On a weekend that involved me being in the car more than anything else (or so it seemed), I managed to spend a quick 24 hours in South Bend, on my way to visit offspring number one. The purpose of the quick stop in South Bend was to pull photos from Notre Dame Archives for the new book I’m finishing up (working title: Echoes From Notre Dame – Tales From Her Loyal Sons and Daughters). But while I was there, I was invited to shoot photos of the Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin hockey game. Sadly, I wasn’t at the winning game of the two game series, but it was a hard-hitting game, none-the-less.
The game was an exciting one. There was a two minute stretch in the third period in which Notre Dame had nine shots on goal, (yes nine), and I still don’t know how one of those did not go in. They definitely fought hard to capture the comeback, right down to the bitter end, but it just wasn’t in the cards. They did not get off to as quick of a start as Coach Jeff Jackson would have liked, and they just aren’t built to chase from behind against a team like Wisconsin. “You can’t fall behind early in the game. We’re not a team who’s going to score five goals from behind, chasing the game. I don’t think we started nearly as fast (tonight) as we did against Michigan. (We had) short preparation for Wisconsin and they played really well. They played much better than they did when we played them at Wisconsin,” said Jackson in the post-game press conference.
I was quite impressed with the play of the freshmen in Friday night’s game. They have definitely come a long way, this season, and are actively shaping the future of Notre Dame Hockey. Coach Jeff Jackson felt the same way. “That’s what you hope happens. You hope they grow into sophomores in the second half of the year. They’ve been good for us all year. I think that we need them to play well for us. They are at least a third our lineup every night so we need them to contribute and act like they’ve been through it a little bit, and they have. They went through some ups and downs in the first half of the season, and this is the time that they need to step up.”
Coach Jackson must have had some inspiring words for the team post-game on Friday night, and pre-game on Saturday, as the Irish squad rebounded and beat Wisconsin 5-2 on Saturday night. Freshmen Michael Graham had two goals, along with the goal he had against Michigan on Tuesday night, and this morning was named the Big Ten’s Second Star of the Week by the Big Ten Conference. With his performance last week, Graham took the team lead in goals with 11 goals. He has scored 10 of those since January 18th, which leads the NCAA during the time period.
Big Ten Stars of the Week -- Feb. 19
First Star: Nathan Burke, Fr., F, Minnesota
Second Star: Michael Graham, Fr., F, Notre Dame
Third Star: Scott Reedy, Fr., F, Minnesota
Here are my top ten images from the game I shot this weekend.
Cheers & GO IRISH!