The month of January has been a nightmare for the Notre Dame Hockey Team, but yesterday afternoon it may have woken up as the players defeated Batavia/Alexander, 2-1.
The Fighting Irish came into the contest just 1-4 this month, and had lost four straight by a combined score of 28 to 4. But, the win against crosstown rival Batavia/Alexander is a step in the right direction.
“We’ve been struggling recently,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Marc Staley. “We had two good practices getting prepared for this. We felt that we had hit rock bottom and the good thing about rock bottom is that you’re done falling. We thought we would come out and play a good game tonight.”
Notre Dame came out fast in the first period, controlling play for the majority of the period before Spencer Misiak pounced on a loose puck and put it by Blue Devil goaltender James Cryer 7:25 into the game.
“We wanted to focus on puck possession,” Staley said. “I thought we did a great job of that in the first period. We wanted to wear their defense down. The more we kept the puck down low, the more we can keep it out off of the stick of guys like Rich Francis.”
Just like the Irish did to start the game, Batavia/Alexander came out fast in the second period and their leading scorer, Francis, was able to get loose.
Francis picked up a nice pass from Julien Schimley and deked out goaltender Tyler Stroud for his 10th goal of the season.
“I think we had a little letdown in the second period,” Staley said. “But we also had three penalties called against us in the period, so that took a little steam out of us. We got focused again after the second period and righted the ship.”
The Irish would strike again on what would be the game-winner as Kevin Moscicki blasted a shot from the point that got through less than two minutes into the third period.
The Notre Dame defense did the rest of the work as Stroud stood tall in goal, making 19 saves on the night.
“Moscicki did a great job just getting it through to the net,” Staley said. “This game against Batavia is always that way. It’s one bounce or another and it ended up bouncing our way tonight.”
Cryer faced a barrage of shots all night, stopping 32 of 34 shots on the night for Batavia/Alexander (4-9-0).
“A win is always important,” Staley said. “We needed a win at this time of the year just to lift the spirits in the locker room.”
Notre Dame improves to 5-9-1.