MARQUETTE - Stephan Vigier's goal with 5.2 seconds left in the first period on Friday night at the Berry Events Center gave Northern Michigan University a 2-1 lead on Notre Dame heading into the first intermission.
It also should have given the Wildcats all the momentum going into the second period while making the blood pressure of Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson sky rocket throughout the break.
The goal did just the opposite.
No. 9 Notre Dame tied the game 90 seconds into the second period and took the lead 151 ticks later en route to a 5-2 victory in front of 3,143 fans in the home opener for No. 16 Northern and 2012-13 CCHA opener for both schools, who will meet again tonight at 7:35 p.m. in Marquette.
"For whatever reason, we came out flat and that's inexcusable," Vigier said about the second period. "Leaders like myself and (Reed) Seckel and Scotty (Macaulay), we should have took control a little better, probably, and tomorrow is a new day.
"We'll try to forget about this one and come back with a better effort."
NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau, left, and junior forward Stephan Vigier, right, address the media following the Wildcats' 5-2 loss on Friday to Notre Dame in Marquette. (Journal photo)
Both of the Wildcats' goals came late in the first period.
Sophomore Ryan Daugherty scored his team-leading third goal via assists from linemates Kyle Follmer and Vigier at 14:48 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1.
Vigier, a junior with two assists heading into the night, then got his first goal of the season off the faceoff with 5.2 seconds remaining in the first period during four-on-four action.
Notre Dame 5, NMU 2
Notre Dame 1 2 2 - 5
N. Michigan 2 0 0 - 2
ND - David Gerths/2 (Kevin Nugent/1) 1:27.
NMU - Ryan Daugherty/3 (Kyle Follmer/2, Stephan Vigier/3) 14:48.
NMU - Stephan Vigier/1 (CJ Ludwig/2) 19:55.
ND - Austin Wuthrich/1 (Sam Calabrese/1, Kevin Lind/1) 1:30.
ND - Bryan Rust/2 4:01.
ND - Peter Schneider/2 (Anders Lee/3) 3:51.
ND - Anders Lee/2 (Austin Wuthrich/2, Robbie Russo/2) 18:51 (empty net).
Shots on goal - ND 10-11-17 38; NMU 10-8-6 24.
Power plays - ND 0 of 3; NMU 0 of 2.
Penalties - ND 4 (8 min); NMU 5 (10 min).
Goalies - ND, Steven Summerhays 4-1 (59:44 minutes, 24 shots-22 saves); NMU, Jared Coreau 3-2 (59:53, 37-33).
Friday's CCHA scores
Ferris State 6, Alaska 3
Ohio State 1, Bowling Green 0
Michigan 4, Miami 2
Lake Superior State 3, Michigan State 2
NMU senior goaltender Jared Coreau was one of the more visibly excited Wildcats after Vigier's goal despite being on the opposite end of the ice, but somewhere between Tim McIntosh's "Wildcat goal" call and the drop of the puck to start the second, that energy disappeared.
"One thing we talk about that is pretty important is follow up shifts, so our follow up shift, five seconds doesn't count. So going into the second period, you need to come out and make a statement to back up our goal," Coreau said. "I think we were a little flat in the room. Guys need to prepare mentally better tomorrow, including myself.
"I think every time we come out for a period, we need to start hitting because Notre Dame is going to come out and do the exact same thing."
Notre Dame scored 1:27 into the first period on a goal by David Gerths, and Austin Wuthrich tallied his first goal of the season for Notre Dame 1:30 into the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
Bryan Rust recorded the game-winning goal for Notre Dame 4:01 into the second period while Peter Schneider took a whole 3:51 to add an insurance goal for the Irish early in the third period.
"I didn't think we were very good at all," NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. "We gave up two goals in the first minute and a half of the first, a minute and a half into the second. It really took the wind out of our sails."
NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau finished with 33 saves, but was lit up for the second time in three games, giving up four Irish goals - the fifth was an empty netter.
Coreau has given up only four goals in the Wildcats three wins this year, but nine in their two losses.
Coreau gave up five goals before being pulled at Nebraska-Omaha exactly a week ago, and the junior netminder chalked that bad night up to weary bus legs from a two-day, 15-hour journey.
This week, Coreau said, "it was just one of those night," while his coach pointed to a veteran defensive group that hung its goalie out to dry.
"If we're going to give up that many chances, (Coreau) is going to give up goals," Kyle said. "We have to do a better job in front of him. The opportunities we gave them tonight were too good to give a good hockey team."
Summerhays only needed to make 22 saves with Northern being outshot 17-6 in the third period.
It was the complete opposite of what Northern did two weeks ago against a winded Wisconsin Badgers team in Green Bay, giving up only five third-period shots in two games.
On Friday in Marquette, Kyle said it was his team that was winded against Notre Dame and he singled out one player specifically - senior center Matt Thurber.
"Matt Thurber is way out of shape," Kyle said. "In the third period, he was dying out there. We had a couple other guys dying out there. We have to do a better job being able to being able to sustain 60 minutes and keep pressing.
"I don't think our forwards put any pressure on (Notre Dame) at all tonight. When it gets like that, everybody gets tired. You're in your end and you get tired and there was some fatigue there for sure."
While Kyle credited Seckel with a solid performance, he was less than happy with the line as a whole, no matter who was part of it.
Kyle started with the trio he used in the Saturday night win at Nebraska-Omaha - Seckel, Thurber and freshman Ryan Aynsley.
The rookie struggled, however, with one of his turnovers in the opening 90 seconds delaying a line change and playing a part in the quick Irish goal.
Kyle began using junior Erik Higby and freshman Cohen Adair with Thurber and Seckel during the third period, but neither player sparked the line that last year was known for disappearing for stretches.
"It wasn't going and we tried to get something going with it and we couldn't find anything," Kyle said. "Really what we were doing was see if something would click. Nothing could get us going. Sometimes you put a couple guys together and bang, but it wasn't tonight."