SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Nebraska-Omaha battled back from a two goal deficit late in the third to earn a hard fought 2-2 tie against the top ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Down 2-0 with under five minutes to play, Nebraska-Omaha stormed back. The Mavericks first cut the lead to 2-1 when sophomore winger Dan Charleston scored his 11th goal of the season at 15:48 of the period.
A shot from the point was tipped up and over the shoulder of Brown and fell behind him into the net. The assists were credited to Phil Angell and Jeric Agosto.
Less than three minutes later, the Mavericks tied the score. With 1:43 remaining, Maverick junior Bryan Marshall snapped a shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Notre Dame goaltender David Brown low to the stick side.
The overtime period was dominated by the Mavericks.
They outshot Notre Dame 6-0 and had several chances to end the game, including a two-on-one break with just seconds left. Brown, however, stood tall in order to preserve the tie.
Freshman goaltender Jeremie Dupont was stellar in goal for the Mavericks. He finished the night with 28 saves, including several big stops to keep the Mavericks in striking distance in the middle of the game.
“We still felt like there was a chance we could win, so if you make those saves, you give your team a chance to win,” said Dupont. “You hope that you can pull it out near the end, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson also praised Dupont, saying “He played well, he’s a good goaltender. He’s improved a lot since I saw him earlier in the season and that bodes well for Nebraska. Over the last few years I thought that might be the missing piece of the puzzle for them, and this kid seems to be stepping up to the plate.”
Until Nebraska-Omaha’s rally in the final minutes, it appeared Notre Dame was going to cruise to a fourth straight victory. The Irish took the lead right out of the gate, when defenseman Noah Babin scored 4:23 into the game.
Freshman winger Christiaan Minella fired a shot high off the glass that bounced back into the slot. Babin immediately fired a shot past Dupont. The goal was Babin’s second of the year and was assisted by Minella and Jason Paige.
The story of the first period was the Irish defensemen. Besides scoring the first goal, they managed to hold Nebraska-Omaha, the second best offense in the CCHA, to only one shot on goal in the period.
Both offenses struggled through a sloppy, scoreless second period. The Irish outshot the Mavericks for the period, but Dupont was up to the task, stopping all 12 of the Irish chances. Notre Dame goalie David Brown was also solid, turning aside the 7 Maverick shots.
Notre Dame doubled its lead 4:44 into the third period when Erik Condra scored goal number 12 on the season. The Irish gained control of the puck down low, and Kevin Deeth feathered a pass across the crease to a waiting Condra, who buried the chance. Deeth and Ryan Thang recorded assists on the goal.
The tie leaves both teams in good position for the upcoming CCHA playoffs. Nebraska-Omaha (10-10-4) now has earned 24 points this year, keeping them one point ahead of Western Michigan for fifth place. Notre Dame (18-3-3) now has 39 and are inching closer to clinching the CCHA crown.
Notre Dame will have a chance to clinch the title next weekend when they travel to Alaska to take on the Nanooks in a two game series. The Irish will then return home the following weekend to close out the regular season against Ferris State.
Meanwhile, Nebraska-Omaha hosts Ohio State next weekend before closing out their regular season in Fairbanks against Alaska.