SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened their home and CCHA schedule with a big 4-2 win over Western Michigan at the Joyce Center on Friday night.
The Irish line of Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop and Rob Globke combined for three goals and five assists and goaltender Morgan Cey made 33 saves as the Irish improved to 2-0-1 on the season and 1-0-0 in CCHA play. Notre Dame is two games over .500 for the first time since the 1998-99 season when the Irish finished the year at 19-14-5. The season-opening CCHA win was also the first for the Irish since the 1998-99 campaign when they opened with a home win versus Lake Superior State.
The Irish used a fast first-period start to build a 3-1 lead after the first 20 minutes. Globke got his first of the night and fourth of the season just 3:09 into the game when he drilled a wrist shot over Bronco goaltender Mike Mantua’s glove. Dunlop, with his first of three assists on the night set the streaking Globke up as he moved into the right faceoff circle.
Western Michigan answered back at the 9:04 mark when Ben Gagnon got his first of two in the game when he one-timed a crossrink pass from Paul Davies behind Cey.
Globke took his turn setting up a linemate as he found Chin cutting to the back door. Globke’s pass split the defense and Chin tucked it under the crossbar for his first of the year at 11:36.
Yan Stastny built the Irish lead to 3-1 just 1:14 later on the power play. Mantua stopped Brett Lebda’s low shot from the left point, but the sophomore center was there to tuck the rebound past the Western goaltender for his second goal of the year at 12:50.
After a scoreless second period, the Irish improved the lead to 4-1 when Globke snuck behind the Bronco defense where Dunlop found him for his third assist of the evening. Globke made it five goals in his last two games when he tucked a shot into the upper right corner at 6:15.
The Broncos weren’t done though. Gagnon converted an Irish turnover into his second goal of the night at 9:54 when he flipped a wrist shot over Cey at 9:54.
Cey did the rest though as he stopped 16 of 17 shots in the third period on the way to a 33-save night and his first win of the season. Mantua finished with 29 saves for the Broncos.
The loss was the first of the season for Western Michigan as the Broncos fall to 2-1-0 overall and 2-1-0 in CCHA play. The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in Kalamazoo, Mich.