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Fans supportive despite hockey loss

Rohan Anand | Monday, March 26, 2007

From Legends to the Stepan Center to Grand Rapids, Mich., hundreds of Irish fans returned home Saturday evening discouraged by the Notre Dame hockey team’s 2-1 loss to Michigan State in the Midwest regional championships – but were supportive nonetheless.

Two busloads of about 150 students headed out to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids for the game, along with many students and fans who drove up independently. The entire hockey band and Juan Muldoon, the Leprechaun, also attended to help get the crowds riled up.

The game started off fairly slow for the Irish, who didn’t score a goal until the third period of the game. But freshman Tom Porrazzo, who played the baritone in the hockey band, said he thought the hockey team literally “played two games on Friday night.”

“We really should have had an easier game versus University of Alabama-Huntsville, so that we had energy for Saturday’s game,” he said.

Porrazzo said he thought Notre Dame was at a disadvantage when they lined up against the Spartans on Saturday, especially since Michigan State had defeated Boston University 5-1 in the NCAA first round.

“MSU came off a huge advantage after beating BU, and they obviously had the momentum at the beginning of that game to beat us,” he said.

Muldoon, however, said he was very pleased that the fans still showed incredible support for the team.

“The hockey band was incredible, helping everybody stay rowdy even after the [Spartans] had a two-point lead,” he said. “I was scared that the crowd is going to go flat.”

Still, Muldoon said both he and the hockey band were there to keep that from happening. “The greatest things are that we have an incredible coach and fan base,” he said.

Senior Joe Dosch said the high turnout of fans kept the game intense.

“We were expecting to be outnumbered by the Michigan State fans, but when we got that first goal, we were so into the game that it didn’t feel that way,” he said.

And despite the fact the hockey team came so close to victory, the fact that they had made it that far was still exciting for students like freshman Jordan Carey.

“A 32-7-3 record isn’t bad,” Carey said. “Though I was disappointed, it’s always good to see a Notre Dame team exceed expectations.”

And, as Dosch pointed out, there’s always next year.

“I’ve been following the hockey team since I was a freshman, and it’s pretty exciting to see where the hockey team is going,” he said. “And it definitely seems like the program is going in the right direction.”