DENVER, Colo. – DENVER, Colo. – Notre Dame’s Wheaton Jackoboice scored the tie-breaking goal with 1:19 to play and the fourth-ranked and sixth-seeded Fighting Irish edged Drexel in the first round of the NCAA Championships, 10-8. The Dragons trailed by four, but rallied to tie the game, before falling in the final minutes. The loss snapped a nine-game Drexel win streak as the Dragons ended their season with a 10-3 record. Notre Dame (8-3) will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Irish will pllay either Maryland or Vermont next weekend.
The Dragons evened the score at 8-8 for the first time since the opening minutes when Bowering picked up his fourth of the day with 12:50 to go in the contest. For Bowering, it was the 147th goal of his career, which tied Drexel’s career record set by Jeff Miller. Each team had its chances over the next 10 minutes. Notre Dame had multiple chances close in, but Drexel goalkeeper Ross Blumenthal was more than up to the task. The junior was outstanding all day, but especially in the fourth. He made seven saves in the quarter, including two from the stick of Pat Kavanagh from in tight. Blumenthal had a career-high 15 saves overall in arguably the best game of his career. Notre Dame was finally able to get the lead late when Jackoboice netted his third of the game. Mirer Morrison added an empty net goal late as Drexel tried to force a turnover and get possession back after Notre Dame won the face-off.
Drexel trailed by four entering the second half but started its comeback right away. Sean Donnelly started it by finding the top corner after coming around the net for his 26th of the season. The Dragons made it a 7-5 game when Jack Mulcahy dodged to the right and fired a shot on the run to get the Drexel faithful that made the trip on their feet. Notre Dame answered with a David Lipka goal at the 10:25 mark. Neither team would score for more than nine minutes. Drexel broke the stretch with two scores in the final 1:19 of the quarter. Donnelly found Aidan Coll planted on the crease and the senior deposited goal number 33 past Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann to make it 8-6. After Drexel got the ball back, Mulcahy found Bowering who rifled a shot into the Irish net for his third goal of the game.
Bowering’s hat trick was the 30th in his illustrious career at Drexel. He finished his career with 184 career points, which is sixth all-time at the school. Donnelly and Mulcahy each had two points. Donnelly, just a freshman, finished the year with a team-best 20 assists and 46 points.
Jackoboic’s three goals led the Fighting Irish. Morrison and Kavanagh each scored two. Kavanagh entered the game averaging 5.9 points per game, but Drexel defenseman Sean Quinn played well against the Tewaaraton finalist. Entenmann made 17 stops in goal.
Notre Dame outshot Drexel, 47-42, with 19 of those shots coming in the fourth quarter. The Drexel defense caused nine of the 16 Irish turnovers and held the seventh best offense in the nation (14.6 goals per game) well under their scoring average. Drexel also killed all three penalties without allowing a Notre Dame extra-man goal. Notre Dame came into the contest second in man-up percentage at .595. Drexel took care of the ball for most of the game, but had some untimely turnovers in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 15.
The Irish got on the board just 52 seconds into the game when Jackoboice finished off a feed from Eric Dobson. The Dragons answered when Ryan Genord got on the board. Less than a minute later, Bowering fired home a shot for his first of the day, giving Drexel a 2-1 advantage. Notre Dame’s Mirer answered with a goal of his own, and five minutes in, the teams had scored four goals. Late in the quarter, the Irish scored a pair of goals to take a 4-2 lead after the first quarter. Jackoboice had his second of the quarter with 1:31 to play and Will Yorke added another just 34 seconds later.
The second quarter was full of action, but no scoring, until late. Pat Kavanagh scored two straight for the Irish, the first on a behind-the-back shot, to put Notre Dame up by a score of 6-2. Drexel’s scoring drought reached more than 23 minutes before Bowering cut the lead in half at 6-3. The graduate student found his way in front of the cage and one timed a rebound of a Casey Waller shot for his second of the day. However, Notre Dame extended the lead back to four less than a minute later when Sean Leahey’s bounce shot made it 7-3.
Drexel had its chances in the first half, but each time Entenmann came up with the save for the Irish. The sophomore made 13 stops in the first half, including seven in the second quarter alone when Drexel put a great deal of pressure on the Irish defense.