SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Sophomore goaltender Eric Marvin made 30 saves and senior left wing Dana Lattery scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Western Michigan Broncos to a 4-0 shutout win over Notre Dame in game two of their best-of-three first round playoff series Saturday night at the Joyce Center. The Bronco win evens the series at one game each with game three set to be played at 7:05 p.m. on Sunday night at Notre Dame.
Marvin, who was appearing in just the fourth game of his career, held the Irish at bay all night and got all the help he needed from a stingy Western Michigan defense to record his first career shutout. Jeremy Cheyne and Jeff Campbell also scored for the Broncos in the game.
The Western Michigan win snapped Notre Dame’s 15-game (13-0-2) home-unbeaten streak and was the first loss for the Irish at home since Oct. 17 versus Bowling Green. The Irish go into Sunday’s game three with a 19-13-4 record. Western moves back to .500 with a 17-17-4 mark.
Despite 30 shots in the game, the Irish failed to muster a sustained attack versus Marvin who did a great job of making the first save and then have his defense move the puck out of harm’s way.
“I was extremely disappointed with our performance tonight. We were outplayed in every facet of the game,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin following the game. “In the great game of hockey, you have to make plays. We didn’t make many plays tonight. Marvin played great tonight. We never got any second chances. He saw the puck and made the stops he had two. Western also got two tremendous individual efforts on the goals by Cheyne and Lattery.”
The first period belonged to the goaltenders as Morgan Cey and Marvin traded saves as the Notre Dame outshot Western Michigan, 13-12, but no goals were scored.
In the second period, the Broncos would score twice. Cheyne broke the shutout at the 6:15 mark when he beat Cey on a backhander from the slot for his 14th of the year. Vince Bellissimo hit Cheyne in neutral ice with a cross-rink pass. The junior right wing carried the puck across the slot and tucked the backhander between Cey’s pads for the 1-0 lead.
The Broncos would go up 2-0 at 18:50 of the second when Lattery scored his first of the night and 14th of the year. The senior left wing carried the puck down the left side and left a pass for Bellissimo who trailed the play. Bellissimo fired a waist-high wrist shot at the Irish goal that Lattery deflected down and inside the right post.
Lattery would make it 3-0 at 12:32 of the third period on a brilliant individual effort. The Irish lost the puck in the right wing corner and Paul Davies slid the biscuit to Lattery in the left wing corner. He was able to walk the puck out of the corner, beat a defenseman and then flip a shot over Cey for his 15th of the year.
Jeff Campbell closed the scoring with his 13th of the year at 19:39 when he pounced on the rebound of a Lattery shot at the top of the crease and whipped it behind Cey for the 4-0 final score.
Cey finished the night with 27 saves for the Irish and is now in a situation that he is familiar with. For the third postseason in a row, the Irish will play a third and deciding game in the opening round of the playoffs.
“They were a desperate team tonight and we didn’t match them. We weren’t ready to play tonight,” said the junior goaltender. “They came at us hard and they got the goals when they mattered. I have tremendous respect for what he (Marvin) did tonight. He made some big saves and gave them a chance to win. We have to come back tomorrow and play well.”
Sunday’s third game marks the sixth straight playoff appearance for the Irish that has gone to a game three, including each of the last two years on the road. Poulin expects his team to respond to the situation.
“The second win of the series is always the toughest. I’ve been in six playoff series now at Notre Dame and the winner of the first game in each of those series has not won the third game. It’s single elimination the rest of the way. We’ve been here before. We just have to play better than we did tonight,” said Poulin.