Notre Dame Hockey Moves Up in Standings with 4-2 Win Over Alaska: A Fan’s Perspective

Notre Dame was in need of something positive to happen for them. Alaska beat them soundly on January 27 and was trying for the sweep. Going down quickly 2-1 was not the sign they were hoping for. But the Fighting Irish rebounded and defeated Alaska 4-2 on Saturday, January 28.

The win gives Notre Dame a 3-1 record versus the University of Alaska this season. The Fighting Irish now have a 15-10-3 record and are 10-7-3-0 in the CCHA. That leaves the team with 33 points, which moves them into sixth place in the conference. That sounds far down, but Notre Dame is only four points out of first.

Coach Jeff Jackson decided to return Mike Johnson to the net, hoping he would give the team a spark. Notre Dame open the scoring with a power play goal and held Alaska to two shots through the first fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, those two shots both beat Johnson to give the Nanooks the lead at the end of one period.

Notre Dame came out in the second period inspired. They held Alaska to six shots on goal in the second, while producing two goals of their own. T. J. Tynan scored the equalizer at 15:20, giving him 11 goals on the season. Tynan is the catalyst of this Irish squad and can ignite them with his play. Stephen Johns would produce the go ahead goal thirty three seconds later. It was a remarkable feat that the Irish had the lead, as they only had four shots on goal during the second stanza.

Mike Johnson shut the door the rest of the way. It had to make Johnson happy, as he ended a personal five game losing streak. Notre Dame will need him to continue improving his play over the next few weeks. The split of this weekend series with Alaska was crucial. With two games in hand on three of the teams in front of them in the CCHA, Notre Dame should be able to make up some ground.

That is only possible because of Saturday night’s victory. Had Notre Dame lost, they would be seven points out of first place and five out of fifth. That would have been a steep hill to climb. The team comes home to play a weekend set against Bowling Green, kicking off the series on Friday, February 3.

John Atchison has been a loyal Irish supporter since childhood. There are often times when he can be heard singing, Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame! Follow him on Twitter @John_Atchison

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