Feb. 25, 2012
South Bend, Ind. - Notre Dame made an early second-period goal stand up as the game-winner and added an insurance tally in the third period to post a 2-0 victory over Michigan State on Friday night in South Bend. MSU falls to 18-13-4 overall.
Despite the setback, MSU solidified a finish of no worse than fifth place in the CCHA standings, meaning that the Spartans will not play in the first round. Still up for grabs is a home series in the quarterfinals, should MSU finish either third or fourth; a fifth-place finish means a first-round bye but a road series at the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals March 9-11.
I didn't think that as a team, everyone was on the same page. We didn't have everyone willing to pay the price to do the things we needed to do to win a game like that on the road," said head coach Tom Anastos after the game. "It was pretty disappointing, because I was rather happy with our first period, but we didn't have a particularly strong second or third period. We had some missed opportunities, too."
The Irish jumped on the board 2:31 into the second period. On the second power-play chance for the Irish on the night, Austin Wuthrich took the shot from the high slot, with Riley Sheahan on the doorstep looking for the rebound. Yanakeff was able to redirect it opposite from Sheahan, but Jeff Costello one-timed it from the left side for his fourth goal of the season.
A prime chance for the Spartans came soon thereafter, with Brent Darnell and Kevin Walrod breaking in on a two-on-one; Darnell was on the right side, and backhanded a pass to the unmarked Walrod. Walrod's offering was turned away by a spectacular save by Steven Summerhays, batting the puck away with the paddle of his stick to keep MSU off the board.
Midway through the third, a flubbed clearing pass hit the half-wall, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for the Irish. An opportunistic Peter Schneider jumped on it in the left circle and his wrister beat Yanakeff glove-side for his first goal of the season.
MSU pressed over the balance of the game, but Summerhays was up to the task and turned away all seven shots by the Spartans in the third, recording 25 saves in his first shutout of the season. Yanakeff finished his night with 30 saves.
The teams will meet again on Saturday night in the regular-season finale. Puck drop is 7:30 pm.
NOTES: MSU was shut out for just the second time this season, the first came against Miami in early January ... MSU went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Notre Dame was 1-for-4 with the man advantage ... Torey Krug's seven-game scoring streak came to an end ... In the CCHA scoring race, MSU's Torey Krug and Notre Dame's TJ Tynan were both held without a point tonight, so they will enter the final night of the season tied atop the CCHA scoring list with 28 points each. Justin Florek (27 points) and Tyler Gron (26) from Northern Michigan trail the two at the top of the list.