OXFORD, Ohio — The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame upset the Miami RedHawks 2-1 tonight, ending the RedHawks’ winning streak at eight games, the first of the season for the RedHawks. The CCHA match-up between the two teams was the most anticipated home game of the season for Miami. This series marks the first time Notre Dame traveled to the Steve Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center.
The RedHawks were red hot coming into the game; before tonight’s loss Miami had a 5-0 record at home and their number one ranking this week marked the first time that Miami has held the number one spot for consecutive weeks. However, tonight’s home loss could knock the RedHawks off of their perch atop the nation’s polls.
After one period of play, Miami trailed 2-0. Notre Dame jumped out to a lead about halfway through the first when Christian Hanson scored. A nasty cross checking penalty against Ben Ryan gave Miami a power play. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, Miami couldn’t convert the opportunity.
At the 16:11 mark of the first period Notre Dame added to their lead on a Dan Kissel goal off of an Evan Rankin assist. The first period showcased rough-and-tumble play from both teams, play that continued throughout the game.
Nathan Davis seemed to be the only thing that RedHawks fans could cheer about tonight. Davis played in his first game since injuring his shoulder in the season opener against Vermont, and scored his first goal of the season off of a Justin Vaive assist.
“We’re trying to make sure that we do the right thing with him,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. “He felt a little more comfortable backing in tonight. But we’ll keep letting him progress slowly.”
There was a critical tripping penalty against the Irish during a RedHawks’ attack that almost resulted in a goal. It looked as though the rough play may have finally caught up to the Irish, who spent much of the second period on defense. Miami would not relinquish their attack in the last five minutes of play.
“They were able to make a couple of nice plays in the first period,” said Blasi. “It was a tight game all night long. It was a battle all night long tonight. But for 60 minutes, they were the better team tonight.
Notre Dame was able to fend of the RedHawks’ aggressive attacks throughout the third. Notre Dame’s goaltending ability and defensive skill truly shined towards the end of the game. Miami attacked for the final two minutes of the game and Notre Dame wouldn’t relinquish the critical game tying goal.
“I was happy for parts of our game, I wasn’t completely happy though,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. “There were too many points in the game where I thought they were coming up the ice with too much speed. We have to do a better job of trying to generate scoring chance ourselves. I’m pleased without question but I don’t want to win games based on our goaltending and penalty killing. I want to have a chance to play better than that, and I think we can.”
The two conference rivals are in action again tomorrow night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.