Feb. 28, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. - Freshman goaltender David Brown continued his red-hot rookie season on Saturday night as he made 39 saves to lead the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a 5-2 win over the fourth-ranked Michigan Wolverines in front of a second consecutive sellout crowd at the Joyce Center.
The win gave Notre Dame its first weekend home sweep of Michigan since March 5-6, 1982, a period of almost 22 years. Coupled with last season's win at Yost Arena, the Irish have now won three-in-a-row versus the Wolverines, something that hasn't been done by the Irish since the two wins in 1982 and a season-opening win at the start of the 1982-83 season.
Notre Dame improves to 17-11-4 overall and 13-10-3 in the CCHA, good for 29 points and a tie for fifth place with Alaska Fairbanks. The Irish have two games in hand on the Nanooks. Michigan falls to 23-10-1 on the year and remains in first place in the CCHA with an 18-7-1 record, two points ahead of the Miami RedHawks.
After dropping the series opener on Friday along with their All-American goaltender Al Montoya, Michigan came out flying in Saturday's tilt just as the Irish expected and did their best to keep the pressure off sophomore goaltender Noah Ruden. The Wolverines outshot the Irish 12-3 in the first period on the way to a 40-16 shot advantage on the night, but trailed 1-0.
The Irish got on the board first on a goal by Mike Walsh who chased down a loose puck in the near the left wing circle, spun and fired a shot on Ruden that appeared to go in off the Michigan goaltender's stick at 8:44 for his 11th goal of the season.
Jeff Tambellini tied the game just 20 seconds into the second stanza when he fired a shot from the slot that eluded Brown in the Irish goal. The goal was Tambellini's 11th of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Andrew Ebbett gave Michigan its only lead of the weekend at 2:19 when he followed a shot by Jason Ryznar and tucked it past Brown off a goalmouth scramble for his seventh of the season and a 2-1 Wolverine lead. Following the goal, Notre Dame called a timeout to settle things down.
"Getting out of the first period with a 1-0 lead was so important," said Irish head coach Dave Poulin.
"Michigan really rallied around their goaltender. They came at us and really played it tough in their zone. They got us out of our game in the second period and got the two goals, so we took the timeout to settle things down."
The Wolverines continued their onslaught as they fired 18 shots in the second stanza at Brown, but the freshman was able to hold the fort.
"Our defense really did a great job tonight. We knew coming in that they were going to come at us hard and we wanted to prove that Friday's win wasn't a fluke. They got a lot of shots, but the defense let me see them and then took care of the rebounds."
When the momentum finally changed for the Irish it did so quickly as they scored twice in a 17-second span and easily could have had two more goals.
Senior Neil Komadoski tied the game with a rocket from the left point that he blew by Ruden on his stick side at 15:43 for his fifth goal of the season.
T.J. Jindra beat the Michigan defense to a puck in the left wing corner and found Matt Amado charging down the right side. Amado whipped a shot past Ruden for his fourth of the season at 16:00 and the Irish were back on top 3-2.
"We got back to playing our game late in the second period," said Poulin.
"Neil's (Komadoski) goal really changed the momentum and then Matt Amado and T.J. Jindra combined for a great goal. It was great to see Matt get on the board. He's so talented offensively and we've been missing that element from the lineup."
Rob Globke added an insurance goal at 7:10 of the third period for his 17th goal of the year to make it 4-2. Michigan pulled their goaltender with over three minutes left in favor of a sixth attacker only to see the Irish foil the plan 38 seconds later when Cory McLean worked a loose puck free along the right wing boards and skated down the ice, scoring from outside the Wolverine blue line into an empty net for the 5-2 win.
Notre Dame's penalty killing was a key to the game as the Irish killed off all six Michigan power plays.
"Our penalty killers were phenomenal this weekend. T.J. (Jindra) and Jason (Paige) along with Mike Bartlett are all freshmen and are our first three penalty killers and they just kept blocking shots and getting the puck out of the zone."
While the wins were big for the Irish, they still have two more games to take care of leading into the CCHA playoffs when they travel to Lake Superior next weekend.
"The players can enjoy this one tonight, but they know that next Friday is bigger than tonight. We've already talked about it what we have to do to prepare for next weekend," said Poulin.
** The Irish win improved the home-unbeaten streak to 14 games as the Irish are now 12-0-2 in their last 14 games at the Joyce Center. The last loss came on Oct. 17 to Bowling Green. For the year, Notre Dame is 12-1-2 at home. The 12 wins are the most for the Irish at home since going 12-3-3 during the 1998-99 season.
** Six seniors played their final regular-season games at the Joyce Center. The group includes defensemen T.J. Mathieson, Tom Galvin, Brett Lebda and Neil Komadoski. They are joined by forwards Rob Globke and Aaron Gill. The six have played a major role in getting the program where it is today. "The seniors led the fight song tonight around the Notre Dame logo in the locker room following the game. We talked about what they have meant to this program the last four years. This is the class that took the program to the next level - getting to Joe Louis Arena. They've done a great job this season in getting us to where we are today," said Poulin.
** David Brown was undefeated in the month of February, going 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a .952 save percentage. In his last nine games, Brown has given up just 12 goals and is 7-1-1. Since Jan. 10, he has played 543:06 minutes and stopped 271 of 283 shots. He has a goals-against average of 1.33 and a save percentage of .958.
Michigan (23-10-1/18-7-1) 0 2 0 - 2
Notre Dame (17-11-4/13-10-3) 1 2 2 - 5
Penalties: UM: 4 for 8 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Second Period: UM: Jeff Tambellini 11 (Dwight Helminen, Eric Werner), 00:20; UM: Andrew Ebbetts 7 (Jason Ryznar), 2:19; ND: Neil Komadoski 5 (Tom Galvin, Michael Bartlett), 15:43; ND: Matt Amado 4 (T.J. Jindra), 16:00.
Penalties: UM: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: UM: 3 for 14 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Michigan 12 - 18 - 11 - 41
Notre Dame 3 - 5 - 8 - 16
UM - Noah Ruden (59:22) 2 - 3 - 6 - 11
ND - David Brown (60:00) 12 - 16 - 11 - 39
Power Plays: UM: 0 for 6; ND: 1 for 5
Attendance: 2,763 (sellout)