SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — With 28 seconds left in the game, Notre Dame (5-11-5 overall, 3-9-4 CCHA) was ahead of Lake Superior 1-0 (7-11-2 overall, 6-6-2 CCHA) and headed for a three-point weekend to help its case in the CCHA standings.
Then it all fell apart.
The Lakers, with their goalie pulled, tied the game at 1-1 when defenseman Kory Scoran shot a slapper from the point that was deflected through goaltender Morgan Cey by Matt Restoule to send the game into overtime.
Using their momentum, the Lakers were able to pressure the Irish into submission. Derek R. Smith had the puck behind the net, passed it to Nathan Ward, who crossed the puck through the crease to the waiting stick of Jeff Rainville, who put the puck over Cey fifty-six seconds into the overtime period to win the game 2-1.
“I just put my stick on the ice and the puck found my stick and into the net,” said Rainville.
The Irish finally got on the board with just over three minutes left in the second period. On a 3-2 odd-man rush, Laker netminder Jeff Jakaitis let a rebound go off a Noah Babin slapshot, which center Cory McLean took around the net. McLean passed the puck to a wide-open Chris Trick, who banked the puck off the far post to put the Irish up 1-0.
Both games were particularly uneventful with the exception of the last part of tonight’s game. The first period ended with the Irish outshooting the Lakers 18-7, though neither team was able to get many quality goal opportunities.
“Last night, none of [Notre Dame's] shots came from fifteen feet from the net,” commented Laker head coach Frank Anzalone. “Tonight, they had about six or seven shots from that range.”
The Lakers were able to get some opportunities, but they were unable to put the puck past Cey.
“It was pretty frustrating,” said Rainville. “We had two breakaways tonight [by Cheesman and McJannet], and didn’t score when we had the chances. We were lucky to be able to hold them to one goal and get the win.
Jeff Jakaitis, who has been mired in a mini-sophomore slump this season, kept the Lakers in the game all night with 41 saves.
“That guy is pretty phenomenal,” praised Anzalone. “We get outskilled, and he has to keep us in the game until we get those grinder goals. You have to give him all the credit.”
Both teams return to action at home next week. Notre Dame hosts Ohio State next weekend at the Joyce Center, while Lake Superior hosts College Hockey America-leading Alabama-Huntsville for two games at Taffy Abel Arena.
• Both teams’ power play has been struggling in recent weeks. The Irish are 2-38 on the power play in their last six games, while the Lakers have scored just two goals in their last 47 opportunities.
• The Irish suffered a couple of injuries during Friday night’s game. Forward Matt Williams-Kovacs is out for the season after breaking his wrist on Friday, and center Matt Amado did not play due to a concussion he suffered during Friday night’s third period. Amado is expected to return to the lineup against Ohio State.
• Laker netminder Matt Violin is expected to return next weekend against the UAH Chargers after missing time with an ankle injury. He was available in a backup role tonight, but, according to Anzalone, was only “92.5 percent.”
• Saturday was the first overtime loss the Irish have suffered all year. For the season, they are now 1-1-5 in games with the extra session. Also, it is only the second one-goal loss by the Irish this year, who now sport a 5-2 record in those games.