SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Freshman defenseman Raymond Eichenlaub scored two goals, the second with 6:31 left in the game, to lift No. 3-ranked Miami to a 3-2 win over Notre Dame in front of a sellout crowd of 2,763 at the Joyce Center on Saturday night.
The loss snapped Notre Dame’s four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) and was the first loss for the Irish since Dec. 17 versus Lake Superior State. Wes O’Neill and Noah Babin scored power-play goals for Notre Dame while Matt Christie had the RedHawks third goal in the game.
The loss drops the Irish to 7-12-3 overall and 5-8-3 in CCHA play. Miami, ranked third in the nation and first in the CCHA, is now 15-4-4 on the year and 12-3-2 in league action.
The two teams each had 11 shots in a scoreless first period before the RedHawks scored first on a nice move by Christie on a breakaway at 8:50 of the second period. Defenseman Mitch Ganzak (two assists) started the play with a long pass from his blueline that was deflected at center ice by Taylor Hustead to a streaking Christie at the Irish blue line. Christie went in on Irish goaltender David Brown and slid the puck between his pads for his seventh goal of the year.
The Irish answered back just three minutes later when Wes O’Neill scored on the power play at 11:49. The Irish were able to move it from the point to the left wing boards and Erik Condra. Condra fed O’Neill in the slot, and the big defenseman blasted a shot past Miami goaltender Jeff Zatkoff for his fourth of the season, all coming on the power play.
“I was just working to find an open lane to the goal and (Erik) Condra made a good pass from the side to me,” said O’Neill. “I found the lane and Evan Rankin had a nice screen in front and I just shot it.”
Miami answered back just 1:22 later as Eichenlaub scored his first of the night and second of the year at 13:11. The freshman defenseman moved in from the right point, took a feed from behind the Notre Dame goal from Ryan Jones and beat Brown with a shot from the right circle to give the RedHawks a 2-1 lead after two periods of play.
The Irish kept working to get the equalizer in the third and finally cashed in with their second power-play goal on the night, this one by defenseman Noah Babin at 11:07 of the period. Senior Tim
Wallace took a shot from the left circle that Zatkoff turned away. The rebound bounced around in a maze of players in front and T.J. Jindra was able to keep it alive by pushing it towards the slot. Babin raced in from the right point and fired a shot past Zatkoff to tie the game at 2-2 with his third goal of the season.
The tie didn’t last long, as Eichenlaub put the RedHawks ahead to stay at 13:29 of the final period. Ganzak picked up his second assist by carrying the puck behind the Irish net and toward the right
wing boards. Eichenlaub moved in from the right point, took the feed from the corner and flipped a shot at Brown that went through his pads for the game-winning goal.
On the night, Miami outshot the Irish by a 32-28 margin. Brown finished with 29 saves while Zatkoff had 26 for the RedHawks. Notre Dame was 2-for-11 on the power play while the Irish stopped all nine Miami power-play chances, giving Notre Dame a perfect weekend (17-17) killing penalties versus the RedHawks.
“The key for us now is to learn to find a way to win these close games,” said O’Neill. “We’ve played better in the second half and Miami’s a good team, you have to give them their due. Only getting one point this weekend gives us a bad feeling, but we have to take the good from this weekend and move on and keep playing hard next weekend at Northern Michigan.”