Notre Dame hockey: Power surge boosts Irish
ND scores three goals in 5:09 to beat Broncos
The recipe for No. 4 ranked Notre Dame’s first loss at the Compton Family Ice Arena seemed to be there Tuesday night, especially after Western Michigan’s Ian Slater fired in a clear shot from a few feet inside the blue line in the slot for a 1-0 Bronco lead 9:30 into the second period.
Then a strange thing happened before the announced crowd of 4,216.
The Bronco goal seemed to ignite the Irish, who proceeded to score three goals of in a span of just over five minutes en route to a 3-2 victory.
“It was good to be able to respond,” said Irish hockey coach Jeff Jackson. “That’s an important part of being a good team, being able to deal with a momentum goal.
“I was pretty happy with our game tonight,” Jackson said of the 8-2-2 Irish who are alone in first place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with 20 points and a 6-1-2-0 record. “It’s a tough game Tuesday night. That applies to both teams, but our guys were in class.
“I give our guys credit. I thought they played a pretty focused game.”
The Irish really seemed to focus after the 10th-ranked Broncos, losers of four straight, scored in the second period.
A mere 29 seconds later defenseman Shayne Taker turned attacker, starting down the left side and maneuvering with the puck and keeping it before firing in a goal from just a few feet away for a 1-1 game 9:59 into the period.
“As soon as they scored, Stephen Johns and I said, ‘biggest shift of the year,’” said Taker, whose goal was his first goal and points of the season.
“The puck got chipped to our neutral zone and Johnsie got it to Lars (Nick Larson). My game’s always been up and down the ice. And there was no high support so I knew I had a chance there. And once Lars took that D-man down, the puck was just laying there. But once I saw the D-man drop, I knew I had to go over.
“I was either going to drag it or shoot it and I decided to drag it.”
Forty seconds later center Riley Sheahan followed with a power play goal in the slot off a nice pass from freshman Robbie Russo for a 2-1 Irish lead.
Then Sheahan finished off the Irish scoring with his first two-goal night of his Irish career via a backhand rebound shot right in front of the net 15:08 into the second period.
“It’s awesome,” said Sheahan, a junior. “Hopefully, it can trigger something and start putting the puck in the net a little more.
“It’s something I was trying to work on this year, to shoot more and get a few more offensive chances.”
“He got dinged up, went in the training room, and then came out just in time to score,” Jackson said of Sheahan.
Notre Dame got 23 saves from Mike Johnson, who returned to the starting lineup and upped his record to 5-1-2. He made some nice stops down the stretch and survived a shot off a face-off with 9.3 seconds left that flipped over the goal.
The Broncos fell to 6-4-3 overall and 4-4-1-1 in the CCHA.