Notre Dame goaltender Morgan Cey continued his stellar play on the weekend as he stopped 30 of 32 shots to upend the Bowling Green Falcons, 3-2 at the BG Ice Arena.
Notre Dame (11-13-6, 9-10-3 CCHA) halted its nine-game winless streak in style with a sweep of Bowling Green (7-19-2, 4-16-2 CCHA), its first since Dec. 7-8 when the Irish defeated the Falcons at home.
“It was a battle all weekend,” said Notre Dame boss Dave Poulin. “Scott [Paluch’s] team is playing as hard as any team we’ve played all year. ”
Once again, Cey proved to be the difference in the win, coming up with 30 saves on the night, including a pair of breakaways.
“Morgan was good all weekend,” said Poulin. “He’s been good all year, he just hasn’t been getting the breaks.”
Although the Falcons worked hard for six periods this weekend, they came up a goal short each night.
“The games were just what we thought they would be,” said BG head coach Scott Paluch. “They were tightly contested. It all comes down to a play you make or don’t make. It was like a playoff weekend, very tightly contested.”
Notre Dame opened up the scoring at the 5:21 mark of the opening period. After BG’s Brett Pilkington went off for boarding, Jake Wiegand picked up a power-play goal just five seconds into the man-advantage as he beat Jordan Sigalet for the 1-0 lead. Yan Stastny and Brett Lebda assisted on the play.
Bowling Green tied the game at 1 in the second period as Roger Leonard put a shot on Cey and sophomore Steve Brudzewski stuffed home the rebound. Brian Escobedo also assisted on the play.
The Fighting Irish scored the next two markers. Connor Dunlop picked up his third goal of the season, a power-play goal assisted by Michael Chin. Dunlop’s goal came at the 10:28 mark of the period.
John Wroblewski made it 3-1 with a shorthanded goal at 18:38 as he picked the pocket of Taylor Christie on a man-advantage for BG.
Tyler Knight cut the Irish lead to 3-2 with just 10 seconds left in the period, as he one-timed one past Cey on BG’s sixth power play attempt of the night. Knight’s seventh goal of the year, assisted by Mark Wires and D’Arcy McConvey, gave BG some much-needed momentum going into the locker room.
The Falcons came out strong in the third period. The Irish had a chance to put the game away early in the period with a 5-on-3 advantage, but the Falcon penalty kill would not allow a shot to get to Sigalet.
BG kept the pressure up throughout the period with nine quality chances, but Cey kept everything out of his net to preserve the win.
With the weekend sweep, the Fighting Irish move into eighth place in the CCHA, just two points back of sixth-place Northern Michigan, which was upset Saturday by Lake Superior State, for home ice in the playoffs.
“This weekend really gives us confidence as individuals,” said Poulin. “As a coach, you can’t give a team confidence. They have to find it for themselves. We have two teams ahead of us in the standings left to play — Northern Michigan and Western Michigan — and big games against Lake Superior State. This was a big weekend.”