OXFORD, Ohio — Notre Dame goaltender Morgan Cey picked a fine time to notch his first shutout of the season. All that was at stake was the season for the Irish, who went into Saturday’s playoff game versus Miami down a game in the best-of-three series.
The sophomore goaltender came up big with 37 saves on the night to back up freshman Tim Wallace’s third-period goal and give the Irish a 1-0 win to tie the series at one game each. Game three will be played at Miami’s Goggin Arena on Sunday night at 7:35 p.m.
“I got in a zone early and the team really played well in front of me,” said Cey. “We all knew how important this game was. This is what we play for. The do-or-die games bring out the best in a player. We look forward to tomorrow night.”
Cey’s shutout was the first in Notre Dame’s playoff history, and made the Irish the last team in the CCHA to record a shutout this season.
The victory evens the Irish record at 16-16-6 overall. Miami falls to 21-16-3 for the year.
“We played with a lot of poise tonight,” said Irish coach Dave Poulin. “We told them after the second period that this game wasn’t going to end 1-0. When we got the goal, they kept attacking and applying pressure on the forecheck.”
The lone goal of the game came after 47 minutes of scoreless action. Jake Wiegand dug the puck out of the left-wing corner in the Miami zone and fed it to Brett Lebda at the left point. Lebda managed to keep the bouncing puck in the zone and got a shot on the net. Miami goaltender David Burleigh got his pads on it, but the rebound came out front.
Wallace fought off a Miami player and beat Burleigh low to the glove side at 7:18 for his sixth goal of the season.
“We worked the puck deep into the zone and then back to (Brett) Lebda at the point. He got off a great shot and I just went to the net. The rebound bounced right to me and I just snuck it in low to his glove hand,” said Wallace.
The RedHawks peppered Cey with 14 shots in the first period but were unable to get any of those chances past his defense. Miami junior Greg Hogeboom, who notched his first career hat trick in last night’s 4-2 Miami win, had three scoring chances in front of the net but each time Cey was there with the save. Both team’s had one power play each in the frame and managed two shots on goal without finding the back of the net.
As the game went on, it became obvious that the goaltenders were in control as neither team managed to get on the scoreboard through the first 40 minutes. Heading into the third period, Cey had stopped all 27 shots he faced and Burleigh had done the same with 20 Notre Dame offerings.
After Wallace put the Irish ahead, Miami still had its chances, but Cey was equal to the task. The RedHawks pulled Burleigh with 57 seconds left for a sixth attacker and were able to get three good chances. The best came off the stick of right wing Greg Hogeboom, who had a hat trick in Friday’s 4-1 win. Hogeboom came out of the left corner alone and got off a great shot with 25 seconds left.
“He came down the side and I just tried to play the angle all the way,” said Cey. “I played the short side and was lucky to get a pad on the shot. Luckily he didn’t try to pass it because I was watching him all the way.”
Cey totaled 37 saves en route to his first blanking of the season. Burleigh notched 29 saves for the RedHawks as he lowered his goals against average to 2.35, which if it stands will be a new single-season record for a Miami netminder.
Both teams were unsuccessful on three power-play attempts.
Miami and Notre Dame take to the ice Sunday night at 7:35 p.m. in Goggin Ice Arena to decide the best-of-three CCHA playoff series.