’s second power play goal of the night and the freshman center’s fourth lamplighter of the season off assists from Evan Nielsen and Neil Komadoski.
Miami’s Nick Jardine closed out the scoring with his third goal of the season on the power play at 18:39 of the final period for the 5-2 score.
Burleigh made 28 saves in the game to improve to 7-5-2 on the season. Zasowski (1-6-1) made just four saves in 23:26 while giving up three goals. Kimento made 10 stops while giving up two goals in 36:34 of action.
“This is a challenge for me. We are going to figure it out and start to win games. It’s up to the players. This will end when they decide they want it to end,” said Poulin.
The Irish won’t have to wait long. They’ll face off against Miami on Saturday night at the Joyce Center with game time set for 7:05 p.m.