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Irish swept by Michigan this weekend

Justin Schuver | Sunday, December 5, 2004

Oh what a difference a year makes.Notre Dame (3-8-4, 2-7-3 in the CCHA) simply did not look like it belonged on the same rink with No. 5 Michigan (11-4-1, 9-1-0) this weekend, falling by decisions of 6-1 Friday in Ann Arbor and 8-0 Saturday at the Joyce Center. Last season, the Irish swept Michigan at the Joyce Center by scores of 4-1 and 5-2.”That was tough night at the office in every single way,” Irish head coach Dave Poulin said after the 8-0 loss Saturday. “It was disappointing, difficult, unexpected from our point.”The shutout Saturday was the worst loss by a Poulin-coached team at the Joyce Center in Notre Dame history. The last time that the Irish lost at home by eight or more goals was an 11-1 drubbing by Ferris State on Dec. 21, 1988.Poulin took over head coaching duties in the 1995-96 season.”We have no excuses,” Poulin said. “We didn’t go out and execute in any part of the game. It was to a man, I can’t tell you of anybody who played well – we had some guys who played hard – but we didn’t play well to a man.”There were few positives for the Irish this weekend. The Irish switched goalies in the middle of both games, with David Brown starting Friday before giving way to Morgan Cey after Brown allowed four goals on 11 shots.Cey began in the net Saturday, but was replaced by Brown after allowing three goals on 20 shots in the first period.”That’s two straight nights [we’ve had to switch goalies] and neither was really too sharp,” Poulin said. “They’re battling to play and you want someone to stand up and grab it. We knew going in that we would have to have good goaltending in order to be successful, but these losses don’t come down to goaltending alone.”There’s 20 guys in that locker room and every one is responsible.”The Irish penalty kill, which has characteristically been a strength under Poulin, was abysmal against the Wolverines. Notre Dame allowed Michigan seven power play goals on 16 power plays, including a 5-for-9 clip in Saturday’s shutout.Notre Dame’s power play wasn’t much better, with the Irish scoring just once in 19 opportunities in the two games.”We allowed five power play goals tonight, and that’s just not going to get it done,” Poulin said. The Irish fell behind early Friday, with Michigan’s T.J. Hensick and Eric Werner each scoring goals to put the Wolverines up 2-0. Notre Dame would cut that lead in half on the power play at the 15:55 mark of the first period.Irish forward T.J. Jindra took a shot from the left face-off circle that was deflected on the way in, but Michael Bartlett was there to pick up the rebound and slap a shot past Michigan goalie Al Montoya. Bartlett’s tally was his first goal of the season, and it would be the last goal the Irish would score on the weekend. The Wolverines scored two goals in each of the last two periods of Friday night’s game to come away with the 6-1 victory. Brandon Kaleniecki, Chad Kolarik, Milan Gajic and Brandon Rogers each found the back of the net.Saturday wasn’t much better for Notre Dame, as the Wolverines took a 3-0 lead after the first period while outshooting the Irish 20-8. Hensick, Kolarik and Werner each scored goals on Cey – with Kolarik and Werner each collecting on the power play – to put the Irish down big after one period. Brown didn’t fare much better, allowing five goals on 22 shots in the next two periods while Notre Dame would only muster a total of eight shots on goal in the last 40 minutes of the game. Kevin Porter and Jeff Tambellini each scored two goals against Brown and Jason Ryznar scored one.The Irish will try to bounce back this weekend as they face Michigan State in another home-and-home series. Notre Dame faces the Spartans at the Joyce Center Friday at 8:05 p.m. and in East Lansing Saturday at 7:05 p.m.