The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Ferris State Bulldogs traded two goals each on the night as the teams battled to a 2-2 overtime tie on Saturday night at a sold-out Joyce Center. The tie gave the Bulldogs three of four points on the weekend.
Notre Dame got goals from defenseman Ian Cole (ppg) and center Christian Hanson while Ferris State had a short-handed goal off the stick of Zach Redmond and a power-play goal from Blair Riley. The Irish out shot the Bulldogs, 35-29, in the game.
The tie gives Notre Dame a 20-10-2 overall record and a 13-7-2 mark in the CCHA, good for fourth place and 28 points. Ferris State is now 11-12-5 on the season and 8-10-4 in conference play. The Irish are just 4-6-2 in the 12 games since Christmas.
"I thought we played a better game tonight," said head coach Jeff Jackson.
" We had better control of the puck and did the things we should have been doing last night. Ferris State is a tough team to play against. They play that real defensive style. They have four guys back a lot like Michigan State plays. It's really difficult to get pucks through to the net."
The Irish got on the scoreboard first, capitalizing on the first of four power-play chances in the opening period at the 3:15 mark.
Erik Condra controlled the puck along the left wing boards when he saw Cole moving to the back door from the right point. Condra fired a pass right on Cole's stick and the freshman defenseman one-timed a shot past Bulldog goaltender Mitch O'Keefe for his fourth of the season.
"We had sustained pressure on the power play," explained Cole. "Sooner or later the seem is going to open. I took a peek before the pass came. It was open. Condra made a great pass. All I had to do was shoot it into the open net."
The Irish would get another power-play chance later in the period, this time a 5-on-3 chance, but it backfired as Ferris State as Redmond got his short-handed goal at 11:32.
With the play in the left wing circle, Redmond was able to poke the puck past defenseman Brett Blatchford and take off down the ice. He fired a low wrister from the edge of the right wing circle that beat Jordan Pearce inside the left post.
"That goal was a key play. We needed that five-on-three in the net instead of in our net," said Jackson. "All of sudden it's a different game."
For the period, the Irish out shot the Bulldogs, 14-8, but the score was tied 1-1.
Notre Dame would make it 2-1 at 6:32 of the second period as Christian Hanson scored an unassisted goal, his ninth of the year.
The Irish dumped the puck down the left boards where a Ferris State defender picked up the puck and retreated into his zone. Hanson pressured him along the goal line and slapped at the puck with the shot breaking through O'Keefe's pads for the goal that put the Irish up by one.
"He (Hanson) is playing his best hockey here," said Jackson. "He's playing with confidence. When he plays a proactive style, he does a great job. He looks like a pro when he takes the puck to the net. That's something we've been on him about since he came here. There are so many things he does well when he plays to his size.'
The lead would be short-lived though as the Bulldogs would tie the game at 9:20 of the second period on the power play.
Defenseman Scott Wietecha fired a shot that went wide and came out the other side of the net where Riley pounced on it and fired it into an open net for his 10th of the year.
That would be it for the scoring as the two goaltenders took over the rest of the way. Pearce finished the night with 27 saves while O'Keefe had 33.
Hanson summed up the Irish play on the night. "We probably deserved better tonight," commented the junior center. "We came out and played strong tonight, but they play their system well and just smothered us in their defensive zone."
Notre Dame will have to find their game on the road as the Irish return to action next week with a pair of games at Fairbanks, Alaska. Game times on Feb. 15-16 are at 11:00 p.m. South Bend time.