There have been times this year when Northwestern’s offense has disappeared. This is a team that scored four goals against Maryland and Louisville and haven’t hit double digits in five of their first 11 games of the season.

Game 12 was a different story.

Northwestern put 17 past the Fighting Irish and cruised to a very comfortable five-goal win. Everyone got into it. Christina Esposito’s best season as a Wildcat marches on with a four-goal day. Shelby Fredericks not only notched a hat trick, but won a ridiculous 12 draw controls by herself. Craig got four points via two goals and two assists.  Harker, Ciklin, and Ingrilli all bulged the net.

Selena Lasota is back, too.

Six goals vs. Michigan could be easily forgotten if against real competition, she was kept quiet again. Instead, against a team that has maybe the best individual defender in the country in Barbara Sullivan, Lasota scored five goals on a ruthlessly efficient five shots. She scored from close range. She scored from screaming blasts from far out. She scored when she wanted to.

Northwestern’s defense wasn’t always sparkling. Notre Dame packs a bunch of punch going forward, but Northwestern didn’t make their life that difficult. Cortney Fortunato had a nice game, bringing her season point total to 69 thanks to five goals and a pair of assists. But Fortunato got herself removed from the game with two yellow cards late, and in doing so, ended any chance of a Notre Dame comeback.

The Fighting Irish probably don’t deserve their #5 ranking. Their losses are impressive (Syracuse, North Carolina, and Louisville), but their only signature wins are Virginia and Princeton, good but not great teams. Still, Northwestern was in need of a win, and they got it against a very solid, hungry team.

It’s always easy to overreact to games like these, but right now, it feels like Northwestern has turned a corner. They’re dangerous going forward and dominant in the draw control circle. That’s a heck of a combination.