Jan. 31, 2010
Notre Dame, Ind. - Some teams just like playing with their backs to the wall. For Notre Dame that might just be what the doctor ordered on Saturday night at the Joyce Center as the Irish scored three unanswered goals through the first period and held off the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks late rally for a 3-2 win in front of a sold out Joyce Center crowd of 2,857.
After coming out flat on Friday night in a 5-3 loss to the Mavericks, Notre Dame came out buzzing early in the game, getting goals from Calle Ridderwall, Nick Larson and Sean Lorenz to build a 3-0 lead by the 8:25 mark of the second period.
From there, they turned things over to freshman goaltender Mike Johnson who turned away 32-of-34 shots on the night, giving up third-period goals to Terry Broadhurst and Rich Purslow (extra attacker goal) for the 3-2 win.
After dropping to a tie for seventh in the CCHA with Friday's loss, the Irish jumped into a tie for fourth place with the victory on Saturday. The loss dropped Nebraska-Omaha from sixth to a tie for eighth as fourth place and ninth place in the conference are now separated by just two points.
Notre Dame is now 12-11-7 for the year and 8-8-6-2 in the CCHA, good for 32 points to tie the Irish with Lake Superior State for fourth place. Just one point behind with 31 in sixth place is Michigan and Alaska while Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State are tied for eighth with 30 points. The Lakers, Wolverines and Buckeyes all have two games in hand on the Irish, Nanooks and Mavericks. Nebraska-Omaha is 13-12-5 overall and 9-11-2-1 in conference play.
The Irish, playing with six players sidelined with injuries, jumped out to an early first-period lead as Ridderwall picked up his team-best 17th goal of the year at 6:45 of the stanza off a great feed from freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri.
Kevin Deeth started the play in the Irish zone near the blue line when he redirected a pass to Palmieri in the neutral zone. Palmieri passed ahead to Ridderwall at the Mavericks' blue line and the speedy Swede dropped it back to Palmieri. As Ridderwall got around the UNO defense, Palmieri slid the puck back to him and he ripped a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle past Maverick goaltender John Faulkner for a 1-0 Notre Dame lead.
The lead would go to 2-0 less than four minutes later when the Irish converted on a power-play chance at 10:30. Ryan Guentzel moved the puck from below the goal line to the left of Faulkner to Ryan Thang on the half wall. Thang centered a pass to freshman Nick Larson who was camped in the slot. The big left winger hammered a one-timer up under the cross bar past Faulkner for his sixth goal of the season.
Notre Dame took the two-goal lead into the intermission having out shot Nebraska-Omaha, 11-7, in the opening period.
The Irish lead would go to 3-0 at 8:25 when Lorenz scored from a bad angle, deep inside the Maverick offensive zone for his second goal of the season.
Dan Kissel carried the puck on goal with Faulkner making the stop. Guentzel grabbed the rebound and left if for Lorenz as he moved down the right boards. The sophomore defenseman, just looking to get the puck on net, drilled a shot inside the right post and under the cross bar to give Notre Dame a three-goal lead.
Through two periods, Nebraska-Omaha had peppered Johnson in the Irish goal with 18 shots and the freshman held them off the scoreboard. The Mavericks finally broke up Johnson's shutout bid when Terry Broadhurst scored from in front at the 14:11 mark with John Kemp and Alex Hudson picking up assists. The goal was Broadhurst's fifth of the season.
Down by two goals, Nebraska-Omaha pulled its goaltender with 2:30 left in the game and poured on the attack against Johnson and the Irish, taking a total of 16 shots in the period.
They finally broke through with 26 seconds left and playing with an extra attacker when defenseman Larry Olimb kept a Notre Dame clearing attempt in at the right boards near the blue line. Olimb got the puck in front of the net to Rich Purslow who waitend until Johnson went down before sticking a shot over Johnson's glove hand for his 11th goal of the year to make it 3-2.
The Irish held on over the final 26 seconds to take the victory. Notre Dame was out shot by Nebraska-Omaha, 34-26, in the game with Johnson making 32 stops to Faulkner's 23. The Irish were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Mavericks were 0-for-5.
Notre Dame's win also was highlighted by the team's first-ever "Give Them The Jersey Off Their Backs," promotion as the Irish auctioned off special commemorative jerseys that were worn just twice in both games of the Nebraska-Omaha series with the proceeds going to the Wounded Warriors Project. The online auction netted $16,604.60 for 28 jerseys. The Irish also had several benefactors, including a Notre Dame hockey alum, who combined to add $25,000 in matching fund for a total of $41,604.60 that will go to the Wounded Warrior Project that provides programs and services designed to ease the burdens of these heroes and their families, aid in the recovery process, and smooth the transition back to civilian life.
Senior alternate captain, Kevin Deeth, who spearheaded the auction had the highest selling jersey as his was auctioned off for $1,575.00.
The Irish return to action on Feb. 5-6 when they travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a pair of games against the Western Michigan Broncos. Game time both nights is 7:35 p.m. Notre Dame plays five of its last six games of the regular season on the road.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F Nebraska-Omaha (13-12-5/9-11-2-1) 0 0 2 - 2 Notre Dame (12-11-7/8-8-6-2) 2 1 0 - 3Scoring
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Penalties: UNO: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 4 for 8 minutes.
Third Period: UNO: Terry Broadhurst 5 (John Kemp, Alex Hudson), 14:11; ND: Rich Purslow 11 (Eric Olimb), EX, 19:34.
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Nebraska-Omaha 7 - 11 - 16 - 34 Notre Dame 11 - 8 - 7 - 26
-- ND --