Dec. 7, 2005
Mankato, Minn. – It went right down to the wire but on this Tuesday night in snowy Minnesota, the Notre Dame hockey team was not going to be denied. Freshman right wing Erik Condra deflected defenseman Chris Trick’s one-timer from the left point past Minnesota State goaltender Mike Zacharias with nine seconds left to give Notre Dame a 3-2 road win over the Mavericks at the Midwest Wireless Center.
T. J. Jindra won a draw back to defenseman Wes O’Neill who faked a shot on goal and then fed it to the left point to Trick who one-timed a blast that Condra was able to redirect past Zacharias for the game-winning goal, Condra’s second goal of the night and third of the year at 19:51. O’Neill assisted on all three Irish goals on the night.
The road win snapped a 17-game road winless streak (0-15-2) for the Irish that extended back to last season. Notre Dame’s last win away from the Joyce Center came on Nov. 26, 2004 at Alaska Fairbanks by a 3-2 score.
The victory, the second in a row for the Irish improves them to 5-9-1 on the season and equals their total wins for all of last season. Minnesota State goes to 3-10-3 for the year. The two teams will play on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Joyce Center with game time set for 7:05 p.m. This was the first meeting between the two teams since the 1996-97 season.
Irish special teams were a key to the win as was another strong performance by goaltender David Brown. Notre Dame got power-play goals from Condra and Josh Sciba on the night and managed to kill off six-of-seven Maverick power play chances in the game. Brown stopped 27 of 29 shots he faced to pick up his second consecutive win in goal, including 20 of 22 in the final two periods as the Irish were out shot 29-22 on the night.
Brown has now appeared in eight consecutive games for the Irish, seven of them starts. He is 3-3-1 in that span, giving up 17 goals on 217 shots for a 2.40 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead at the 7:00-minute mark of the opening period on the power play. Referee Marco Hunt whistled defenseman Brian Kilburg for a five-minute major for a checking-from-behind penalty that gave the Irish a five-on-three power play for 43 seconds. While the Irish failed to score with the two-man advantage they scored five-on-four when Condra scored on a rebound to the left of goaltender Mike Zacharias. With Mike Walsh setting a screen in front, Zacharias stopped Walsh’s deflection of O’Neill’s shot from the left point but Condra pounced on the rebound to give the Irish the lead.
Minnesota State evened the score just over four minutes later at 11:09 when Rob Rankin scored from the high slot for his third goal of the season. Brown stopped Kevin Huck’s initial shot but the rebound went to Rankin parked in the slot. His low, hard shot found its way through Brown’s pads to tie the game at 1-1.
Rankin’s goal snapped Brown’s shutout streak at 91:20. The last goal he gave up came late in the second period of the Nov. 26 loss to Ohio State.
The Irish struck a second time on the power play, taking the lead, 2-1, at 14:47 of the middle stanza. Sciba got the goal off assists from O’Neill and Condra. For Sciba, the goal was his team-leading ninth of the year and fifth on the power play.
The Mavericks knotted the score at 2-2 at 5:57 of the third period by converting on a power play of their own. Mick Berge took a pass from Morin in the left-wing circle and slipped a shot between Brown’s pads and the left post for his second goal of the season.
That set up Condra’s game-winning goal in the final seconds that ended Notre Dame’s troubles on the road. The next three games for Notre Dame prior to the Christmas break will come at the Joyce Center.
** Wes O’Neill’s three-point game (3 assists) was a career high for the junior defenseman and he now has five assists in his last two games. O’Neill has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points on the season. Eleven of those points have come on the power play (2g, 9a).
** With three goals and 11 assists for 14 points on the season, freshman Erik Condra has already surpassed the top season output from a year ago. Evan Rankin led Notre Dame freshmen in scoring with five goals and five assists for 10 points.
** Notre Dame is 4-2-1 when the Irish score first in a game this season; the Irish are 5-0-1 when they have the lead after two periods of play.
Summary: 1 2 3 FNotre Dame (5-9-1) 1 1 1 3Minnesota State (3-10-3) 1 0 1 2
First Period: ND: Erik Condra 2 (Mike Walsh, Wes O'Neill), PPG, 7:00; MSU: Rob Rankin 3 (Kevin Huck, Travis Morin), 11:09.Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; MSU: 3 for 9 minutes.
Second Period: ND: Sciba 9 (O'Neill, Condra), PPG, PPG, 14:47.Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; MSU: 4 for 8 minutes.
Third Period: MSU: Mick Berge 2 (Morin, Kyle Peto), PPG, 5:57; ND: Condra 3 (Chris Trick, O'Neill).Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; MSU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots on Goal:Notre Dame: 7 - 7 - 8 - 22Minnesota State: 7 - 11 - 11 - 29
Saves:Notre Dame: David Brown (60:00) 6 - 11 - 10 - 27Minnesota State: Mike Zacharias (60:00) 6 - 6 - 7 - 19
Power Plays:Notre Dame: 2 for 7Minnesota State: 1 for 7