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Reflections: Ohio State Weekend

Feb 5, 2013, 9:51 AM EDT

Irish goalie Mike Johnson makes a save. (photo by Matt Cashore)

Although experiencing some speed bumps, the Fighting Irish were able to salvage a win this weekend in Columbus, Ohio against the Ohio StateBuckeyes. After dropping their Friday night matchup, 6-3, it did not seem like things were going to bode well for the Irish the following night. Changing things up a bit, Coach Jeff Jackson threw senior goaltender Mike Johnson between the pipes for the Saturday night game, and, lo and behold, the Irish came out with a victory (albeit it was in a shootout). Although the Irish split the series, they gave up a pristine opportunity to come away with two huge wins; some reflections on the weekend:

  • Special teams killed the Irish this weekend. In the Friday night game, Notre Dame gave up four power-play goals to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Three of those goals came on the same penalty (a five-minute major for Mike Voran’s hit from behind). Three power-play goals in one game is by no means a good statistic, but all within a span of five minutes? Not a great showing by the Notre Dame penalty killers to say the least. Each of the goals was scored on a rebound, which means OSU players did not do anything spectacular; the Irish penalty killers just did not bear down enough in their own zone. Coach Jackson will definitely have to either change up his tactics or his personnel to avoid situations like this in the future.
  • Maybe it’s time to give Mike Johnson a look. Mike Johnson’s performance this weekend was quite impressive. In approximately four periods of play, Johnson stopped 27 of 29 shots as well as all four shots he faced in the shootout. Now, not to say that Steven Summerhays isn’t holding his own in net, but the Irish have not been able to rally around him these past few games. Johnson in net might be the catalyst the Irish need to get back on track.

The Irish welcome the Michigan Wolverines to the Compton Family Ice Arena this coming weekend. In their last meeting, the Fighting Irish swept Michigan at the historic Yost Ice Arena. Hopefully the Irish can build off their Saturday night victory and play with the same intensity that they did up in Ann Arbor. One thing will definitely be true this weekend: better special teams will equate to better outcomes.

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