Dec. 5, 1997
Notre Dame Hockey Stifles Western Michigan
KALAMAZOO, Mich.--The Notre Dame hockey team posted a 2-1 victory over the Broncos of Western Michigan on Friday night. The Irish defense allowed just 12 shots over the all three periods, which was one more than the Irish shot total for the first period. The twelve shots allowed was the fewest by the Irish so far this season.
The Notre Dame offense got off to a quick start in the first period. At 4:35 of the first period, Bronco Brent Lovett and the Irish's Joe Dusbabek took coincidental minors for roughing. A 4-4 on skating situation ensued, and lead to the only two Irish tallies of the evening. Freshman Matt Van Arkel scored his third goal of the season at 4:56 of the first period on a deflection. Irish captain Steve Noble won the face-off in the Bronco zone back to Irish defenseman Mark Eaton. Eaton slid the puck across the ice to his defense partner Benoit Cotnoir who shot the puck towards the net. Van Arkel, who was standing to the left side of the net, deflected the puck past sliding Bronco goaltender Matt Barnes.
The Irish did not wait long before they tallied again. Just 21 seconds later, Mark Eaton tipped the puck away from a Bronco outside the blueline, and Freshman Dan Carlson picked it up and skated in on a breakaway. Carlson moved in, deeked to his forehand side, and slid it past Barnes for his fourth goal of the season.
Notre Dame's defense clampped down, only allowing three shots in the opening period. Western Michigan forechecked hard in the second period, and was able to create some opportunities, but could still only muster seven shots in the second. The Broncos cut the Irish lead in half at 8:34 of the second period, when Brett Mills put a rebound up over the shoulder of Irish netminder Forrest Karr, but that was all Karr would allow on the night.
The third period was tight, with neither team getting a shot off in the first 5:40 of the period. The Irish only allowed two shots in the third period, and only one good scoring opportunity arose for the Broncos. With 6 minutes remaining, the Broncos broke in 3-on-2 on the Irish, and Brett Mills got a shot from the high slot, but Forrest Karr made a glove save to preserve the win for the Irish. The win was Notre Dame's first in five games, and it stopped a 12 game Irish losing streak at the Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo. The Irish raised their record to 7-6-2 overall (4-5-2 CCHA), while the Broncos fell to 5-8-2 overall (4-8-1 CCHA). The Irish leap-frogged the Broncos in the CCHA standings for at least one night, as the same two teams will hit the ice tomorrow night at the Joyce Center at 7 p.m.