SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Freshman goaltender Morgan Cey stopped 36 of 37 Northern Michigan shots and David Inman paced the Notre Dame offense as the Irish stopped the ninth-ranked Wildcats 4-1 in front of a sellout crowd at the Joyce Center Friday night.
The Irish staked Cey to a 3-0 lead after two periods and the freshman surrendered just a lone power play goal in the final stanza as Notre Dame improved to 8-8-5 on the season and 6-4-4 in the CCHA. Northern Michigan goes to 12-7-2 overall with the loss and 7-6-2 in conference play.
“Obviously this was a huge win for us,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin. “Our goaltender played great, our special teams played well and everyone contributed to the victory. I thought our line of David Inman, Rob Globke and Michael Chin had a good night after not playing together since the Bowling Green series (Dec. 7-8).”
The Inman-Globke-Chin line combined for three goals and four assists on the night and in five games together this season has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points and is +21.
For the 14th time in 21 games this year, the Irish scored first. Inman whipped a shot past Northern’s Craig Kowalski off a feed from Globke for his 12th of the season at 7:25. For Globke, who missed four games while playing in the World Junior Championships, it was his first point since returning to the lineup.
“The return of Robby and Brett (Lebda) and Yan (Stastny) gave us extra energy tonight. It really helped us balance our lines,” said Poulin.
The Irish scored twice in the second period. Globke got his sixth of the season, this one on the power play off assists from Inman and Chin. Inman carried the puck from the left wing corner and found Globke in the high slot. Globke drilled a shot past Kowalski for the eventual game-winner at 11:48.
Chin got into the act at 14:36 when Inman slid the puck ahead to the junior right wing who worked around the defense to notch his 10th of the year. Chin was glad to be reunited with his linemates.
“We really have good chemistry out there. We work well together,” said Chin. “We aren’t selfish and we seem to find each other on the ice. I had some shots early, but didn’t score, but Dave (Inman) heard me and got me the puck in the second period and I put it in.”
From there, it was Morgan Cey’s job to hold the fort as Northern came at the Irish goaltender hard in the second and third period with 30 of their 37 shots. In his last three games, Cey has stopped 106 of 112 shots (94.6% save percentage).
“They came out real hard at the beginning of the second period and got some good shots early. That got me in a zone and I felt good. Goalies like to get tested early,” saidCey. “The big thing was that the guys did a great job clearing the rebounds. They let me see the first shot and then cleared the the puck. I don’t mind all the shots if we win the game.”
Northern would cut the lead to 3-1 just 1:12 into the third period on a power play goal by Bryce Cockburn. The big forward scored from in front following a shot by defenseman Jimmy Jackson
from the right point.
The Irish were outshot 16-4 in the third period, but clinched the game at 19:11 when defenseman Evan Nielsen knocked down a Wildcat centering attempt and fired it into the open net to seal the 4-1 win.
On the night, Northern Michigan outshot Notre Dame 37-28. Kowalski made 24 saves in the Wildcat goal.