Oct. 17, 1997
Notre Dame Hockey Wins Again at St. Cloud State, 4-1, to Sweep Weekend
Noble scores twice; Dhadphale and Carlson add clinching goals; Eisler stays hot with 36 saves
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Senior center Steve Noble scored two goals in a span of less than two minutes before third-period goals from sophomore left wing Aniket Dhadphale and freshman left wing Dan Carlson helped put the game away, as the University of Notre Dame hockey team posted a 4-1 victory Saturday at St. Cloud State to sweep the weekend two-game series in front of a near-capacity crowd (6,126) at the National Hockey Center.
Notre Dame, which is off to its first 3-0 start since 1983, again received a stellar effort from senior goaltender Matt Eisler, who made 36 saves while lowering his season goals-against average to 1.65 and raising his season save percentage to .939 (77 saves, five goals against). Eisler's big night included a highlight reel behind-the-back stop on a close-range shot from George Awada, midway through the second period.
St. Cloud State (0-2-0) failed to convert on three power-play chances, as the Notre Dame defense remained unscored upon this season in power-play situations (11-for-11). SCSU backup goaltender Tim Lideen made 22 saves for the Huskies while Brian Leitza did not suit up for Saturday's game after giving up four goals and making 20 saves in Friday's overtime loss to the Irish (4-3).
The Huskies jumped ahead for the second straight night, when Sacha Molin created a chance after skating in from the right side and tucking a shot under Eisler's stick and inside the far left post (7:46). The Irish then surged ahead on Noble's pair of goals in a span of 85 seconds.
Sophomore right wing Joe Dusbabek--a native of nearby Faribault, Minn.-- initiated the first Irish goal with a pass to junior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir, who fired a slapshot from just inside the center of the blueline, with Noble deflecting the shot past Lideen (13:03) for the power-play score. Less than two minutes later, Dusbabek made the most of a 1-on-3 rush by taking on a single defender and sending a shot on net, with Noble knocking home the rebound to put the Irish ahead 2-1 (14:28) and give Dusbabek his fifth assist of the young season.
Dhadphale padded the Irish lead on an unassisted goal at the 4:49 mark of the third period, after skating in from the right and beating a SCSU defenseman before sliding the puck past Lideen.
Carlson, a native of nearby Edina, Minn., recorded his first career point with the Irish less than three minutes later, putting back a rebounded shot by sophomore center Ben Simon (7:52). Carlson took the shot from a tough angle behind the left side of the net but was able to bank the shot off Lideen for the back-breaking score.
The Irish have scored eight of their 13 goals this season in the third period, in addition to Friday's overtime goal.
NOTRE DAME COACH DAVE POULIN: "This was a big, big win. We had a good feeling right from the start, even when we fell behind 1-0. ... We played much better in terms of protecting the puck and making tape-to-tape passes. ... Noble played a good controlled game. He won the one-on-one battles."
NOTES: This weekend's victories represent Notre Dame's first two-game road sweep against a WCHA or CCHA team since Poulin's senior season, when the Irish posted wins of 5-4 and 6-0 at Ferris State on Feb. 12-13, 1982 (the Irish held club or independent status from 1983-92) ... the last time Notre Dame won three straight games was late in the 1993-94 season: 8-3 at Ferris State, 4-2 at Illinois-Chicago and 4-1 at Bowling Green ... the last time Notre Dame opened a season 3-0 was in 1983-84, when that Irish squad won its first 15 games en route to a 22-6-1 season ... the last time Notre Dame scored 13-plus goals in the first three games of the season was in 1989-90, when the Irish totaled 19 goals ... eight Notre Dame players have combined for the team's 13 goals this season: Aniket Dhadphale (3), Ben Simon (2), Steve Noble (2), Brian Urick (2), Matt Van Arkel, Lyle Andrusiak, Dan Carlson and Mark Eaton ... Notre Dame's top five scorers have between 4-5 points, with the overall scoring breaking down as follows: Dusbabek (5A), Van Arkel (2 G, 2A), Noble (2G, 2 A), Simon (2G, 2A), Dhadphale (3G, 1A), Cotnoir (3A), Carlson (1G, 1A), Lyle Andrusiak (1G), Mark Eaton (1G), Troy Bagne (1A) and Tyson Fraser (1A) ... the Irish have converted on 30% of their power plays this season (6-of-20), after owning the worst power-play percentage in the CCHA during 1996-97 (12.6%).