Irish hold off Buckeyes in Columbus
Kit Loughran | Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Irish capitalized on the third period to notch an on-the-road win over Ohio State on Saturday.
No. 2 Notre Dame (6-1, 1-0 ACC) exploded with four goals in the third period to beat the Buckeyes (5-5, 0-0 Big Ten), 9-8. Sophomore attack Mikey Wynne kicked off the run four minutes into the period with his third goal of the game. Then, the Irish midfield took charge, with senior Kyle Trolley and sophomore Brendan Collins each posting a goal. Senior captain and attack Matt Kavanagh closed out the opening eight minutes of the half with a goal of his own.
“We came out to start the half playing aggressively and confidently,” junior midfielder Bob Collins said. “We moved the ball well and pushed it in transition opportunities to set the pace of the game and gain momentum.”
It was the underclassmen who helped the Irish gain that momentum. Wynne put the Irish on the board in the first period. He tallied a second in the same half, after Kavanagh netted an unassisted goal with five minutes to go in the first period. Following Brendan Collins’ third period goal, another underclassman, freshman attack Ryder Garnsey put the Irish up, 8-5, in the fourth period with a man-advantage goal.
“Our underclassmen have been making huge contributions in games, with Mikey and Brendan really standing out,” Collins said. “But the biggest impact of the underclassmen has been them bringing their best every day that continues to make us better.”
After Wynne’s first-period goal, the Buckeyes took off, netting four of the next six goals scored in the first two periods, putting them up, 4-3 at half. The Irish took only 13 shots in the first half, but they tallied 17 in the second. Kavanagh’s third period goal put the Irish up, 7-4, and they would never again give up their lead.
“As the season has gone on, we have become more and more comfortable playing with each other,” Collins said. “We’ve been taking smarter shots while moving the ball really well, and we can only continue to get better as the season progresses.”
While Notre Dame held the lead for the remainder of the game, the Buckeyes kept the Irish on their toes until the clock ran out. Buckeye senior attack Carter Brown brought Ohio State within one, 9-8, with 2:27 left in the final period. Brown went for the net again with 43 seconds to go, but junior goalie Shane Doss made his sixth save of the game to secure the Irish win.
Overall the Buckeyes beat the Irish 32-30 in shots and 27-22 in ground balls, while winning 13 of 21 face-offs.
“We struggled in riding OSU as efficiently as we have been all season,” Collins said. “Our ride is one of our strengths that has given us a lot of extra possessions this year.”
After three consecutive wins, the Irish continue on the road as they travel to ACC opponent Syracuse for a 5 p.m. Saturday game.