Nov. 29, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. - Junior left wing Ryan Thang picked the right time to find the goal scoring touch on Saturday night as the veteran sniper scored the game-tying goal in regulation to help Notre Dame to a 3-3 tie with the Western Michigan Broncos. He then scored the tying goal in the shootout to even the score 1-1 in the third round before linemate Erik Condra won the shootout with a goal in the fifth round to give the Irish a 2-1 shootout win.
The Irish scored a pair of first period goals by Christian Hanson and Billy Maday to take a 2-0 lead in the game before the Broncos got three unanswered goals from Patrick Galivan, Tyler Ludwig and Max Campbell to take a 3-2 lead after two periods. Thang would get the lone third-period goal to send the game to overtime.
The shootout win improves Notre Dame to 10-3-2 overall and 6-2-2-2 in the CCHA, good for 16 points in the standings and second place in the league standings. The Irish are now unbeaten in their last 10 games (8-0-2) and finish the month of November with a 7-0-2 mark. Western Michigan falls to 2-8-4 on the year and 1-5-4-1 in the CCHA, good for seven points in the standings.
Despite the shootout victory, Irish head coach Jeff Jackson was not happy with his team's play on the night.
"They say a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey," said Jackson following the game. "I wasn't happy with the way we played in the first period but we still had a 2-0 lead. We weren't sharp, we were flat and the 2-0 lead just extended our lethargy. Our turnovers made things easy for Western and tough for our defensemen and goaltenders."
Notre Dame's hottest scorers were back at it on Saturday as Hanson and Maday staked the Irish to a 2-0 lead by the 10:31 mark of the first period.
The Irish broke out of their own zone with Christiaan Minella carrying the puck down the left side two-on-one with Hanson. Minella feathered a nice backhand pass behind the Western defenseman to Hanson in front of the net. The senior center pulled deked Bronco goaltender Jerry Kuhn to the ice as he went from forehand to backhand and slid the puck into an open goal for his ninth of the season at 7:52. Garrett Regan also picked up an assist on the goal.
The lead would go to 2-0 as Maday tied Hanson for the goal lead with his ninth of the year, this one on the power play at 10:31.
Calle Ridderwall moved the puck from the right boards to Kevin Deeth in the right corner and then moved to the net. While the defense moved to Ridderwall, Maday moved in from the left point to the left side of the crease. Deeth fired a pass across the goal mouth to Maday who had his first shot stopped by Kuhn with a pad save, but he fired the rebound home to give the Irish the two-goal lead. The goal extended Maday's goal-scoring streak to five straight games.
That lead didn't last long as Galivan made it a 2-1 game at 11:51. He took a pass from Campbell at center ice and raced down the right wing boards, snapping a shot over Irish starter Tom O'Brien's blocker and into the left corner of the net for his fourth of the season. Derek Roehl also picked up an assist on the play.
For O'Brien, it was just the second start of his career and he finished the first period with five saves.
In the second period, Western Michigan would tie the game on a power-play goal of their own at 3:15. Cam Weston won a face off in the left circle to Greg Squires who moved the puck back to Ludwig at the left point. Ludwig carried it to the middle and snapped off a long shot from the point that got by O'Brien to tie the game at 2-2. The goal was Ludwig's second of the season. Jackson pulled O'Brien at that point in favor of Jordan Pearce.
"We weren't very good defensively in our own zone," said Jackson. "Give Western credit. They played with a lot of energy and emotion after they got the tying goal. They really elevated their play once they got the momentum."
The Broncos got the go-ahead-goal at 11:06 with Campbell picking up his fifth of the season.
The Irish turned the puck behind their net where Galivan moved it to Squires behind the goal. Squires moved to the left wing side and found Campbell moving down the slot. He one-timed a low shot past Pearce to give the Broncos their first lead of the weekend at 3-2.
The scoreboard would stay that way until Thang evened the score at 6:27 of the third period. With the Irish on the power play, Ben Ryan moved the puck down the slot and slid it ahead to Thang coming through the right circle. The junior wasted little time, snapping a shot over Kuhn to tie the game at 3-3. The goal was Thang's fifth of the season.
"It felt good to finally score one," said Thang. "It's been a slow start to the season, the bounces just haven't been going our way. It was great to be able to contribute.
The teams finished regulation tied and in overtime, the Irish would get the lone three shots but could not score. Both teams picked up one point but they would go to a shootout to determine the extra point in CCHA play.
Thang would get to add to his heroics in the shootout. After Maday and Ridderwall were stopped and Campbell scored for the Broncos, Thang had Notre Dame's third and final regulation chance and he came through, beating Kuhn to tie the shootout 1-1. Pearce then stopped Ludwig to send things to sudden death. Neither Ryan or Galivan would score in the fourth round, but Condra beat Kuhn in the fifth round and when Pearce stopped Kevin Connauton with the final Bronco shot, the Irish had the 2-1 shootout victory.
"I guess tonight was my night," said Thang. "That's the thing with this team, it's been someone different every night. It's a team effort. Pearce and O'Brien played great tonight and we didn't help them out too much back there. It's been a four-line effort, everyone has played well so far this season."
On the night, the Irish out shot Western Michigan by a 38-28 margin. O'Brien made six saves in 23:15 while Pearce had 19 stops in 41:25. Kuhn had 35 saves on the night for the Broncos.
Notre Dame takes to the road for three of their final four games before the Christmas holidays. The Irish travel to Big Rapids, Mich., next weekend, Dec. 5-6 to face the Ferris State Bulldogs in a pair of games.
** IRISH NOTES **
The shootout was the second this season for the Irish. On Nov. 14, they won a home shootout, 2-1, versus Lake Superior State in four rounds.
The last time the Irish went 10 games without a loss was an 8-0-2 run between 11/6/87 and 12/4/87. The next longest unbeaten streak for Notre Dame is 13 (10-0-3) and occurred between 12/11/68 and 1/20/69.
With two power-play goals in five chances on Saturday, the Irish have now scored 12 power-play goals in 21 chances (57.1%) in their last three games.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 OT - F Western Michigan (2-8-4/1-5-4-1) 1 2 0 0 - 3 #2/#2 Notre Dame (10-3-2/6-2-2-2) 2 0 1 0 - 3
Notre Dame wins shootout, 2-1 (five rounds)
Scoring First Period: ND: Christian Hanson 9 (Christiaan Minella, Garrett Regan), 7:52; ND: Billy Maday 9 (Kevin Deeth, Calle Ridderwall), PPG, 10:31; WMU: Patrick Galivan 4 (Max Campbell, Derek Roehl), 11:51.
Penalties: WMU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: WMU: Tyler Ludwig 2 (Greg Squires, Cam Watson), PPG, 3:15; WMU: Campbell 5 (Squires, Galivan), 11:06.
Penalties: WMU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: WMU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Overtime: No Scoring.
Penalties: WMU: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shootout: Notre Dame wins shootout, 2-1.
ND: Billy Maday (save); WMU: Derek Roehl (save).
ND: Calle Ridderwall (miss); WMU: Max Campbell (goal).
ND: Ryan Thang (goal); WMU: Tyler Ludwig (save).
ND: Ben Ryan (save); WMU: Patrick Galivan (miss).
ND: Erik Condra (goal); WMU: Kevin Connauton (save).
Shots On Goal: Western Michigan 6 - 15 - 7 - 0 - 28 Notre Dame 14 - 11 - 10 - 3 - 38
Goaltender Saves: WMU - Jerry Kuhn (65:00) 12 - 11 - 9 - 3 - 35 ND - Tommy O'Brien (23:15) 5 - 1 - x - x - 6 Jordan Pearce (41:25) x - 12 - 7 - 0 - 19
Power Plays: WMU: 1 for 4 ND: 2 for 5