Jan 29, 2013, 10:27 AM EDT
The Fighting Irish hockey season could very well have been standing on the edge of a knife this past Friday night. The Irish dropped an extremely important game to Ferris State Friday which put them in a tight spot. Another loss Saturday would have put the Irish (who had already slipped into 4th place in their conference) into an even deeper hole. To put it simply, things could have gotten messy. But the Fighting Irish pulled it together and found a way to get a 5-2 victory on the score sheet Saturday night. What accounted for the change? Well, a couple things:
- The grinders stepped up. Two of the unsung heroes on the team, Kevin Nugent and David Gerths, both found their way into the goal-scorer column. Usually found battling in the corners and wearing down the opposing team’s defense, both these gritty forwards showed their offensive sides. Albeit, neither goal was terribly pretty, (Nugent admits, “I closed my eyes and took a shot”) a goal is a goal and both helped the Irish onward to victory.
- The Irish found a way to hold the momentum. Not only was this Kevin Nugent’s first goal of the season; it was the first goal of his career. He could not have put it in at a better time either. He broke the 2-2 tie in the second period, and scored the goal which eventually became the game winner. There is no doubt in my mind that the team rallied around this goal. First off, it was a go-ahead goal at a critical time in the game. Second of all, it was the first career goal for Kevin Nugent, a senior who is one of the hardest working members of the team. For the Irish to see a teammate like Nugent score such a critical goal definitely gave them a momentum swing. What accounted for the victory is the fact that they held on to the momentum this time.
The Irish travel to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Although they’ve weathered the first storm, they still have quite a bit to show before they are back on track. Let’s hope we see flashes of the October/November hockey team, and not the squad of late. It doesn’t take much, but a critical component this coming weekend will be making the right play at the right time; getting the momentum and holding on to it.
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