October 17, 1998
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. - The Notre Dame power play continued its dominating early pace, accounting for every goal as the visiting Irish remained unbeaten with a 4-3 victory over Lake Superior State, in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena.
Notre Dame (5-0-0, 4-0-0 CCHA)-which received the 11th-most votes in last week's USA Today/American Hockey Magazine national poll-has pieced together the program's first five-game winning streak since 1991-92. The fast start also marks Notre Dame's longest winning streak during the program's last nine CCHA seasons, since the 1981-82 team won five straight from Jan. 30-Feb. 13 (that stretch also stands as last time the Irish posted four straight CCHA wins).
Saturday's win was the first for Notre Dame at LSSU in six games, since a 5-4 overtime victory on Nov. 19, 1993. The Irish are assured of winning their first three-game season series from the Lakers since rejoining the CCHA in 1992-93 (Notre Dame also beat LSSU on Oct. 9, 4-2 at home).
The Irish-who outshot the Lakers 21-11-return home on Friday, Oct. 23 for a 7:00 p.m. matchup at the Joyce Center vs. Ohio State, which returns the bulk of its 1997-98 team that advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
Lake Superior (0-4-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) made Saturday's score more respectable thanks to a 6-on-5 goal with seven seconds left to play, after sophomore goaltender Jayme Platt was pulled in the final minute.
Notre Dame's first power-play unit was on the ice for each of the Irish goals, with that group including the regular first-line forward group of senior left wing Aniket Dhadphale, junior center Ben Simon and senior right wing Brian Urick, plus sophomore left wing Dan Carlson and junior defenseman Tyson Fraser. The only exception to the goal-scoring personnel came on the third Irish score, with Simon in the penalty box, as junior right wing Joe Dusbabek came up with the goal while skating with the first unit. The other power-play scores came off the sticks of Dhadphale, Urick and Simon.
The Irish have notched at least one power-play goal in every game this season, with an impressive season power-play percentage of .393 (11-for-28), including nearly 50 percent (10-of-21) over the past three games. For comparison, Michigan State led the CCHA in 1997-98 with a 23 percent power-play unit.
Irish senior goaltender Forrest Karr made just eight saves vs. the Lakers while giving up three goals, but he again came up with the timely plays and helped Notre Dame stop eight of nine LSSU power-play chances. Through five games, Karr's impressive season numbers include a 2.00 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, just five even-strength goals allowed and an .862 team penalty-killing percentage (25-of-29). His career record now stands at 13-11-1, including 11-3-1 over the past two seasons (9-1 on the road).
Notre Dame remains atop the early CCHA standings with eight points, followed by Northern Michigan (2-0-0), Ferris State (2-1-0), Bowling Green (1-0-1), Michigan State (1-0-1), Michigan (1-0-0), Ohio State (1-1-0), Western Michigan (0-2-1), Miami (0-3-1), Alaska Fairbanks (0-0-0) and Lake Superior (0-4-0). In other CCHA action Saturday, NMU posted a 5-2 home win over Miami and OSU won 4-2 at FSU. Other games involving CCHA teams included Niagara's 2-1 win at Michigan, MSU's 3-1 home win over UMass, Bowling Green's 5-3 home win over Northeastern and Alaska Fairbanks' 3-1 loss at Alaska Anchorage.
Simon, who has points in all five games this season, scored his second goal of the season with 9:52 left to play, tipping in a shot from Dhadphale, with passes from Fraser and Carlson setting up the initial shot. That goal proved crucial when a defensive lapse led to a Lakers goal in the closing seconds. Karr was caught well out of position, leaving his left side of the net exposed, and Lakers senior right wing Tobin Praznik converted an easy tap-in goal after the puck was passed through the slot by junior right wing Jeff Cheeseman.
Dhadphale, who also opened Friday's 5-3 win at Ferris State with a power-play goal, notched his third goal of the season and 46th of his career at the 10:00 mark of the first period. Urick got things going with a pass from the left to right circle, with Carlson unleashing a shot and Dhadphale scooping home the rebound to secure a career-best, five-game point streak.
Urick kept up his own torrid pace four minutes later, tucking a low shot from the left circle inside the left post for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 Irish lead (13:58). The score, assisted by Carlson and Simon, allowed Urick to tie his career-best for consecutive games with a goal (4) while giving the Irish captain six goals and two assists in the four games of CCHA action. The Minnetonka, Minn. native also inched closer to 100 career points, with 47 goals and 46 assists.
Cheeseman put the Lakers on the board midway through the second period, just a second after Fraser had released from a cross-checking penalty. Karr saved the initial shot from junior center Trent Walford but the puck trickled across the crease, with Cheeseman knocking it into the left side of the net (11:29).
Dusbabek, who missed the final 16 games of the 1997-98 season, restored the two-goal cushion minutes later with his first goal since the Nov. 15, 1997 game at Miami. Dhadphale notched the primary assist while Carlson provided his career-best third helper of the night, with Dusbabek emerging from a scramble between the circles and firing the puck into the upper right corner of the net (14:16).
The Lakers cut the lead to 3-2 by converting their ninth power-play chance of the night, when sophomore center Jeff Attard scored at the 8:49 mark of the final period.
NOTRE DAME (5-0-0, 4-0-0 CCHA) 2 1 1 - 4
LAKE SUPERIOR (0-4-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) 0 1 2 - 3
1st: ND 1. Dhadphale-3 (Carlson, Urick), PP, 10:00; ND 2. Urick-6 (Carlson, Simon), PP, 13:58.
2nd: LSSU 1. Cheeseman-2 (Walford, Turgeon) 11:29; ND 3. Dusbabek-1 (Dhadphale, Carlson), PP, 14:16.
3rd: ND 4. Simon-2 (Dhadphale, Fraser), PP, 11:08; LSSU 2. Praznik-1 (Cheeseman, Redden) 19:53.
Shots: ND 8-8-5/21; LSSU 3-5-3/11.
Saves: ND (Karr) 3-4-1/8; LSSU (Platt) 6-7-4/17.
Power Play: ND 4-of-8, LSSU 1-of-9.
Penalties: ND 13 for 26:00, LSSU 12 for 35:00.