SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame ended the first half with a strong team effort as the Irish ended Lake Superior’s seven-game unbeaten streak with a 4-3 win at the Joyce Center Sunday afternoon.
After watching the Lakers score three power-play goals on Saturday night, the Irish took the cue and scored three of their own Sunday. Senior right wing Tim Wallace led the way with two goals (one power-play goal) and an assist for the second three-point game of his career, and junior defenseman Noah Babin added the first three-point game (1 ppg, 2a) to pace the Irish offensive attack.
Senior Mike Walsh added the third power-play goal for the Irish, the eventual game winner early in the third period.
The Lakers, who trailed 3-0 and later 4-1, got goals from Trent Campbell, Mike Adamek and Nathan Ward.
“I think that we showed how we can play today against a good team,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.
“We showed some fatigue in the third period. We wasted a lot of energy on Saturday night. Lake Superior is a senior-laden team that plays hard and they kept coming at us. The key is, we didn’t let this one slip away.”
The win gives the Irish more wins than they had all last season, both overall and in the CCHA. Notre Dame’s record after 18 games stands at 6-11-1 overall and 4-7-1 in CCHA play. The Lakers fall to 10-6-4 on the year and 6-6-2 in league action.
After a lackluster performance in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Lakers, the Irish wasted little time in getting out to a fast start.
Wallace snapped a three-game scoreless streak just 41 seconds into the game when he beat Laker goaltender Jeff Jakaitis with a nice move down the left side. Babin started the play in the Irish zone by breaking up a Laker pass at the blue line and banking it off the glass to Wallace on the left-wing boards. Wallace carried into the Lake Superior zone on a 2-on-1 with Christian Hanson, using Hanson as a decoy before beating Jakaitis for his seventh goal of the year.
“Noah made a great chip off the glass to give us a two-on-one,” said Wallace. “I just took it to the goal and made a move around the goaltender and put it in.”
Wallace gave the Irish a 2-0 lead at 14:35 with their first power-play goal of the night off a face off. T.J. Jindra won a draw in the right-wing circle back to Brock Sheahan at the right point. Sheahan moved it to Wallace at the top of the left-wing circle and the Anchorage, Alaska, native snapped off a wrister that beat Jakaitis high over his glove inside the right post for Wallace’s eighth goal of the year.
“The second goal was off a power-play faceoff play that we’ve been working on and it worked to perfection,” said Wallace. “T.J. did a great job winning the draw and then going to the front to set a screen. Brock made a perfect pass to me and I just got a shot on the goal. All I wanted to do was get it on goal and it went in. It was the perfect play for the situation.”
Wallace wasn’t done as he helped give the Irish a 3-0 lead at 10:56 of the second period. The veteran right wing gathered in a loose puck on the right wing boards and moved it back to Babin at the right point. Babin fired it quickly at the goal and it appeared to deflect off a stick and over the shoulder of Jakaitis for Babin’s second of the year.
The Lakers finally broke through on Irish goaltender David Brown at 14:09 when Campbell slid the rebound of a Nathan Ward shot through Brown’s pads for his sixth goal of the season to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 3-1.
Notre Dame took its second three-goal lead of the afternoon at 2:46 of the third period on Mike Walsh’s fourth goal of the season.
Mark Van Guilder set the play in motion on the left-wing boards. He moved the puck back to Babin at the left point where he fired a wrist shot towards the Lake Superior goal. The shot deflected off Erik Condra in front; the rebound dropped and before the Laker goaltender could cover it, Walsh flipped the rebound over Jakaitis to give the Irish a 4-1 lead.
Mike Adamek cut that lead to 4-2 at the 10:02, scoring off a feed from Barnabas Birkeland at the top of the left circle, where he ripped a shot past Brown for his third of the season and second of the series.
The Lakers pulled their goaltender with over three minutes left in favor of a sixth attacker and the strategy worked as Ward scored his third of the season in front of the goal to cut the Irish lead to 4-3, but Brown and the Notre Dame defense held off the Lakers’ rush to preserve the win.
“I told them after the second period that we would pass all of last year’s numbers (total wins, league wins) with a win today. That’s another monkey off this team’s back,” said Jackson. “Everyone contributed to this win. The seniors played well, the special teams played well, the defense and the goaltender played well. We ended the first half on a strong note today.”