Jan. 3, 2009
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - In the title game of the Shillelagh Tournament Notre Dame triumphed over Minnesota Duluth, 3-1, to remain undefeated in its last 16 games.
The top-ranked Irish handed the Bulldogs of Minnesota Duluth their first loss in nine games to improve to 15-3-2 on the season and 14-0-2 in their last 16 games. With the loss, Minnesota Duluth moves to 9-5-6 on the season.
The Irish used two first-period tallies by senior forward Garrett Regan and 19 saves by senior goaltender Jordan Pearce. Ryan Thang added an empty net goal at 19:59 of the third period to secure the win. Junior forward Christiaan Minella assisted on both of Regan's goals.
Notre Dame outshot the Bulldogs, 32-20, in the game. Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce finished with 19 saves in the victory while Alex Stalock had 29 saves for Minnesota Duluth. The Irish were 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Bulldogs were 0-for-6 on the night.
Notre Dame got on the board early in the first when Regan took a Minella feed down low and beat Bulldog goalkeeper Alex Stalock for his fourth tally of the season. Freshman defenseman Sean Lorenz also assisted on the opening goal, which was scored at 1:44 of the first period.
At 14:11 Regan scored his second of the night to put the Irish up, 2-0. The sequence that led to the goal started when Brett Blatchford fired a shot from the point that was tipped on net by Minella. Stalock made the initial save but the rebound kicked out to his left where Regan was waiting to slot in his second score of the night.
With a minute and a half remaining in the first, Minnesota Duluth cut the Irish lead to one goal. Junior Drew Akins found himself skating in on the Notre Dame net from the middle of the face-off circles with just Pearce to beat. The junior center deked Pearce and beat him down low for his fourth goal of the year. Justin Fontaine and Evan Oberg assisted on the goal.
The second period featured a lot of special teams play as Notre Dame and Minnesota Duluth were whistled for three penalties apiece. But, both goaltenders weathered the storm as the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Irish after two periods of play. Pearce turned aside the 10 Bulldog shots he faced in the period, while Stalock stopped 12 Notre Dame shots in the period.
Notre Dame added an empty net goal at 19:59 of the third period to seal the 2009 Shillelagh Tournament Championship trophy. The empty-netter was scored by junior Ryan Thang as he benefitted from the hustle of Erik Condra, who beat the Minnesota Duluth defense to a puck deep in the Irish offensive zone and passed it out front to Thang for the goal.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the 2009 Shillelagh All-Tournament team was named. At the forward positions, Minnesota Duluth's Justin Fontaine was joined by Notre Dame's Ben Ryan and Garrett Regan. Kyle Lawson of the Irish and Evan Oberg of the Bulldogs comprised the defense; while Jordan Pearce was named the All-Tournament team's goaltender. Pearce, who stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced at the Sears Centre, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The Irish return to action at home next weekend as they play host to CCHA foe Alaska at the Joyce Center on Jan. 9-10 with a 7:35 p.m. start on Friday and a 7:05 p.m. start on Saturday.
Preceding the title clash was the consolation game between Union and UMass Lowell. The Dutchmen proved victorious by a score of 2-1 to finish in third place at the 2009 Shillelagh Tournament behind the strength of a 30-save performance by sophomore goaltender Corey Milan.
With the win, Union improves to 9-8-1 on the season, while Lowell falls to 8-10-0.
The Dutchmen got on the board first when Stephane Boileau picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone. The sophomore forward burst into the offensive zone on a partial breakaway and shot the puck high past Lowell goaltender Carter Hutton for his sixth goal of the season.
Union extended its lead at 1:05 of the second period. For the goal, Adam Presizniuk came out of the penalty box and stole the puck away from a Lowell defender just outside Union's offensive zone and broke in on a two-on-one chance with Jason Walters. Walters received a pass from Presizniuk in the slot and calmly notched his ninth of the year, which proved to be the game winner.
While on the power play, UMass Lowell halved the Union lead late in the second period. Nick Schaus took a shot from the point that went wide of the Union cage but caromed to Michael Budd. Budd found Matt Ferreira open in front and the freshman beat Milan for his third goal of the season.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third. The River Hawks were able to out-shoot Union by a 10-5 margin in the stanza as they looked to tie the game, but Milan and the Union defense was equal to the task.
Milan finished with 30 saves for the Dutchmen, while Carter Hutton turned aside 21 shots for the River Hawks.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F #1/#1 Notre Dame (16-3-2) 2 0 1 - 3 Minnesota Duluth (9-5-6) 1 0 0 - 1
Second Period: none.