BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Top-seeded Notre Dame broke out of a third-period 4-4 tie with five unanswered goals, holding number-four seed Quinnipiac scoreless for more than 23 minutes in the process, as the Irish prevailed 10-6 in the first semifinal of the inaugural Great Western Lacrosse League Postseason Tournament.
The sixth-ranked Irish (12-2) now play number-two seed Ohio State (10-4) in the GWLL championship game at noon EDT Sunday. No. 10 Ohio State defeated third-seeded Denver 15-8 in the second semifinal. The tournament is being held at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich.
Notre Dame defeated Ohio State, 17-12, last Sunday at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame's 12 victories mark the most by the Irish since their best-ever 14-2 record in 2001 when they advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
The Irish joined Ohio State and Denver in a three-way tie atop the GWLL regular-season standings, all with 4-1 records.
Junior Ryan Hoff scored three goals for Notre Dame, while sophomore Grant Krebs and senior Michael Podgajny each scored two - with Krebs also adding a pair of assists to pace the Irish in scoring.
Quinnipiac (8-5) opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game (that was delayed 15 minutes at the start by heavy rain and lightning) on a Ted Dimond goal. Podgajny notched his first goal unassisted less than three minutes later, but the Bobcats held a 2-1 after the opening period, thanks to an unassisted Zach Dendas tally at the 2:28 mark.
Notre Dame then ran off three straight goals - one by Hoff (from junior Duncan Swezey at 11:04 of the second), one from Krebs (at 9:59 from junior Peter Christman), then another by Hoff (again from Christman at 6:40).
But Quinnipiac responded with another Dimond goal (from Mitch Cooper with 1:44 in the second period) for a 4-3 halftime score, then tied it at 4-4 less than three minutes into the third period on a Kaiser goal from Gary Messina.
From there it was all Notre Dame.
With Notre Dame senior goalie Joey Kemp and the Irish defense limiting the Bobcats without a goal from the 12:05 mark of the third period to the 3:30 stop in the fourth period, the Irish took control.
Rookie Zach Brenneman gave the Irish the lead for good at 5-4 on an unassisted tally at the 5:08 mark of the third period. Hoff notched his third goal less than three minutes later (from Alex Wharton), then Krebs put up his second goal (unassisted) to make it 7-4 for Notre Dame at the end of three.
The Irish scoring continued to open the final period, as sophomore Neal Hicks scored on a Krebs feed at 14:53, and Podgajny made it 9-4 at the 13:09 juncture, again from Krebs.
The Bobcats got two more goals from Dendas in the final 3:30, sandwiched around a Swezey goal from Hicks for Notre Dame (at 2:19).
Kemp finished with eight saves for the Irish, four in each half. Notre Dame outshot Quinnipiac 35-24 and also led in ground balls (41-30). Senior Taylor Clagett won 13 of 17 face-offs, helping the Irish as a team win 14 of 20. Freshman David Earl paced the Irish with six ground balls. The only odd-man goal came on a man-advantage opportunity by Quinnipiac on the Bobcats' last score.
|Grant Krebs||(2, 2)|
|Ryan Hoff||(3, 0)|
|Peter Christman||(0, 2)|
|Duncan Swezey||(1, 1)|
|Michael Podgajny||(2, 0)|
|Neal Hicks||(1, 1)|
|Alex Wharton||(0, 1)|
|Zach Brenneman||(1, 0)|
|Joey Kemp||8 (0.571)|