Notre Dame was sloppy in the first half on Sunday, similar to how it played Air Force on Friday. However, in the second half, the Irish straightened up and dominated the Denver Pioneers. Notre Dame let Denver run out to a 5-3 lead and then used two quick rotations to get back in the game. The Pioneers are a young team,. With more than half of the their rosters sophomores and freshmen, and they are decidedly local with 25 players from the Western states, including British Columbia. Their Texas freshmen twins, Charley and John Dickenon, played much today, with Charley getting one goal and two assists in the game.
Denver was working out of 3-21- early in the game and passing the ball around up top near the restraining line waiting for a mismatch with Notre Dame’s defenders. It worked for the first half, but then the Irish close defenders packed it in and were successful and deflecting a number of shots coming off of crisp feeds to the hole. Sean Dougherty snagged three rebounds in the crease and cleared them out before Denver could grab any garbage goals. On the first Denver attack, Dougherty snagged a rebound and tossed it down field to give the Irish the edge as Ryan Cunn took it and dumped it to Davey Leach at 11:05 as Leach beat Pioneer keeper, Jeb Hollingsworth, who finished with 12 saves. Denver countered with a goal by Canadian Illijia Gahjic, who used a quick dodge up left to get a step on Regis McDermott and he used a low left hander to go around McDermott and beat Joey Kemp inside of the right pipe at 9:23. Four minutes later, Joey Murray came from the left up top and passed left to right to Dan Nickell, who used a pop out step to get inside of Kelly McKenna and let loose a laser to inside of Kemp on the left pipe to give Denver the lead 2-1. At 4:25, Ryan Zardoni fed Murray from back left and Murray took two steps tot he center and smoked Kemp, 3-1. The Irish cam back at 3:12 when Will Yeatman rolled at X back and forth and came out on the right side to find Mike Podgajny 7 yards up in the center, so the Irish trailed 3-2.
Lucius Polk of Notre Dame started off the scend quarter at 12:23 when he took a feed from Brian Hubschmann to even up the game at 3-3. Hubschmann was very good at feeding today, netting 4 assists and one goal. Polk was all over the field, setting up the Irish offense, and picked up four goals as did Ryan Hoff, with Hoff’s coming mostly from crashing the middle of the crease. Hubschmann was trapped sometimes behind the goal and Denver forced him twice to make poor passes that gave the bal back to Denver. At 6:00, Podgajny was whistled off for an illegal body check and gave Denver its first EMO opportunity. Charley Dickenson fed Murray at 5:45 from the right side and Murray pushed it past the left of Kemp, inside of the pipe to give Denver a 4-3 lead. At 4:57, Dickenson took a pass up top and curled in a wide arc toward the right and stopped and fired back to the far side, hitting the inside of the pipe which caused the ball to bounce sideways into the net and gave Denver the 5-3 edge. Denver spent the next minute moving in tight to pressure Kemp with sharp feeds to the crease, but Rallo and Zimmerman of Notre Dame kept them from scoring by trapping the shoooter’s stick in mid air and deflecting their shots. Alex Wharton countered next for Notre Dame as he came from the left side and rolled the front of the net and shot while being knocked down to make it 5-4. Polk, who started the scoring in this period, ended it with a solo goal, his second, at 1:25 to tie the game at 5-5 going into the half.
In the third quarter, the Irish used Yeatman to create space. This kid is big and overpowering. He still needs to learn some skills for he has a nasty habit of wagging his stick out when he begins a roll, leaving it open to over the head checks. Yeatman uses his 6-6 frame to set up on the GLE and roll toward the crease looking to either jump up and feed down into the crease or to jump up and draw the goalie out and shoot over him. This kid will be a terror in another year when he gets some polish. In another favorite play, he will roll from the back and feed hard to the center of the crease to catch a middie coming down from the 12 o’clock position. Yeatman used this play to feed Alex Wharton in the center at 13:21 to go up 6-5. Hubschmann then used a jump shot with an overhand right to push a laser past Hollingsworth and put ND up 7-5 at 7:30. Yeatman then rolled form X to the GLE and caught Ryan Hoff in full stride coming down the center, who fired past Hollingsworth to go up 8-5 at 5:53. Denver responded three minutes later during another EMO opportunity and when Dickenson fed Gajic on the left side up about 10 yards. Gajic jumped and fired a bouncer that caught Kemp between his legs, 8-6 to end the third quarter.
The Irish really turned up the heat in the fourth quarter using a successful ride that kept the ball away from Kemp for almost 11 minutes of the quarter and frustrated Denver’s transistion movement. At 11:59, it was Polk again open 5 yards out on the GLE and he crossed left to right to score his third goal and Notre Dame led, 9-6. Hoff scored his second at 7:26 on a feed from Krebs from the left to the center of the crease. 10-6. At 7:03, Hubschmann was covered on the left side, but eluded his defender and slipped the bal to Podgajny who cranked a hard side arm shot. 11-6. At 6:24, Podgajny took his turn feeding to the hole and he caught Hoff again, coming down from the center top to beat Hollingsworth, 12-6. At 5:28, Hubschmann came from behind and hit Hoff for his 4th goal. 13-6. Polk once again got into the action and scored his final goal on a feed from Hubschmann.
Denver falls to 1-1 in conference play while Notre dame rises to the top at 3-0. Notre Dame will travel to Columbus to meet the Buckeyes at the end of the month. A win in Columbus gives them the AQ from the conference, assuming they don’t trip up against Quinnipiac.
|Brian Hubschmann||(1, 4)|
|Ryan Hoff||(4, 0)|
|Lucius Polk||(4, 0)|
|Will Yeatman||(0, 3)|
|Michael Podgajny||(2, 1)|
|Alex Wharton||(2, 0)|
|Grant Krebs||(0, 1)|
|Ryan Cunn||(0, 1)|
|Davey Leach||(1, 0)|
|Joey Kemp||11 (0.647)|