HOCKEY: Irish tie Mavericks 1-1 Friday, fall 6-3 Saturday
Bobby Griffin and Justin Schuver | Monday, February 7, 2005
Notre Dame’s losing streak came to an end, but another one started the very next night.The Irish snapped their eight-game losing streak Friday with a 1-1 tie over the Mavericks, but then fell Saturday by a 6-3 score. Nebraska-Omaha struck first on Friday during Notre Dame’s first power play of the game. Maverick goalie Chris Holt made an impressive pass to spring Bill Thomas, who skated down the right side unimpeded.Thomas took the puck in close on Irish goalie Morgan Cey, then switched direction with a quick pass across the crease to Scott Parse, who deposited the puck in the open net for a Maverick shorthanded goal. Notre Dame got its equalizer from an unlikely source, freshman defenseman Luke Lucyk, who found the back of the net for the first time this season. Irish forward Cory McLean took the puck down the right side of the ice at 7:20 of the third period and made a quick pass to Lucyk just outside the right face-off circle. The defenseman flipped a weak wrist shot toward the net that somehow managed to elude Nebraska-Omaha goalie Chris Holt.”After you get as many shots and chances as we had in that game, you figure if you just put one on net it might go in,” Lucyk said.Irish coach Dave Poulin agreed that Lucyk’s goal was something that the team really needed after offense has been hard to come by this season.”That’s really the kind of goal that you need to snap out of a slump,” he said. “Very often it’s the weird bounce, the crazy hop or a shot off someone’s head that will get you out of that funk.”Cey made 26 saves for the Irish and was named Perani Cup first star for the game. The senior goalie made several acrobatic saves in the first period to keep his team in the game, including a rolling high-leg kick save that brought the loudest ovation of the night from Irish fans.”On a save like that it all happens so fast that I don’t really think about what my body does, it’s just instinct,” he said.After Friday’s win, the Irish seemed poised to begin another type of streak going into the third period tied at 2-2 on Saturday.But Parse changed that at the 14:03 mark with an outstanding shot.Cutting across the ice from the weak side, Parse out-maneuvered the Irish defense and ripped the puck past Cey in what was the turning point of the game.”Parse made a major league play,” Irish coach Dave Poulin. “That’s a major league goal by a very good player.”The scoring got going early for Nebraska-Omaha, as Mavericks’ right wing Mick Lawrence scored on the power play off a rebound at 2:30 in the first. Lawrence had two goals and two assists in the game.The Irish had their chances in the first period, as Matt Amado had two open looks at the net but could not seem to find the back of the net.”Frustration is at an all-time high right now,” Irish captain Cory McLean said. “We hit three or four posts tonight, and it just doesn’t seem to be going our way.”The Irish responded at 4:02 in the second, when Evan Rankin’s shot deflected to Mike Walsh in front of the net. Walsh beat Holt for his second goal of the season.The Mavericks came right back at 11:51, when right wing Bill Thomas scored on the power play. It was Thomas’ 14th goal of the season.Once again, the Irish were able to respond to the Mavericks score, when Chris Trick found McLean on the doorstep for his fourth goal of the season.”At 2-2 I’m fully confident we’re going to win that game, we’ve just got to find a way,” Poulin said.Nebraska-Omaha would tack on another goals at 14:25, before Irish center Tony Gill scored on one of the stranger goals of the season to cut the lead to 4-3.At 15:30, Gill fired the puck off the right boards in the Nebraska-Omaha zone. The puck deflected off the boards, directly into the net.With a glimmer of hope remaining, Mavericks’ center Dan Hacker crushed any real possibility of the comeback when he scored off a rebound in front of Cey.An empty net goal by Lawrence with 19.6 seconds remaining solidified the Mavericks’ victory.