Notre Dame rebounds from previous loss with tight win over Ohio State
Benjamin Padanilam | Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Four days after falling to No. 15 Michigan, No. 7 Notre Dame traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to take on another Big Ten foe. But this time, the Irish came away with the victory, topping the Buckeyes on Sunday in a narrow 9-8 win.
Although the Irish (5-2, 1-0 ACC) tied a season-low in goals scored in the game, the eight goals allowed represented a marked improvement from the 13 goals they conceded to the Wolverines (7-2, 0-0 Big Ten) last Wednesday. Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said the defensive improvement ultimately came down to execution.
“I just think we kind of tightened up in all areas,” Corrigan said. “Although we didn’t do as good a job as we would have liked to have done offensively, in terms of kind of having some longer, more sustained possessions, we did a much better job defensively taking away some of the easy things and making them have to earn six-on-six goals, and that was hard for them to do. So it was certainly a step forward from Wednesday, but plenty more to work on.”
Throughout most of the game, the Irish and Buckeyes (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) traded goals, as the score stood at 2-2 after the first quarter and 5-5 at halftime. Five different players — senior midfielder Brendan Collins, sophomore midfielder Bryan Costabile, sophomore attack Brian Willetts, junior attack Brendan Gleason and senior attack Mikey Wynne — scored the five goals for Notre Dame in the half.
Then, after a scoreless third quarter that ended with them trailing 6-5, the Irish outscored the Buckeyes 4-2 in the final frame to pick up the 9-8 win, getting two goals from junior attack Ryder Garnsey, in addition to Gleason and Wynne each scoring their second goals of the game.
While Corrigan was happy with the balance his team showed offensively, he also said he felt they failed to take advantage of several opportunities that could have padded its lead because it sometimes failed to take the best shot available on possessions and finished possessions too quickly.
“You’re definitely a better team when you have more people contributing offensively, there’s no question about that,” Corrigan said. “But at the same time, we didn’t do a great job finishing the ball, and we just sometimes didn’t do a good enough job of being patient and waiting for the best shot — not taking the first shot, but taking the best shot that we can. So again, there were some very good opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of.”
Perhaps Notre Dame’s most important player in the game, however, was faceoff specialist John Travisano, Jr. The senior enjoyed a career day, winning 17 of the 19 faceoffs he took. Corrigan said Travisano is part of a unit that continues to improve as a whole, but he was especially happy with the way his senior faceoff specialist played.
“Trav was terrific. He really was. It was, I would say, probably his best day he’s had for us,” Corrigan said. “He’s been working really hard, his wing guys have been working really hard, [volunteer assistant coach John Crawley] has been working really hard with those guys as a unit and I think it’s really paid off. They’re all working well together — it’s not just Trav, but certainly he’s the linchpin of the whole unit. So [I am] very happy for all of those guys, and especially for John.”
The win also represented a milestone for Corrigan, who won his 300th game as a head coach at the collegiate level, 290 of which have come with the Irish. But the win was nothing more than business as usual for man who has led the charge for Notre Dame for the last 30 years.
“It means I’m old,” Corrigan joked. “Doesn’t mean much else besides that.”
Now, the Irish will get ready to return to ACC play Saturday after two non-conference games in the past week. This time, they will travel to the Carrier Dome to take on No. 10 Syracuse. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.