March 16, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. - The Notre Dame offense has struggled in recent weeks, battling to score a couple goals per game. With their backs to the wall in game two of the best-of-three series versus Ferris State, the Irish found the answer - they turned their defense loose.
With freshman defenseman Ian Cole scoring two goals and adding an assist for the first three-point game of his career and sophomore Kyle Lawson getting a goal and three assists, Notre Dame's defensemen had nine points in the game to lead the Irish to a 6-3 win to even the series at one game each. The third and deciding game will be played on Sunday at the Joyce Center with game time set for 7:05 p.m. Good seats remain for this game and will be available at und.com until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets will go on sale at the Joyce Center Gate 3 ticket window beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday evening.
The Irish also got goals from Calle Ridderwall, Erik Condra and Ben Ryan in the game. The Bulldogs scored three power-play goals on the night with Mike Fillinger, Corey Couturier and Zach Redmond scoring with the man advantage.
The win gives Notre Dame a 23-13-4 overall record while Ferris State falls to 18-15-5 for the year. The Bulldogs own a 3-2-1 mark in six games to date against the Irish.
"We've done so many drills with our defense activating," said head coach Jeff Jackson who recorded his 250th career win in the game.
"Tonight was the first time in a while we've had more than just Danny VeNard doing it. A lot of our guys don't jump up into the rush when they have an opportunity and tonight they did and that was the difference. That third goal was beautiful and it was a direct result of defensemen jumping into the rush."
Lawson got the defense started by jumping into the play on Notre Dame's first goal as he helped set up Ridderwall's third goal of the season.
Mark Van Guilder and Ridderwall carried the puck into the Ferris State zone versus two Bulldog defenders. Van Guilder drove to the net as Lawson jumped into the play. Van Guilder's shot was stopped by goaltender Mitch O'Keefe with Lawson getting to the rebound. Instead of shooting, he dropped it into the front of the net where Ridderwall was all alone. He pulled the puck to his backhand and flipped it over O'Keefe to give the Irish the lead at 9:53.
The Irish made it 2-0 at 7:15 of the second period when Cole scored his first of the night to cap a 3-on-2 rush with Lawson and Condra.
Condra carried the puck into the Ferris State zone and fed the puck to Lawson in the right circle. He pulled the defenseman towards him and slid the puck to Cole coming down the slot.. He one-timed a shot from between the hashmarks that beat O'Keefe for his fifth goal of the season.
The Bulldogs got back in the game with their first power-play goal of the night at 11:11 with Fillinger getting his ninth of the season off assists from Adam Miller and O'Keefe.
Ferris State tied the game at 13:29 on another power-play goal that appeared to be directed by Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce with a high stick.
Off a face off in the right wing circle, Miller won the draw back to Redmond at the right point. He moved it to Scott Wietecha at the center point. He fired a shot on goal that was deflected in the air in front of Pearce. Couturier, who was standing to the left of Pearce, knocked the puck out of the air over Pearce's right shoulder and into the goal. Referee Keith Sergott reviewed the goal and it stood, giving Couturier his fifth of the season.
Notre Dame would retake the lead for good at 16:54 of the second with Cole getting his second goal of the night and sixth of the year. Again it was Condra and Lawson who set up the freshman blueliner with Condra making the drop pass to Cole at the top of the right circle where he slapped the puck past O'Keefe for a 3-2 Notre Dame lead after two periods.
The Irish were able to put the game away in the third period with a pair of power-play goals of their own. Ryan Thang set up Condra in front at 4:50 for his 15th of the season and defenseman Brett Blatchford combined with Ryan on a pretty passing play at 13:28 for his 10th of the season to give Notre Dame a 5-2 lead.
The Bulldogs got back in it with their third power-play goal at 16:45. With Ferris State skating 4-on-3, Redmond knocked down a Notre Dame clearing attempt at the right point. He skated towards the slot, then to the left board before turning around and slapping a shot from the left circle past Pearce for his sixth of the year.
Bob Daniels then pulled his goaltender while the Bulldogs were on the power play with just over three minutes left. Thang was able to break up a Ferris rush on the right side and moved the puck to Lawson in the neutral zone. Lawson carried just over the Bulldogs' blue line and slid the puck into the empty net to close out the scoring at 18:24 with his fourth of the year.
On the night, the Irish out shot Ferris State by a 36-25 with O'Keefe making 30 saves. Pearce had 22 saves on the night as he picked up his 19th win of the season.
The Bulldogs converted on 3-of-7 power-play chances while Notre Dame was 2-for-10. In the game the two teams combined for 33 penalties and 74 minutes.
"I expect Ferris to have a lot left. They are a tough, gritty hockey team,"said Jackson.
"I expect a similar game tomorrow night. They're a well-coached team. I think both teams will be more disciplined tomorrow. You can play with emotion and not cross over that line. We need to make sure we do that. You're playing three games in three nights and certain guys are logging way too much ice time. That will have an impact."
The winner of Sunday's third game will advance to Joe Louis Arena on Friday, March 21. Michigan and Miami have already advanced with Michigan State and Northern Michigan playing their third game on Sunday night.
** Saturday's win was the 250th of Jeff Jackson's nine-year college coaching career. He is now 250-91-36 in his career for a .711 winning percentage, tops among active Division I head coaches.
** Kyle Lawson's four-point game and three-assist night were career bests for the sophomore defenseman. The four-point game was the first for the Irish since Dec. 8 when Dan Kissel had four points (2g, 2a) at Princeton.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F Ferris State (18-15-5) 0 2 1 - 3 #12/#12 Notre Dame (23-13-4) 1 2 3 - 6