Oct. 30, 2005
Notre Dame, Ind. - Both the Notre Dame hockey team and freshman goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) got huge monkeys off their back Saturday night at the Joyce Center where the Irish picked up their first win of the season, a 2-0 shutout of the Princeton Tigers.
For the team, the victory snapped a 22-game winless skid (0-20-2) that started last January with a loss at Lake Superior. The last time the Irish tasted victory came on Jan. 2, 2005, a 2-1 win over Rensselaer at the Joyce Center. For Pearce, making just his second career start, the shutout was his first in over three years.
The freshman goaltender stopped all 27 Princeton shots he faced, including six on a early second period five-on-three and the Irish got all the scoring they'd need in the second period on goals by Garrett Regan (Fr., Hastings, Minn.) and Mark Van Guilder (So., Roseville, Minn.) for the 2-0 win. Pearce's shutout in just his second start, equals David Brown's (Jr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) mark set in his freshman year for the earliest shutout in a career as he recorded his first of four in 2003-04 in his second start, a 3-0 win at Bowling Green. Pearce's shutout was also the first for Notre Dame since a Brown shutout on Jan. 10, 2004, a 3-0 blanking of Bowling Green at the Joyce Center.
For head coach Jeff Jackson and his team, the win was the most important.
"It was a great win after last night's game. The kids really responded tonight," said Jackson.
"We had to get through this streak. It still stuck around from last year. It has lingered, hung over them. I'm glad we got it out of the way."
The Irish coach was also happy with the play of his rookie netminder.
"A goalie has to stand tall in goal, especially when you get down on the penalty kill. Jordan did a great job tonight. He made the saves he had to make all night and then came up with some big ones on the five-on-three," said Jackson.
In the first period, both goaltenders stood tall as Pearce and Princeton's Eric Leroux each stopped 13 shots for a scoreless first period.
The second period started out roughly for the Irish as Noah Babin (Jr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Erik Condra (Fr., Livonia, Mich.) were whistled off for penalties at 1:22 and 1:34, giving the Tigers a two-man advantage for one minute and 48 seconds. Pearce and the Irish penalty killers held the fort with the former Lincoln Star making several big saves while the penalty killers were blocking shots in front.
"They (penalty killers) did a great job in front of me. They took away the shooting lanes and blocked a lot of shots," said Pearce.
"They really did a great job all night in front of me. I don't think Princeton had one good scoring chance in the third period."
Notre Dame got all the offense they would need in the second period. Regan picked up his first collegiate goal at 3:59 of the second when he jammed the rebound of a Condra shot behind Leroux for the 1-0 lead.
The lead would go to 2-0 at 16:13 on the power play with Michael Bartlett setting up Van Guilder in front for his first goal of the season. Bartlett also assisted on the first Irish goal of the night.
From there the Irish turned matters over to Pearce who kept the door slammed on the Princeton offense as he picked up his first shutout since high school.
"The win is great. Finally I got a shut out. That's a monkey off my back. I haven't had one in three years, so it feels good to get one.
On the night, the Irish out shot Princeton by a 30-27 margin. Leroux made 28 saves in goal for the Tigers. Notre Dame was 1-for-8 on the power play while Princeton was blanked, going 0-for-9.
Things don't get easier for the Irish as they return to action on Nov. 4-5 with a home-and-home series against the University of Michigan. The Wolverines started the week ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Irish play host on Nov. 4 in a 7:35 p.m. game at the Joyce Center that will be televised live nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV). On Sat., Nov. 5, Notre Dame travels to Ann Arbor for a 7:35 p.m. game at Yost Arena. That game will be televised on Comcast Local.
** Sophomore defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill.) returned to the Notre Dame lineup after missing the first three games of the season with a stress fracture suffered during the summer. Freshman center Justin White (Traverse City, Mich.) made his first career appearance for the Irish.
** Freshman right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) ran his scoring streak to three games with an assist on Regan's opening goal. He now has five assists in the first four games this season.
** Notre Dame's two-goal victory was their first first since March 12, 2004 when they defeated Western Michigan by a 4-2 score in game one of the first round of the CCHA playoffs. All five Irish wins in `04-'05 were by one goal.
** The Irish scored the first goal of the game for the first time in 2005-06. They only scored the first goal in a game 13 times (4-6-3) in 2004-05.
Summary: 1 2 3 F Princeton (1-1-0) 0 0 0 0 Notre Dame (1-3-0) 0 2 0 2
First Period: No Scoring. Penalties: P: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Third Period: No Scoring. Penalties: P: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots on Goal: Princeton: 13 - 9 - 5 - 27 Notre Dame: 13 - 12 - 5 - 30
Saves: Princeton: Eric Leroux (58:08) 13 - 10 - 5 - 28 Notre Dame: Jordan Pearce (60:00) 13 - 9 - 5 - 27
Power Plays: Princeton: 0 for 9 Notre Dame: 1 for 8