Alex Brasky | @BataviasBest
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 | BataviasBest.org
Behind 1-0 entering the third period last night vs Geneseo, the Notre Dame Hockey team seemed as if it was about to dip below .500 for the first time in recent memory. They had played a sloppy game up until that point, and seemed stagnant offensively – a bad sign for any hockey team – which left them with a tough hill to climb during the third period.
However, despite the tough situation which they forced themselves into, the Irish battled last night at Falleti Ice Arena, and used the ever-present energy of their home crowd in order to come back and stun Geneseo by a final score of 3-2.
Notre Dame’s three goals in the third came off the sticks of Max Hutchins, Ethan Hutchins, and Cameron Ells (game-winner) , while Irish net-minder Ethan Conrad bulled his neck down the stretch and allowed ND’s three tallies to stand as the winning mark.
“We were not very sharp in this game,” said ND head coach Marc Staley following the comeback win. “But I give the kids credit. They gutted it out and we won a game against a good team – even though we didn’t play very well.”
Following goals from the Hutchins boys, the Irish found themselves tied with Geneseo as time ticked under 2:00 to go in the third period. At that point, Notre Dame’s Cameron Ells took it upon himself to give his team the lead – and the win.
“Cameron picked up the puck behind our own net, and took it coast-to-coast for one of the nicest goals I’ve seen all year,” continued Staley. “It came at a big time for (us).”
Leading up to Notre Dame’s offensive outbreak, and the game-winner from Ells, Staley says he made a few adjustments which allowed his goal-scorers to find more room during the final period.
“I changed the lines for the first time all year, after the second period,” commented Staley. “I think (our guys) just needed to change it up a little bit and see some fresh faces (on the ice).”
Boy did the adjustments work on Geneseo goaltender Isaac Sweet, and his defense, as despite being impenetrable all night they both began to show signs of letting-up during the third.
“Sweet played awesome tonight,” added Staley. “He stopped 26 shots, and many of them were at point-blank range. He really frustrated us.”
For Notre Dame, the win is one that is extra-sweet, as the Irish have developed quite the rivalry with the Lakers over the past several seasons – as both team’s have crossed paths during the postseason on more than one occasion.
“Whenever Geneseo and Notre Dame play, throw the records out,” finished Staley. “It’s always a great battle.”
With the win, Notre Dame is now 4-3 and looks ahead to a matchup with Irondequoit on Saturday.
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