January 16, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame hockey team continued to receive balanced offensive contributions and improved special teams play as the No. 8-ranked Irish raced past visiting Alaska Fairbanks 6-1, giving the hosts a weekend sweep of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association series.
Notre Dame's fifth straight win, coupled with Ferris State's 2-1 home loss to sixth-place Northern Michigan (10-8-0), vaulted the Irish (14-6-2, 11-5-1 CCHA) past FSU and idle Ohio State (both 10-6-2) into third place in the CCHA standings. Notre Dame remains six points behind league leader Michigan State and four behind second-place Michigan.
The Irish lost one of their top scorers just four minutes into the game, when senior left wing Aniket Dhadphale was whistled for a major hitting-from-behind penalty and ensuing game misconduct penalty, resulting in his ejection from the game. The veteran sniper had scored two goals in Friday's night's 6-2 win over UAF.
Notre Dame was forced to shuffle its lines the rest of the evening and several players responded with multiple-point nights, among them sophomore left wing Chad Chipchase (two goals, one assist) and four players who had one goal and one assist: junior center Ben Simon, senior right wing Brian Urick, junior right wing Joe Dusbabek and sophomore right wing Matt Van Arkel. Assists from sophomore left wing Dan Carlson, freshman center Brett Henning, senior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir and junior defenseman Sean Seyferth rounded out the scoring.
Eight players combined to score the 12 Notre Dame goals during the weekend series while 13 skaters totaled at least one point in the pair of wins. The Irish continued to play without two regular defensemen-junior Tyson Fraser and sophomore Ryan Clark-but Cotnoir, Seyferth and the rest of the defensive unit proved up to the task. Fraser missed his third game of the season (second straight) due to injury while Clark missed his sixth straight game (eighth overall) while recovering from Dec. 23 shoulder surgery.
Urick's score held up as his team-leading fourth game-winning goal of the season and the 13th of his career, tying the Notre Dame record held by current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (1978-82).
Alaska Fairbanks (6-16-0, 5-15-0 CCHA), which averted the shutout on Chris Kirwan's goal with 10:54 left to play, dropped into a three-way tie for ninth place in the CCHA standings.
The Irish improved to 8-0-1 at home this season, with a commanding 45-15 scoring edge in those nine games. Notre Dame's 35-22 shot edge on Saturday boosts the Irish shot advantage during the last five games of the series to 198-106. The renewed Notre Dame power play converted on 2-of-7 man-up chances, giving the Irish seven power-play scores in their last 20 opportunities (after an 0-for-17 slide).
Irish senior goaltender Forrest Karr made 21 saves while dropping his season goals-against average to 2.48 and boosting his season save percentage to .904 (both of which are on pace to set Irish records). Karr, who sports an impressive record of 20-9-3 over the past two seasons, has 124 saves and just seven goals allowed in the current five-game winning streak (for a 1.40 GAA and, .947 save pct. in that span).
In other CCHA action Saturday, MSU (13-2-3) won 5-1 at eighth-place Miami (4-13-3) while Michigan posted a 6-2 home win over ninth-place Western Michigan (2-11-6) and Lake Superior (4-10-2) pulled out a 5-4 win at seventh-place Bowling Green to forge the three-way tie at ninth place.
Despite the early five-minute penalty drawn by Dhadphale, the Irish quickly turned the momentum thanks to Simon's fifth power-play goal of the season and Urick's first career shorthanded goal. Just 44 seconds after Dhadphale's penalty, Kirwan was called for interference and Dwayne Zinger's roughing penalty 34 seconds later yielded a 4-on-3 Irish power play.
Simon, who missed Friday's game to due to a delayed CCHA one-game suspension, notched his 11th goal of the season at the 6:31 mark, assisted by Dusbabek, and Urick followed with his team-leading 13th goal of the season and 54th of his career (7:58), with Henning setting up the man-down score.
One of the night's most memorable moments came just 34 seconds into the middle period, when Urick's pass to Simon created an odd-man rush. Simon skated toward the right post before leaving a perfect drop pass in the slot for Chipchase, who buried the shot past UAF senior Ian Perkins for a 3-0 lead and Chipchase's eighth goal of the season.
Chipchase scored again in the closing moments of the period. Cotnoir sent the puck around the boards and Carlson beat a UAF player in the left corner before firing a pass into the slot for Chipchase, who knocked home the easy goal.
Kirwan tipped in a third-period shot from the top of the left circle by Sjon Wynia to put UAF on the board and give Kirwan his eighth goal of the season (9:06).
Seyferth's shot form the left point set up the fifth Irish goal, with Van Arkel sliding the rebound to Dusbabek for the second Irish power-play goal of the night and Dusbabek's third goal of the season (11:53). Three minutes later, Chipchase sent a shot from the left circle and Van Arkel knocked home the rebound for his seventh goal of the campaign (15:06).
NOTES: After failing to score on its first 33 shots vs. Miami on Jan. 9, Notre Dame has scored in seven straight periods (including two goals in each period of the UAF series) Urick's goal was just the second Irish SHG of the season Notre Dame's top four defensemen-Clark (8), Fraser (3), Cotnoir (2) and junior Nathan Borega (8)-have combined to miss 21 games this season the Irish are 11-2-1 in their last 14 home games (64-25 scoring edge, eight wins by three-plus goals) since returning to CCHA action, Notre Dame has outshot the opposition 147-93 in the last four games (the Irish are 10-3-2 this season when outshooting the opposition) the surging Irish penalty-killing unit has stopped 17 of 18 opponent power plays in the last four games Notre Dame owns a .333 power-play pct. (10-for-30) in its last five games vs. UAF and is 5-1-0 vs. UAF in the last six games of the series (29-11 scoring edge) Urick has 10 goals and six assists in 11 career games vs. UAF Cotnoir's assist gives him 79 career points (24G-55A), tying him with Matt Osiecki (21-58, 1990-94) for 10th on the Irish all-time scoring list for defensmen, just one behind Steve Curry (19-61, 1970-74) Chipchase has scored his nine goals on just 31 shots this season, for a team-best .290 shooting pct. (he also owns a .233 career shooting pct., 14-for-60).
ALASKA FAIRBANKS (6-16-0, 5-15-0 CCHA) 0 0 1 - 1 #8 NOTRE DAME (14-6-2, 11-5-1 CCHA) 2 2 2 - 61st: ND 1. Simon 11 (Dusbabek), 4-3 PP, 6:31; ND 2. Urick 13 (Henning), SH, 7:58.
2nd: ND 3. Chipchase 8 (Simon, Urick) 0:34; ND 4. Chipchase 9 (Carlson, Cotnoir), 4-4, 18:40.
3rd: UAF 1. Kirwan 8 (Wynia, Zinger) 9:06; ND 5. Dusbabek 3 (Van Arkel, Seyferth), PP, 11:53; ND 6. Van Arkel 7 (Chipchase) 15:06.
SHOTS: UAF 5-10-7/22; ND 14-9-12/35.
SAVES: UAF (Perkins) 12-7-10/29, ND (Karr) 5-10-6/21.
POWER PLAY: UAF 0-for-3, ND 2-for-7.
PENALTIES: UAF 9 for 18:00, ND 5 for 21:00.