Notre Dame sophomore netminder Morgan Cey stopped 33 of 35 Bowling Green shots as the Irish skated past the Falcons, 3-2, snapping Notre Dame’s nine-game winless streak.
This was a well-played game,” said Fighting Irish coach Dave Poulin. “The wins have not been coming easily for us lately.”
The Irish (10-13-6; 8-10-3 CCHA) got back to on-ice action after being idle last week. For Notre Dame, the return to league play was a great time to get back on the winning track.
“The week off couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” said Poulin.
The week off helped the Irish, and so did the play of Cey and senior forward John Wroblewski.
“Morgan made some tremendous saves tonight,” said Poulin. “He’s been good all year, but he hasn’t gotten a break all year.”
It was a break late in the opening period that kept the Irish in the game. Already leading 1-0, BG left winger Mark Wires had a breakaway chance late in the period, but a stellar save by Cey kept the Falcons from going into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
Wroblewski also played a big part for the Irish. The senior picked up a goal in the second period to give the Irish a lead, then fed the game-winning pass to Aaron Gill in the third off a faceoff.
“[Wroblewski] has gotten better pretty much every day he’s been here,” said Poulin. “He’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever coached. He’s been a tremendous offensive player for us.”
For Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch, the loss was disappointing.
“We did a lot of things necessary to win the game tonight, said Paluch. “It was a tough way to lose. The game winner was a line of scrimmage play — a faceoff — Notre Dame wins the draw and puts it in the back of the net to win the hockey game.”
A bright spot for the Falcons was the play of senior goalie Tyler Masters, seeing his first action in nearly a month and stopping 34 of 37 shots..
“Tyler has been real sharp in practice. It was time [to start him]. He made some really good saves early in the game. He did a real good job of corralling the loose pucks,” said Paluch.
“I’ve felt comfortable in the net,” said Masters. “This was a good way to start getting back into the games. I feel strong. I’m in the best shape of my life. It’s a hard position to be in when you’re not playing. It’s hard to stay focused.”
BG wasted no time jumping out to a 1-0 lead against the Irish. Junior winger Roger Leonard picked up a feed from Ryan Minnabarriet and shoveled it past Cey just 1:41 into the opening period to give the Falcons the early lead.
The Irish tied the game at 1 halfway through the second as freshman Tim Wallace netted his fourth goal of the season, beating Masters over the shoulder.
Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead just over three minutes later as Wroblewski netted his 13th of the season, a power-play goal at 12:36 of the period.
Bowling Green tied the game at the 15:15 mark of the period, as Steve Brudzewski beat Cey on the doorstep for his 11th marker of the year.
Gill picked up the game winner at the 10:14 mark of the third period on a one-timer that beat Masters glove side.
The Falcons netted one power-play goal in three attempts, while the Irish were 1-4 with the man-advantage.
With the win, the Irish further distanced themselves from the 11th-place Falcons; the teams are now separated by nine points in the CCHA standings.
“It’s not good enough to play well,” said Poulin. “The competition in this league is too good, too even. This win was big for us to get us going in a positive direction.”
The two teams will face off again on Saturday night at the BG Ice Arena. The opening faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m.