EAST LANSING, Mich. — Notre Dame freshman goalie Morgan Cey was frustrated his team couldn’t produce any offense in a 2-0 loss to Michigan State on Friday, but he had no such gripes on Saturday.
Cey made 34 saves in net and got plenty of help from the offense as Notre Dame snapped No. 3 Michigan State’s 33 game home unbeaten streak with a 3-2 win at Munn Ice Arena.
First-period goals by defenseman Neil Komadoski and winger David Inman, and defenseman Brett Lebda’s game winner at 1:43 of the second period were enough to produce cheers that could be heard in both South Bend and Ann Arbor.
The Fighting Irish’s win shook up the CCHA standings, as Michigan and Michigan State now find themselves tied for first place with 34 points.
“After last night, there was a feeling we were going to win tonight,” said Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin. “We felt we had turned a corner in the loss.”
Friday’s game between the two teams produced just two goals, but three were scored in the first period alone on Saturday.
Notre Dame drew first blood at the 14:02 mark of the first when Komadoski took a pass from senior winger Jon Maruk above the faceoff circles and beat MSU goalie Ryan Miller stickside to make it 1-0.
Michigan State tied the game 2:48 later when defenseman Duncan Keith fired an innocent shot from a bad angle that deflected off Cey’s stick and into the net to make it 1-1 with 3:10 left in the first.
Notre Dame gained a huge lift heading into the second period when junior winger John Wroblewski skated into the MSU zone and put a perfect pass onto the stick of Inman, who streaked in on Miller and chipped a backhanded past the Spartan goalie to give the Irish a 2-1 lead with 17.8 seconds remaining in the period.
The Irish used the momentum to their advantage and took a 3-1 lead when Lebda jumped in on a rush, took a pass from sophomore winger Rob Globke and poked the puck between Miller’s pads at 1:43 of the second.
Michigan State pulled back to within a goal on a four-on-four situation on another goal from one of its defenseman. This time it was junior Brad Fast, who fired a shot from the point through traffic and past Cey for his ninth of the season to make it 3-2 at 6:36 of the period.
But that would be as close as the Spartans would get, as Cey and the Irish held the Spartans off the rest of the way.
Notre Dame entered this weekend’s series having lost its last three games while giving up 20 combined goals in the process, something that was corrected in earning the split in East Lansing.
“We needed this weekend to get back on track,” Lebda said. “We did a lot of things in practice this week to prepare for this team. We changed up our forecheck a little bit, everyone bought into the system and went out there and worked hard.”
Lebda also was happy to have a hot goalie over the last two games in Cey, who might be on the verge of becoming the CCHA’s next great goalie.
“He makes the big save when he needs to and it’s just great having him there and knowing he’s there for you when you mess up,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what this kid can do.”
Michigan State will try to regroup next Saturday when it plays Michigan in a non-conference game at Joe Louis Arena.
“Actually tonight’s game we played better than we did last night,” said MSU head coach Ron Mason. “The puck hasn’t gone in the net well for us either night, [but] you go through spells like this.”