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HOCKEY: Irish drop pair of games against Bulldogs

Bobby Griffin | Monday, February 14, 2005

In a season that has been frustrating to say the least, the Irish found new ways to lose this weekend, dropping two games to Ferris State by scores of 4-3 Friday and 4-2 Saturday. A shorthanded goal with under a minute left in the third period proved to be the difference Friday night, and the Bulldogs’ four-goal second period Saturday night moved Notre Dame’s winless streak to 13 games.”To give up the winning goal shorthanded in the last minute, I can’t really explain that,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said following Friday’s game.Friday night started off as usual for the Irish, as they got down 1-0 early on a Jeff Legue goal. Following a Notre Dame turnover, Legue took control of the puck, cut across the ice from the right circle and scored on Irish goalie Morgan Cey for his 18th goal of the season at 1:11 of the first period.Ferris State extended its lead to two goals at 13:50, when Jim Jorgensen took a pass from Greg Rallo and beat Cey with a backhanded shot in close.Notre Dame responded at 16:15 when Mark Van Guilder deflected an Evan Rankin pass into the net to cut the lead to 2-1. The Bulldogs scored quickly to open the second period on a Derek Nesbitt score at 3:53. The Irish responded about six minutes later when Noah Babin took a pass from forward T.J. Jindra and ripped a slap shot from the point, beating goalie Derek MacIntyre at 9:41.At 12:23, Ferris State defenseman Adam Welch was penalized for hooking.Notre Dame capitalized on the penalty at 13:02 when Jason Paige collected a rebound off a Wes O’Neill shot, beating MacIntyre from the left circle and tying the game at three a piece. The remainder of the second period was scoreless, and the Irish looked poised to snap their losing streak that had extended back to Jan. 2.Notre Dame had a clear chance to take the lead at 11:18 when Mike Walsh ripped a shot right at MacIntyre’s chest. The puck fell to the right side of the crease, but the referee whistled the play dead before the Irish tapped the loose puck into the net.”That’s the way it’s going right now,” Poulin said. “It was a real quick whistle, and that’s just the way it’s going.”At 17:46, Nesbitt was called for hooking, and the Irish looked poised to take the lead again on the power play. But it was Ferris State that would benefit from the penalty. With a little over a minute remaining in the game, the Irish were up pressing on offense, trying to score the game-winning goal. Welch took the puck from the right boards and exploited Notre Dame’s inability to get back on defense.Welch led a 3-on-2 up the ice, leading to a Matt Verdone game winning short-handed goal. “You think that you can’t find a new way, we found a new way tonight,” Poulin said, alluding to the ways in which his team has been losing games this year.Sophomore defenseman Noah Babin was on the ice for all four of the Bulldogs’ goals.It appeared early Saturday night the Irish had forgotten about Friday’s painful defeat, as they leapt out to a 1-0 lead at 9:26 in the first period.Positioned near the right circle, Babin scored on a one-timer from Josh Sciba who was positioned behind the net. It was the first time the Irish had scored first in a game since Jan. 14.The Irish played a very intense first period, but their momentum seemed to change at 17:58 when Walsh got a 5-minute major for checking from behind.Poulin stressed this was what changed the game in his mind – a penalty that to him was completely inexcusable.”I thought the five minute major changed the game,” Poulin said. “We were much aware of the puck in the first period … and then the late 5-minute penalty changed the entire flow of the entire game.”It’s a tough call, and yet any time a player is hit from behind at all, I want to see it called. When I played it wasn’t a penalty, because it never happened – you never hit anyone from behind.”From here, Ferris State would go on to score four goals in the second period – two of which came during the 5-minute game misconduct.The first goal came just 21 seconds into the second period, when Nesbitt deflected a Legue pass into the net, beating goalie David Brown, to tie the score at one.At 3:11, Verdone took a backdoor pass from Zac Pearson and tipped it in the net, and at 14:16 Rallo scored off a pass from Nesbitt who was stationed behind the net.Notre Dame’s struggles continued when they were unable to clear the puck during a penalty kill stemming from a Rankin holding call.Ferris State kept the puck in the Irish zone, eventually leading to a Legue score at 18:47.The sole Irish goal in the period came at 10:02 when Chris Trick found Cory McLean, who cut across the ice and flopped one behind MacIntyre.The Irish failed to get any offense going in the third period, managing just three shots in the period.”We couldn’t generate anything, they pulled back and played defense, and we absolutely couldn’t generate anything,” Poulin said.