SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Ferris State sophomore left wing Chris Kunitz scored a pair of power-play goals and senior defensemen Scott Lewis and Jim Dube picked up a pair of assists as the Bulldogs downed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-2, at the Joyce Center on Friday night.
The Ferris State win moved the Bulldogs past Notre Dame and out of the CCHA cellar. FSU has won two of its last three games to improve to 6-11-4 overall and 2-8-3 in the league, good for seven points.
Notre Dame has dropped three in a row and eight of its last nine games to slide to 4-15-3 on the year and 2-9-2 (six points) in the CCHA.
FSU broke on top at 6:11 of the first period when Rob Collins deflected a Lewis shot from the right point past Notre Dame’s Kyle Kolquist for a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame came back to tie the game at 5:29 of the second period on some hard work by senior left wing Dan Carlson.
Carlson burst out of the penalty box after serving a minor for cross-checking and raced in on FSU’s Phil Osaer. The junior goaltender denied Carlson with a sliding pad save.
Ferris State broke back and Carlson intercepted a pass at the Irish blue line, and was joined by Matt Van Arkel for a two-on-one break. Carlson, Notre Dame’s top scorer, pulled the defense toward him and fed Van Arkel, who buried a one-timer past Osaer for his second goal of the year.
The Irish took the lead for the only time of the night at 10:52, when their three hottest players, Carlson, right wing Ryan Dolder and defenseman Brett Lebda combined for a Dolder power-play goal, giving all four players four-game scoring streaks.
Carlson moved the puck along the left-wing boards to Lebda, who sent a pass to Dolder at the right point. The senior slapped the puck at the net and his shot broke off Osaer’s glove and trickled into the net for his ninth goal of the season.
The Irish lost the momentum due to a pane of glass in the Notre Dame end popping loose. After a 15-minute delay to repair it, the Irish never seemed to get that jump back.
An icing call on the Irish late in the second period cost them. FSU center Kevin Swider appeared to lose a faceoff to the left of Kolquist, but beat the Notre Dame defense to the loose puck and walked out in front of Kolquist.
The senior goaltender made a save on the first shot, but the rebound came to Swider, who flipped it into the open goal with just 4.6 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 2.
“There’s no question that goal was the first key play in the game,” Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin said. “I don’t think the glass coming loose changed the momentum. I thought we were tired too and the break was OK, not as long as we had, but I don’t think it affected us.”
The second key play came at 3:24 of the third period. With the Irish already killing a power play, senior defenseman Ryan Clark was whistled off for cross-checking in front of the goal.
With the five-on-three advantage, Kunitz got his first goal of the night and 10th of the season with just one second left on the first Irish penalty.
“The second penalty really killed us,” Poulin said. “We had almost killed the first one and that gave them the five-on-three. Those two plays cost us two goals.”
The Irish, who mustered just five shots in the third period, pulled Kolquist with 1:21 left in the period and controlled the play in the Ferris State zone, until Dolder was whistled off for elbowing at 19:25.
Kunitz got his second of the night into the empty net with just seven seconds left.
Ferris State outshot Notre Dame 33-22. Kolquist, still searching for his first career win, made 29 stops as his record went to 0-2-1. Osaer made 20 saves for the Bulldogs as he improved to 2-4-2.
“We played well in segments of the game,” Poulin said. “But that’s not good enough. They have to learn to play an entire 60-minute game. I told them after the game that this would stop when they get sick and tired of losing. They have to figure it out.”