OMAHA, Neb. — For the second night in a row, 8,314 fans at the Omaha Civic Auditorium got their monies worth as Notre Dame and Nebraska-Omaha turned in another exciting CCHA playoff hockey game.
And, for the second night in a row, the game went to overtime. This time though, the results weren’t the same.
David Inman snapped the rebound of Tom Galvin’s shot past Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Dan Ellis to give the Irish a hard-fought 2-1 win. The victory ties the best-of-three series at one game apiece and sends the series to a deciding game on Sunday night.
While Inman was the hero who won the game, the night belonged to Irish goaltender Morgan Cey who stopped 40 of 41 Maverick shots including 29 in the first two periods. Cey made key saves time and time again to get the game to overtime to allow Inman his game-winning chance.
The victory gives Notre Dame six wins in its last seven games and improves the Irish to 15-16-5 on the season. Nebraska-Omaha goes to 21-15-4 on the year.
Cey put on a clinic in the first period stopping all 17 shots the Mavericks would throw at him.
His teammates gave him an early lead as the Irish scored the first goal of the game for the 22nd time this season and improved to 15-5-2 when they get the opening goal. This Irish goal came on the
John Wroblewski took control of the puck in the left wing corner and sent the puck to Jon Maruk at the left point. Maruk slid the puck to defenseman Evan Nielsen who fired a wrist shot from inside the blue line. The puck found its way over Ellis’ shoulder at 8:09 for Nielsen’s sixth goal of the season.
Nebraska-Omaha controlled play in the second period
outshooting the Irish 12-4, but Cey was equal to the task stopping all 12 shots to give him 29 saves over the first two periods.
The Mavericks finally solved Cey on the 35th shot of the game, but they needed a power play chance to do it.
With Cory McLean off for holding, the Mavericks scored on their fifth power play chance of the night. Forward Anthony Adams collided with Cey in the crease and then moved out to pick up the loose puck at the left of the goal. With Cey down, Adams flipped the puck over the Notre Dame goaltender to tie the game 1-1 at the 6:07 mark. The goal was Adams’ fifth of the season.
The UNO power play goal snapped a string of 21 consecutive penalties killed by the Irish over seven games going back to the Feb. 9 game at Michigan State.
Notre Dame took the attack to the Mavericks outshooting UNO 11-9 in the third period, but neither team scored sending the game into overtime with the Mavericks holding a 38-27 edge in shots after 60 minutes of play.
In the overtime, the center Connor Dunlop carried the puck deep into the left wing corner. He found defenseman Tom Galvin alone at the right point. Galvin fired a low shot that Ellis stopped the puck but couldn’t control the rebound. Inman was parked in the slot and wasted little time in firing the puck into the net for his career-best 18th goal to give Notre Dame its second overtime win of the season.
For the game, the Irish were outshot 41-31. Ellis made 29 saves in the loss for Nebraska-Omaha. Each team scored one power play goal with the Irish going 1-for-4 with the man-advantage and the
Mavericks going 1-for-5.
The overtime win marked the first time the Irish had ever won a playoff game in the program’s history in overtime. The Irish are now 1-2 in CCHA playoff overtime games.