SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A night after a devastating loss, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were only able to muster a 2-2 tie against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Notre Dame severely hurt their NCAA tournament chances by only coming away with one out of a possible four points on the weekend.
“The big thing is, we have three weeks to get ourselves ready for the playoffs,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. “To me, that’s the most important thing right now.”
Ohio State goaltender Joseph Palmer starred again, making 36 saves, including a highlight reel stop on Erik Condra midway through the first period.
Condra took a feed from Kevin Deeth on a two-on-one shorthanded break for the Irish, but Palmer was able to make a diving stop to rob Condra of what looked like a sure goal.
Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce also had a nice game in goal, turning aside 23 of the 25 shots he faced on the night.
With Notre Dame down 2-1 in the second period, Dan Kissel breathed some life into the Irish with a goal at 14:56. Kissel wound up and fired a slap shot from the top of the left circle that beat Palmer to his blocker side. The goal, assisted by Ryan Guentzel and Ian Cole, was Kissel’s seventh of the season, but first since a January 4 tally against Northern Michigan.
Both teams locked down defensively, and both goalies stood tall during the final period and overtime.
Palmer, in particular, was stellar, making 19 saves in the final 25 minutes. Ohio State got on the scoreboard late in the first period with a power-play goal thanks to a costly mistake from Notre Dame’s defense.
Irish defenseman Stewart Carlin attempted to clear a rebound by kicking it to the corner, but he missed the puck. The mistake left Buckeyes’ forward Todd Rudasill all alone in front of Pearce, and Rudasill quickly fired the puck into the net for a 1-0 Buckeyes lead.
Much of the rest of the first period featured sloppy, penalty-filled play. The two teams combined for almost as many penalties, 12, as they did shots on net, 16, and there was an eight minute stretch in the middle of the period that featured no five-on-five play.
Ohio State appeared to have scored at the 12:32 mark of the first period, but the goal was disallowed. Corey Toy took a shot from the point that was deflected by Johann Kroll and into the net, but Kroll was ruled to have hit the puck with a high stick.
Notre Dame took advantage of a power play to tie the score at 1-1 only 12 seconds into the middle period. Erik Condra tucked home a loose puck after a booming slap shot off the stick of Ian Cole bounced off the back boards and right back to the front of the net. It was Condra’s 12th goal of the season.
The Buckeyes bounced right back, however, taking advantage of a clean faceoff victory by senior captain Matt McIlvane. McIlvane beat Evan Rankin on an offensive zone draw, winning the puck back to Sergio Somma. Somma snapped a quick wrist shot that beat a screened Pearce to give Ohio State a 2-1 lead at the 4:04 mark of the second period.
The rough play continued in the waning minutes of the period when four players squared off in an after-the-whistle battle. Irish forward Evan Rankin responded to a shot by Buckeye Jason DeSantis. Nearby, Rudasill and Dan VeNard squared off. Rudasill ripped off VeNard’s helmet, but the Irish defenseman continued to wrestle with Rudasill until the linesman was able to separate the two.
All four players were assessed double minors for roughing after the whistle.
In overtime, Christian Hanson had a golden opportunity to win the game for the Irish when he fired a clean shot from the left faceoff dot, but Palmer made an easy pad save.
Shortly after Hanson’s chance, the Irish were denied what appeared to be an odd man rush when freshman center Ben Ryan was whistled for a hooking penalty behind the play, sending the Buckeyes to the power play with 2:59 to play in overtime.
The Buckeyes conclude their CCHA season with a home-and-home series against the Miami Redhawks next weekend. The first game begins at 7:35 P.M. on Friday in Value City Arena. Notre Dame also has a home-and-home series to end their CCHA regular season, with the Irish squaring off against the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday night. Faceoff is at 7:35 P.M. at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo.