#12 UNC Weathers Big #4 Irish Rally, Wins in OT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Freshman Pat Foster's overtime goal lifted 12th-ranked North Carolina to a dramatic 9-8 victory over third-ranked Notre Dame Friday night before a national TV audience on ESPNU and the largest Fetzer Field crowd of the season. The overtime period was necessary after Notre Dame (10-2) had rallied from three goals down in the last two minutes to tie the game but freshman R.G. Keenan's face-off win and Foster's dodge from behind the goal on the left side provided the Tar Heels (10-5) with the winning formula in overtime.

It was Senior Night for 10 Tar Heels before a crowd of 4,016 fans at Fetzer Field and the game had more twists and turns would normally be expected of a game where only 17 goals were scored. Carolina got six goals from freshmen and three more from sophomore Marcus Holman while Notre Dame's balanced attack was relentless, scoring four goals in the final 6:22 of regulation and three in the final 1:24.

It was a night for unassisted goals on both sides of the ball with the two teams combining for only five assists on 17 goals. Holman, who has been sidelined since Carolina loss at Virginia on April 9, made his return a triumphant one as he scored three times while freshmen Nicky Galasso, Pat Foster and Ryan Creighton each had a pair of goals. Galasso and freshman Duncan Hutchins had assists and Billy Bitter had the niftiest assist of thenight on a diving goal by Holman in the second period. Notre Dame seniors David Earl and Colin Igoe each scored twice as did freshman Westy Hopkins. Igoe had goals with 1:17 and 13 seconds to play that forced overtime. Sean Rogers and Tyler Kimball also scored for the Fighting Irish while Eric Keppeler and Jake Marmul had assists.

The goalkeepers and Tar Heel face-off man R.G. Keenan were the unsung heroes of the game. For Carolina, sophomore Steven Rastivo made 13 saves and had three ground balls. He was besieged in the fourth quarter, facing 19 shots and while he allowed four goals he made seven saves in the final frame, helping the Tar Heels even get to overtime. On the other side Notre Dame sophomore John Kemp faced 25 shots by the Tar Heels in the firsthalf and only 10 in the second half. But his seven saves in the first quarter alone allowed the Irish to stay in contact with the Tar Heels even though they faced a deficit virtually the entire way.

At the face-off X, UNC freshman R.G. Keenan won 15 of 21 face-offs and had a game-high 11 ground balls. He was just three face-offs and one ground ball shy of his career high. After Notre Dame tied the game with 13 seconds left, UNC's Jordan Smith was sent to the penalty box for slashing, giving the Irish a man-up situation. Keenan won the ensuing face-off and though the Irish forced a turnover they did not keep possession of the ball as time expired, precipitating a face-off to begin overtime.

With the Tar Heels a man down heading into the extra session, Keenan again won the face-off to himself and the Tar Heels were able to kill off the penalty. The Tar Heels got their offensive personnel on the field and then Foster made his dash to the goal which resulted in the winning tally.

Another unsung hero was UNC senior defenseman Ryan Flanagan who matched his career high for both ground balls in a game with six and caused turnovers in a game with five during his senior night appearance.

Carolina came out on fire and sped to a 3-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes. Freshman Nicky Galasso had the first two goals for the Heels. After Billy Bitter's shot was saved by John Kemp, Galasso jumped on the ground ball and fired it home 42 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead. Just over eight minutes later, Galasso tallied his second unassisted goal on a shot from the right side, making it2-0. At 4:31, Marcus Holman powered home an outside shot from 12 yards in the center and it was Carolina 3-0. After a timeout by Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan, the Irish got a goal by freshman Westy Hopkins after he dodged from behind with 3:18 left in the quarter.

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2011-05-07



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