Nov. 2, 2008
Marquette, Mich. - What a difference a week makes. After dropping a pair of games one week ago at the Joyce Center to the Miami RedHawks, Notre Dame was looking to find its offensive attack.
The Irish found it in Michigan's Upper Peninsula over the weekend as they rolled to a 4-2 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats at the Berry Events Center. The win gave the Irish a series sweep of the Wildcats and improved them to 4-3-0 overall and 2-2-0-0 in the CCHA.
Notre Dame got power-play goals from Kyle Lawson and Billy Maday, a sixth attacker goal from Ian Cole and an even-strength marker from Calle Ridderwall to build a 4-0 lead late in the second period. Northern Michigan would get tallies from Ray Kaunisto and Phil Fox but it wasn't enough as Jordan Pearce turned in his second strong game of the weekend, making 18 saves in the win.
The loss for the Wildcats was their third in a row and dropped them to 2-5-1 overall and 1-4-1-0 in the CCHA.
"I'm pleasantly surprised to come out of here with two wins because I know how good of a team Northern is," said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.
"This was good motivation for us. We needed to show we were alive after last week's methodical, uncreative games. This weekend we showed a lot more patience and poise with the puck and it allowed us to generate more offense."
Notre Dame out shot the Wildcats, 26-20, in the game while going 2-for-5 on the power play while blanking the Wildcats on their five chances.
The Irish got the scoring started, taking a 1-0 lead at 5:14 of the first period on a power-play goal by Lawson.
Off a face off to the right of Wildcat goaltender Bill Stewart, center Ben Ryan was waived out of the circle with Ryan Thang stepping in. Thang pushed the puck toward the slot where Lawson was driving from the right point. The junior defenseman beat the Northern defenseman to the puck and jammed it past Stewart for his second goal of the season.
The Irish would run off three consecutive goals in the second stanza on the way to a 4-0 lead. The Notre Dame offense got one on the power play, one on a delayed penalty and one at even strength.
Maday made it 2-0 at 6:34 on the power play. The freshman right wing moved the puck to defenseman Brett Blatchford who flipped a shot on goal that was deflected by Christian Hanson. Stewart could not control the rebound and Maday was there to bang home the loose puck for his third goal of the year.
The lead would go to 3-0 with a delayed penalty called on the Wildcats and Jordan Pearce off for an extra attacker when Cole hammered a shot past Stewart from the top of the left circle with assists going to Lawson and Hanson at 11:32 for Cole's third of the season.
Ridderwall gave the Irish a 4-0 lead with his first goal of the season at 15:31. This time it was Maday finding the sophomore Swede cutting in front of the goal and feeding him with a pass that Ridderwall deflected over Stewart for the goal. Blatchford also picked up an assist, his second game of the weekend with two assists.
Northern Michigan broke through on Pearce with 14 seconds left in the period to cut the Irish lead to 4-1. After forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, Matt Butcher carried the puck in on a two-on-one with Kaunisto. Pearce stopped his shot, but the 6-4, Kaunisto lifted the rebound over Pearce for his third goal of the season at 19:46. In the third, the Wildcats would get the only goal, netting their second of the night at 14:58. With sustained pressure on Pearce, Fox banged in the rebound of a shot by Andrew Cherniwchan for his second goal of the season.
Special teams were big for the Irish on the weekend as they went 5-for-14 with the power play and scored once on a delayed penalty. Notre Dame also killed off all 12 Northern Michigan man advantages on the weekend.
"After our 0-for-16 weekend against Miami, we worked on our power play every day this past week," said Jackson.
"I think we found some chemistry this week, and that's what a power play is - the chemistry of people willing to accept roles and putting defensemen in front of the net. You have to find people willing to do what to be successful."
The Irish will put their success to the test next weekend as they continue their four-game road trip. First stop will be Chestnut Hill, Mass., next Friday night when Notre Dame gets a rematch of the 2008 NCAA title game when they face the Boston College Eagles in a 7:05 p.m. game. From there, it's on to Providence, R.I., to face Providence College on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7:05 p.m.
*** IRISH NOTES ***
* Notre Dame's sweep at Northern Michigan was the first-ever for the Irish against the Wildcats in Marquette, Mich. They have now won three straight games, dating back to last season, at the Berry Events Center.
* The Irish are 9-for-30 on the power play (30.0%) in their four wins this season and 0-for-24 with the man advantage in the three losses.
* After seven games this season, defenseman Ian Cole is Notre Dame's leading scorer with three goals and four assists for seven points. Cole didn't get his seventh point last season until the 20th game (Dec. 8) and didn't score his third goal until his 26th game on Jan. 26.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F #13/#13 Notre Dame (4-3-0/3-2-0-0) 1 3 0 - 4 Northern Michigan (2-5-1/1-4-1-0) 0 1 1 - 2Scoring First Period: ND: Kyle Lawson 2 (Ryan Thang), PPG, 5:14.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; NMU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: ND: Billy Maday 3 (Christian Hanson, Brett Blatchford), PPG, 6:34; ND: Ian Cole 3 (Lawson, Hanson), EX, 11:32; ND: Calle Ridderwall 1 (Maday, Blatchford), 15:31; NMU: Ray Kaunisto 3 (Matt Butcher, Mike Maltese), 19:46.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; NMU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: NMU: Phil Fox 2 (Andrew Cherniwchan, Justin Florek), 14:58.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; NMU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 9 - 12 - 5 - 26 Northern Michigan 4 - 9 - 7 - 20
Goaltender Saves: ND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 4 - 8 - 6 - 18 NMU - Bill Stewart (59:04) 8 - 9 - 5 - 22
Power Plays: ND: 2 for 5 NMU: 0 for 5