Nick Ossello ripped a shot past Ohio State goalie Tom Carey two minutes into the First Quarter of the Irish's game against the Buckeyes.
Turns out, that would be all Notre Dame needed.
The prolific Irish offense added eight more goals and stunned the #15 Ohio State Buckeyes by leaving them scoreless, winning 9-0 in South Bend.
The first half was a case in what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmoving object. The Irish, despite struggling at the faceoff X, dominated offensive possession, slinging a whopping 22 shots on Ohio State.
Despite that, the Irish only managed to net three goals on the Buckeyes, namely because of Ohio State's vaunted defense and top-5 goalie in Carey. After Ossello's score, Irish attackmen Matt Kavanagh and Conor Doyle got on the board for the Irish to take a 3-0 lead into the half.
The second half showed wear and tear on the Buckeyes and signs that fatigue was beginning to set in. Ossello scored seven seconds into the 2nd half and got his hat trick a little over a minute later. Doyle scored his second of the day right near the end of the third quarter and Sergio Perkovic, Cole Riccardi and Brendan Collins netted scores in the 4th Quarter to get the total to 9.
For all the offense's credit, it was the Notre Dame defense that took over on Saturday. Ohio State's Tewaaraton Trophy lister Jesse King was rendered ineffectual by the Irish longsticks. Shadowed by Matt Landis for most of the afternoon, King managed only 4 shots on goal and 5 ground balls and turned the ball over 4 times, leading all Ohio State players.
Longstick Garrett Epple led all Irish players with 4 caused turnovers and was crucial in keeping Ohio State off the board.
Also involved was the Irish midfield, which probably had its best defensive game all season (easy to say when you win 9-0, I know). The Irish middies combined for 7 of Ohio State's 22 turnovers.
One of the stars of the game though had to be Irish goalie Shane Doss. The Notre Dame netminder nabbed 13 Ohio State shots and made some nice saves to deny any momentum and preserve the shutout.
The victory, along with #1 Syracuse's domination over #4 Duke on Sunday sets up a Saturday showdown in South Bend (alliteration ftw!) pitting the #1 Orange against the #2 Irish.
Some thoughts below the fold before we look at some colorful pictures:
Ohio State was tired, but that shouldn't take away what Notre Dame did on Saturday
It didn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that Ohio State was sluggish. They upset Denver the previous Saturday and traveled to Baltimore in the middle of the week in their one goal win over Towson. That will take its toll on any team. However, the Buckeyes committed 22 turnovers, 8 in the first quarter alone. They also were invisible on offense in the first quarter, getting only one shot off. Despite that, there is no reason why they weren't able to take advantage of their dominance at the faceoff X. Instead, the Irish buckled down on defense and forced the Ohio State middies to step up and they did not.
Also consider that this was the second shutout in Notre Dame's history. That gives you an idea of how rare it is. The last time the Irish shut out an opponent was April 10, 1984 against Mount Union. To give you an idea of what April 10, 1984 was like, the #1 song was "Footloose," and the #1 movie was Police Academy (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters wouldn't be released until later in the year). So...a long time and worthy of mentioning the Irish Athletics significance of the feat, which is also the first shutout by a Kevin Corrigan-coached team.
Let's be serious the only reason why I added that info was so I could include this:
Notre Dame put together a four quarter game and look at what happened
I wrote in my preview that the Irish have struggled to this point in the season at putting together a four-quarter game. ND would explode out of the gate but allow opponents to creep back into the game in the second half, as evidenced by their games against Denver and Virginia. Against Ohio State though, the Irish were almost flawless, forcing Ohio State into 22 turnovers, 0-5 on man up advantages and keeping them off the scoreboard entirely. Also worth mentioning is Shane Doss' 13-save performance, which also ended his streak of 50-50 games.
"Almost" flawless...looking at you, Notre Dame faceoff unit
Yes, Christopher May for Ohio State is among the nation's best at the faceoff X, but ND only going 4-13 is horrid. You know who is better than Christopher May? Ben Williams for Syracuse, who is 4th in the nation at faceoffs and his rank might go up if his 14-22 outing against Duke isn't plugged in yet. Williams will set the pace for the game if Notre Dame doesn't figure something out in the next week going into this contest. It's no longer a matter of opponents. Notre Dame's faceoff specialist might not be so special anymore, no matter who it is.
The new Notre Dame lacrosse helmets...swoon
This year, Notre Dame decided to go with Headwrapz to help design their new helmets. They made a chrome/gold wrap for the Irish helmets and they made their debut this weekend against the Buckeyes.
They were awesome.