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Hockey: Sweep at Michigan ends year

Justin Schuver | Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Morgan Cey gave Irish fans something to remember him by.

The senior goaltender gave a fine performance in his last game in a Notre Dame uniform, making 43 saves, but the offense wasn’t there to back up his effort as the Irish fell 1-0 in overtime to Michigan in the second game of their best-of-three series against the Wolverines Saturday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Notre Dame lost game one of the series Friday by a score of 10-1, with Cey starting in net and having a less-than-memorable performance – allowing four goals on 19 shots before being pulled in favor of backup David Brown.

But the senior goalie wasn’t going to let his career end on such a down note, and he proved it Saturday by turning in a nearly-perfect performance.

“That game Saturday was basically just like Morgan’s entire career,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said. “He gave us an opportunity to win, and it was a great rebound from Friday for both him and the rest of the team.”

Michigan’s decisive goal came at the 2:03 mark of overtime when defenseman Eric Werner flipped a rebound of a David Moss shot over Cey. Cey, forward Cory McLean and Joe Zurenko – the three members of Notre Dame’s senior class – failed to advance to Joe Louis Arena for the first time in their Irish careers.

“It was very difficult for our three seniors to realize they wouldn’t be going to Detroit this year,” Poulin said. “But I was very impressed with the way they finished their careers and know they’ll be successful in the future.”

The loss Saturday capped off the worst season in Notre Dame’s 38-year history, as the Irish finished the year with a record of 5-27-6.

“It’s been the most difficult year that I’ve coached at Notre Dame,” Poulin said. “You look at most of our games and they were either one-goal or two-goal losses, and usually during the course of the season you’ll get a few breaks that will help you in those close games.

“It really seemed like this year we just didn’t get any of those breaks.”

Michigan 10, Notre Dame 1

The Irish took an early 1-0 lead Friday, but that would be all the Notre Dame offense would muster in a 10-1 loss to the fourth-ranked Wolverines.

Michigan blew the game open in the second period, scoring seven goals and chasing Cey.

Irish freshman forward Evan Rankin scored the first goal of the game at the 15:38 mark of the first period as he pounced on a rebound left by Michigan goalie Al Montoya. Rankin stuffed the puck through Montoya’s pads for his fifth goal of the season.

Michigan got goals from Eric Nystrom, Jeff Tambellini, Michael Woodford, Milan Gajic (two), Brandon Rogers (two), Chad Kolarik (two) and Kevin Porter. Montoya made 14 saves.

“We had a difficult line change early [at the start of the second period] and had to take a penalty,” Poulin said. “Michigan scored on that power play and got on one of their typical rolls. Red [Berenson, the Michigan coach] said in his interview after the game that everything they were shooting was going in for them.”

Michigan State 2, Notre Dame 1

Cey made 35 saves in his final game at the Joyce Center, but he and his fellow seniors fell short on Senior Night as the Spartans eked out a 2-1 victory over the Irish March 6.

Michigan State drew first blood in the game, with Jim Slater scoring on the power play at the 16:59 mark of the first period.

Notre Dame’s Tim Wallace – who set a new Irish record by playing in his 115th consecutive game – tied the game with a power play goal of his own at 8:59 of the second period. Forward Mike Walsh took a hard shot that squirted through Spartan goalie Dominic Vicari. As the puck lay in the crease, Wallace took advantage of the opportunity and poked the free puck home.

But the Spartans would score the game-winner just three minutes later, with Jim McKenzie flipping a rebound of a Colton Fretter shot over a sprawling Cey.

Michigan State 3, Notre Dame 2

After two periods it looked like Notre Dame’s 15-game winless streak would come to an end, but Jim Slater had other ideas.

The Irish took a 2-0 lead into the third period March 5, but the talented Slater scored one goal and assisted on two others as Michigan State rallied for a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame in East Lansing, Mich.

Chris Trick and Tim Wallace scored the two goals for Notre Dame, while Drew Miller, McKenzie and Slater tallied the Spartans’ goals.

Vicari made 17 saves in the victory, while Brown made 26 stops in the losing effort.