December 28, 1996
Princeton Scores Two Late Goals, Downs Notre Dame 5-2
Irish lose without Simon and Fraser; Dhadphale ends goal slump; Seyferth nets first college goal
Princeton, N.J.-- Freshmen Brad Meredith and Chris Barber both netted their first career goals in the final two minutes as Princeton held off a depleted Notre Dame squad, 5-2, in non-conference hockey action Saturday at Hobey Baker Arena
Notre Dame (5-11-1)--playing without freshmen regulars Ben Simon and Tyson Fraser--scored early in the third period and continued to put on the pressure before Meredith and Barber's goals put the game out of reach. The Irish outshot the Tigers, 33-32, including 14-7 in the final period. It marked the sixth time this season that Notre Dame has outshot its opponent but failed to win the game (0-5-1).
Sophomore center Jeff Halpern led the early attack for Princeton (10-3-2), tying the game midway through the first period before scoring again to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead late in the second.
The Irish played without center Simon, who was busy Saturday helping the U.S. junior national team play to a 4-4 tie vs. defending champion Canada in the second round of the the World Junior Championships (held in Geneva, Switzerland). Simon was Notre Dame's seventh-leading scorer in the first 16 games of the season and scored or assisted on three of the team's final six goals before the Christmas Break.
Notre Dame also played without defenseman Fraser, who still was en route from the west coast after his Friday flight from Seattle to Newark was cancelled due to weather. The British Columbia native was tied for sixth on the Irish with five assists during the first half of the season.
The Irish struck at the 1:34 mark of the first period when sophomore left wing Aniket Dhadphale found the net, breaking out of a frustrating 10-game scoreless streak that had spanned 37 shots on goal. Dhadphale--who led the Irish last season with 13 goals--took a lead pass from freshman Joe Dusbabek, after a Princeton turnover at the blue line, and put the puck past Tigers goaltender Erasmo Saltarelli for his fourth goal of the season.
Princeton tied the game seven minutes later, converting on its only power play chance of the game after a holding penalty on Dusbabek yielded a 4-on-3 situation. Halpern took a pass from J.P. O'Connor and sent a shot from outside the left circle into the left side of the net, past Notre Dame junior goalie Matt Eislery.
The Tigers duplicated Notre Dame's quick opening goal by scoring at the 1:16 mark of the second period, as J.P. O'Connor collected a loose puck behind the net and skated around the right side of Eisler before pushing a shot inside the left post.
Halpern padded the lead on a 4-on-4 situation late in the second period, after taking a pass from Scott Bertoli off a 2-on-1 break. Eisler attempted the poke check and Halpern placed a backhanded shot into the left side of the net (17:31).
Notre Dame freshman defenseman Sean Seyferth (Ann Arbor, Mich.)--playing in place of Fraser alongside fellow freshman Nathan Borega--continued the string of early-period goals, lighting the lamp at the 2:21 mark of the third period to cut the lead to 3-2. Seyferth put back a rebounded shot from senior Terry Lorenz, flicking a shot from the middle of the circles that hit off a Tigers defenseman before sliding by Saltarelli.
The Irish continued to press for the equalizer, outshooting the hosts 14-4 in the third period before Meredith's goal gave Princeton a two-goal cushion. The Notre Dame flurry included a shot from Lyle Andrusiak with eight minutes remaining that kicked off the right post and a blueline slapshot by Sean Molina that bounced off Saltarelli before flying a few inches over the crossbar (14:30).
Meredith scored with 2:06 left in the game, flicking a pass from Keith O'Brien into the right side of the net, and Barber put the game out of reach 44 seconds later after a rebounded shot by J.P. Acosta.
The Irish had just one power play chance in the game, after a holding penalty on Halpern with 53 seconds left in the second period.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 2 p.m.
NOTRE DAME (5-11-1) 1 0 1 - 2 PRINCETON (10-3-2) 1 2 2 - 5 1st - ND 1. Dhadphale (Dusbabek, Johnson) 1:34; PU 1. Halpern (O'Connor), PP, 8:21. 2nd - PU 2. O'Connor (Verdon) 1:16; PU 3. Halpern (Bertoli, Brush), 4-on-4, 17:31. 3rd - ND 2. Seyferth (Lorenz, Harberts) 2:21; PU 4. Meredith (O'Brien, Sinclair) 17:54; PU 5. Barber (J. Acosta) 18:30. Shots on goal: ND 10-9-14/33, PU 12-13-7/32. Saves: ND (Eisler) 11-11-5/27, PU (Saltarelli) 9-9-13/31. Power Play: ND 0-for-1, PU 1-for-1. Penalties: ND 6 for 12:00, PU 6 for 12:00.