December 7, 1996
Simon, Urick Score Again As Irish Get Back On Winning Track
Game marks first Joyce Center reunion for former Notre Dame teammates/roommates Poulin and Laurion
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Freshman Ben Simon scored for the second straight game and sophomore Brian Urick kept up his torrid scoring pace as the University of Notre Dame defeated visiting Alaska-Fairbanks 3-1 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday at the Joyce Center.
The win moved Notre Dame (5-10-1, 4-8-1) back into a tie for sixth place in the CCHA standings with idle Bowling Green (4-8-1) and Western Michigan (4-6-1), which won 7-6 in overtime Saturday over visiting Miami University. Ferris State lost at home to Michigan on Saturday, 5-3, leaving the fifth-place Bulldogs just one point ahead of the three teams tied for sixth.
Saturday's win ended a Notre Dame five-game losing streak that had included four one-goal losses. Notre Dame junior goaltender Matt Eisler made 23 saves while holding an Irish opponent to one or fewer goals for the third time this season.
Following a scoreless first period, the Nanooks jumped in front on the powerplay at the 6:08 mark of the second when senior Pat Williams sent a pass from the left point to sophomore Jeff Trembecky, who one-touched a shot into the net from the right circle.
The Irish quickly netted the equalizer by converting on a powerplay chance of their own. Urick initiated the play on a 3-on-2 break, skating down the right side before dropping a back pass for freshman Joe Dusbabek, who then drilled a low shot from the right circle. UAF goaltender Chris Marvel made the stick save, but the left-handed Simon was there to knock home the goal, his second in as many nights after going scoreless on his first 31 shots of the season.
Notre Dame surged ahead in the closing moments of the second period, as Urick came free on a breakaway and faked a shot to the right before beating Marvel on a backhanded shot high to the blocker side with 13 seconds remaining before the second intermission. The goal was Urick's team-leading eighth of the season and his sixth in the last seven games.
The Irish padded their lead midway through the final period as sophomore Lyle Andrusiak took a pass from Dusbabek and drilled a shot from the left circle that kicked off the skate of Marvel and into the net (10:00).
Notre Dame took a lead into the third period for just the fourth time this season and the first time at home. The victory ended a frustrating home season in which the Irish had not won since opening day, playing WMU to a 3-3 tie before dropping games to Ferris State (5-1), Mankato State (4-3 in OT) and Lake Superior (4-3).
Saturday's game was the first coaching matchup at the Joyce Center for Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin and Alaska-Fairbanks head coach Dave Laurion, who were roommates and teammates at Notre Dame from 1978-82, leading the Irish to the 1982 CCHA title game and one of its most successful seasons ever. (Notre Dame played an early-season three-game series at UAF last season in Poulin's first CCHA games as a head coach).
The Irish take a three-week break from competition before returning to the ice for a pair of non-conference games at Princeton on Dec. 27-28. Notre Dame returns to CCHA action at home vs. Miami on January 3.
Notre Dame Coach Dave Poulin
"It was a great effort coming off an exciting game last night (4-3 loss at Michigan St.). There easily could have been a letdown. I was disappointed in the last 10 minutes of the first period, but the first 10 and the rest of the third were great. Naturally there is a letdown coming off playing a top ten-10 team when you lose by a late goal. We have lost six of our (seven) one-goal games. Tonight we were in position to win and we made it happen. ... There were several key factors tonight. Eisler was a big one. (Freshman defenseman) Sean Seyferth also played a big role. After (Steve) Noble banged himself up, we had to move defensemen Brian McCarthy to forward and Seyferth really stepped up. To see him, as a freshman, play like that is really encouraging. ... You have to do what we did in the third to keep the lead. Now we have done it and we need to keep doing it."
(On what makes you able to win late as MSU did:) "You have to know that you can do it. It is really belief. MSU was in a situation where they had been successful there before. Notre Dame doesn't know how to be successful in that situation yet. It is a young team in a growth phase. I've been talking about all the positives of the past games and now tonight makes last night a positive situation."
(On playing against former Notre Dame teammate Dave Laurion:) "It's fun. He was my freshman year roommate. Last time he got us, but this ties (our series) up 2-2. You can't help thinking back 20 years to meeting the guy on the first day of school back in Dillon Hall."
ALASKA-FAIRBANKS 0 1 0 - 1 NOTRE DAME 0 2 1 - 3 SCORING 1st period - No scoring. 2nd period - UAF 1. Trembecky (Williams, Hafele) PP 6:08; ND 1. Simon (Dusbabek, Urick) PP 7:40; ND 2. Urick (McCarthy, Cotnoir) 19:47. 3rd period - ND 3. Andrusiak (Dusbabek, Simon) 10:00. Shots on goal: ND 6-9-9/24, UAF 6-9-9/24. Saves: ND (Eisler) 6-8-9/23, UAF (Marvel) 9-10-6/26. Powerplay: ND 1-for-4, UAF 1-for-5. Penalties: ND 6 for 12:00, UAF 5 for 10:00. Records: Alaska-Fairbanks (2-14-0, 2-12-0 CCHA) Notre Dame (5-10-1, 4-8-1 CCHA)