|Senior center Lyle Andrusiak netted the game-winner. (file photo)|
Puck Season Starts With 5-1 Win Over Western Ontario
Irish Seal Game in Final Minutes Despite 55-15 Shot Advantage
Notre Dame, Ind.- The University of Notre Dame hockey team scored just once on its first 48 shots of the game before erupting for four goals on its final seven attempts--including three in the final minute--to post an emotionally-charged 5-1 victory Friday over visiting Western Ontario in the season opener for the Irish, at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.
Senior center Lyle Andrusiak (Foam Lake, Sask.) netted the game-winner with 5:18 remaining in the third period before an empty-netter from junior right wing Brian Urick (Minnetonka, Minn.) with 58 seconds to play ignited a flurry of three Irish goals in a span of 44 seconds.
A five-minute major slashing penalty on UWO's Tim Swartz led to a power-play goal for freshman left wing Matt Van Arkel (Richton Park, Ill.) with 25 seconds to play and rookie defenseman Mark Eaton (Wilmington, Del.) added a man-up goal of his own just 11 seconds later to cap a somewhat deceiving four-goal margin that nonetheless was befitting of Notre Dame's 55-15 shot advantage.
Notre Dame's 55 shots are in most in the last 72 games, stretching back to a forgettable 61-shot game against Guelph in the 1995-96 season opener, a game won by the Griffins 2-1 in overtime (Guelph had just 21 shots).
Western Ontario (1-2-1)--which played to a 1-1 tie at Western Michigan on Thursday behind C.J. Denomme's 43 saves--received another stellar effort from its goaltender, as sophomore Mike Hall stopped Notre Dame's first 21 shots of the game and 48 of the first 49 en route to a 50-save night.
Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters included six freshmen, six sophomores, four juniors and two seniors.
The Irish were first to find the net, on their 22nd shot of the game at 7:33 of the second period, when junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale (Marquette, Mich.) put back a rebounded shot by senior center Steve Noble (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), with sophomore right wing Joe Dusbabek (Faribault, Minn.) feeding Noble at the top of the crease with a pass from behind the net.
Dhadphale's goal is of significance for the Irish, as he scored a team-best 13 goals as a freshman before struggling in 1996-97, when he scored just five times on 109 shots.
Both teams squandered two-man advantages in the second period. The Irish had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:17 midway through the period, after interference on Swartz and elbowing on Todd Bradley, but could not score despite a total of six shots on goal over the course of the two penalties.
A near-turning point in the game came minutes later. With Notre Dame junior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) in the penalty box for interference, Urick led an odd-man rush down the right side and played the puck across to the left circle for sophomore center Ben Simon, who fired wide of the left post on the shorthanded chance. Seconds later, Simon was whistled for an interference penalty of his own (11:51) but the Mustangs could not capitalize on the 55-second, two-man advantage, despite five shots over the course of the two penalties.
With the third-period clock ticking under five minutes, Andrusiak won a left-circle faceoff in the UWO end, with Van Arkel gathering in the puck near the blueline and sending it into the left corner. Sophomore right wing Troy Bagne (Moorhead, Minn.), who totaled just six points as a freshman, then dug the puck out of the corner and fired a pass into the crease. Andrusiak was waiting near the left post and one-timed a shot into the lower right corner for what proved to be the game-winner (14:42).
The Mustangs pulled Hall with 2:14 left in the third but Urick chased down an outlet from Simon near the right circle and wristed a shot home for the 3-1 lead (19:02). Swartz then was called for interference and Dhadphale moved the puck to Noble, who fed Van Arkel on the left side of the crease. Van Arkel quickly poked the puck into the net before high-stepping to the excitement of his first goal with the Irish.
Before the Irish fans could blink, Cotnoir had slid a pass to his fellow defenseman Eaton, who knocked home Notre Dame's fifth goal of the game.
Senior goaltender Matt Eisler (West Milford, N.J.) had to make just 14 saves while helping the Irish defense stop all six UWO power-play opportunities.
Notre Dame's season-opening forward lines were as follows: Dhadphale-Noble-Dusbabek; Van Arkel-Andrusiak-Bagne; freshman Jay Kopischke-junior Craig Hagkull-freshman Chad Chipchase; freshman Dan Carlson-Simon-Urick.
The defensive pairings included Eaton and sophomore Nathan Borega, sophomore Tyson Fraser and Cotnoir, and freshman Ryan Clark and sophomore Sean Molina.
Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Poulin: "I am very, very pleased with the way we played tonight. We attacked. We were aggressive all over the ice. There was nothing but postives tonight. The goals at the end were rewarding and significant because those are the goals that we didn't get last year."
"Lyle Andrusiak was key tonight, not only for scoring the game-winning goal, but he also won a couple of important face-offs down in our end when we were up 2-1. Matt Van Arkel also played well tonight. He set up the game-winning goal, and then scored at the end. Basically everyone was a standout. Usually, a coach will shorten the bench throughout the game, but tonight there was no need to because everyone played well and they all demanded time on the ice."
"Compared to last year our team was deeper, stronger and they were better overall."
"We need to work on the little things such as puck protection and offensive focus."Game Statistics