COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following a 6-1 loss last night against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish were led by a pair of freshmen in a 4-1 victory over the Buckeyes in Value City Arena Saturday evening.
The loss snapped Ohio State’s three game home winning streak against top 10 teams. Notre Dame ended its two game skid.
Three of Notre Dame’s four goals were scored by freshmen, including two by Andres Lee as he has tied fellow Irish freshman T.J. Tynan for the team lead with 16 goals for the season. Both Tynan and Lee are tied for the conference lead in goals with 16, along with Miami’s Reilly Smith.
Lee’s play “has been very consistent,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “I never want to under estimate the value of some of the other freshmen, because they are playing important roles. Andres is a horse with good hands and competes hard.”
“I think it was like last Friday going into Western (after sweeping Miami) feeling pretty good like the fat cats and as a result, did not play a sound game,” Ohio State coach Mark Oseicki said. “I thought the same thing happened today. We told them; we showed them video. Some cases, that has be leadership in the locker room. They felt 6-1 against Notre Dame, same thing will happen tonight.”
Fighting Irish goalie Mike Johnson stopped 29-of-30. Ohio State’s Cal Heeter was not nearly as sharp as he was last night with 32 saves allowing four goals against.
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead 21.9 seconds before the first intermission as Lee’s wrist shot from the right circle fooled Heeter and beat his stick. The goal was one that Heeter would have liked back.
“I think there was a definite pop that you can feel on the bench,” Oseicki said.
Following a Danny Dries penalty 40 seconds into the second which gave the Irish a power play, Lee scored again 1:28 into the second with another wrister that beat the stick of Heeter.
“The few upperclassmen we do have playing did a nice job of getting the guys back and focused,” Jackson said.
Ohio State converted on a power-play chance 1:04 later, as Shane Sims’ shot from between the circles beat the glove of Johnson to cut the Fighting Irish’s lead to 2-1.
Notre Dame took a 3-1 lead two minutes later as Ben Ryan redirected Ryan Guentzel’s shot past the stick of Heeter.
“Tonight kind of reminded me of last night,” Ryan said. “We were up 2-1 and we knew the next goal was going to be huge. They had a much bigger crowd tonight than they did last night. Last night, they had a few bounces. Tonight, the puck went our way.”
“The fact is, I don’t get nervous unless they come back two goals because our guys came back and played well right after being scored on,” Jackson said. “The guys came back and made it 3-1 which is always key.”
Notre Dame added a goal at 15:56 of the second as David Gerths knocked in a loose puck from the crease.
“We didn’t play as a team, we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Ohio State forward John Albert said. “They definitely outworked us tonight.”
Both teams had a goal waived off at some point in the third period, as officials were quick to blow their whistles on pucks left in the crease. Ohio State had a 1:39 five-on-three opportunity midway through the third but on the ensuing faceoff, Sims was called for interference.
For the second straight game, Osiecki made in-game changes to his forward lines and showed concerned that past the midway point of the season, the lines are still lacking chemistry.
Ohio State travels to Alaska next weekend. Notre Dame starts a four game home-stand starting with Miami for a pair next week.