Oct. 18, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team handed the Sacred Heart Pioneers their second consecutive shutout loss on Saturday night with a 7-0 blanking in front of 2,171 fans at the Joyce Center.
Six different players got on the scoresheet with Ryan Thang leading the way with a two-goal night while Ian Cole, Billy Maday, Christiaan Minella, Erik Condra and Kevin Deeth each scored single goals in the game. Condra and Cole had three-point nights with a goal and two assists and Kyle Lawson and Dan Kissel each chipped in a pair of assists.
In goal, junior Tom O’Brien made his first career start and made the most of it, turning away all 17 shots he faced for his first career shutout. He becomes the first Notre Dame goaltender to record a shutout in his first career game. The back-to-back shutouts were the first for the Irish since Oct. 27-28, 2006 when they blanked Army and Air Force on consecutive nights at the first Lightning College Hockey Classic.
The win improved the Irish to 2-1-0 on the year while Sacred Heart falls to 0-4-0 on the young season.
O’Brien for one was happy that his wait was finally over. “It’s just a great feeling. My teammates just played unbelievably in front of me,” said the 5-11 goaltender.
“I wasn’t screened and there weren’t many tips. They (Sacred Heart) didn’t get many chances. It was awesome that they did that for me.”
The honors physics major found out that he was going to start on Friday after Notre Dame’s 3-0 win.
“It’s kind of amazing to sit around for that long, not knowing when I would get a chance,” said O’Brien.
“Coach told me last night that I was starting and I went home and played the guitar for a very long time because I couldn’t fall asleep. I think our trainer is out of Tums. I think that I cleaned him out again but so far this has been the greatest day ever.”
O’Brien’s coach Jeff Jackson also was pleased for his number two goaltender.
“I was real happy for Tommy. This was an important game for our team and for him in goal,” said Jackson.
“He’s been waiting for his opportunity. I told him when he came in here that it always works out at some point that you will get your chance. You just have to be ready and make the most of the opportunity. He did well tonight and that bodes well for him getting another chance. With Brad Phillips out for the year, it’s good to know that we have someone who can come in and play when Jordan (Pearce) needs a rest.”
For the second night in a row, the Irish scored twice in the first period, getting a short-handed goal and a power-play goal for the 2-0 lead.
Thang put the Irish ahead 1-0 at 3:37 of the first when he scored his first of the season and it came short-handed off a great play by Dan Kissel on the penalty kill. The junior left wing pounced on a loose puck at the Irish blue line and banked it off the boards to set up a two-on-one with Thang. Kissel pulled the defenseman toward him and slid the puck to Thang down the slot where he whipped a wrist shot past Olivier St. Onge, for the 1-0 lead.
The next goal came with the man advantage and it came off the stick of Cole who’s blast from the center point went off a Sacred Heart stick and deflected past St. Onge at 7:50. The goal was Cole’s first of the year and came off assists from Condra and Lawson.
The special teams goals were a key to the Irish victory as they would go 3-for-9 on the power play for the evening.
“It’s all about confidence just like goaltending. Everything revolves around confidence,” said Jackson.
“I think that once our guys scored the first power-play goal, they started playing with more confidence. A lot is attributed to the unit working in coordination with each other. It’s not about one guy, it’s about how the group is working together to break down the opponent’s penalty kill.”
Notre Dame would put the game away in the second period, scoring four times. Maday made it 3-0 just 17 seconds into the middle period with pure hustle. His shot from inside the Sacred Heart blue line missed the net and came off the backboards. St. Onge tried to play the puck, but Maday took it off his stick and backhanded it past the Pioneer goaltender for his second goal of the year.
Thang made it 4-0 at 3:02 with Notre Dame’s second power-play goal of the night. Cole and Lawson played catch with the puck inside the Sacred Heart blue line where Cole ripped a shot from the left side that St. Onge stopped, but kicked the rebound in the slot where Thang tucked it past the downed goaltender for the sixth multiple-goal game of his career.
The lead would go to 5-0 at 13:32 with Minella snapping a 46-game goal less streak when he deflected a Brett Blatchford backhander from the high slot past St. Onge. Minella’s last goal came on Nov. 11, 2006 when he scored versus Bowling Green.
Condra closed out the period with his second goal of the year at 17:27 when the senior right wing one-timed a Deeth centering pass behind St. Onge to make it a 6-0 game.
Deeth would have the favor returned in the third period when he scored his first of the season via the power play at 15:03 for the final score of 7-0. Cole left a pass for Condra as he entered the Pioneer zone and he carried down the slot before dropping a pass to Deeth at the top of the right circle. The junior whistled a shot past St. Onge to close the scoring on the night.
The Irish out shot Sacred Heart, 28-17, in the game with St. Onge making 21 saves on the night.
Notre Dame returns to action at home next weekend when the Irish play host to the Miami RedHawks at the Joyce Center on Oct. 24-25 with a 7:35 p.m. game on Friday and a 7:05 game on Saturday.
** IRISH NOTES **
â€¢ Prior to O’Brien’s shutout tonight, the quickest shutout for an Irish goaltender belonged to Jordan Pearce who had a shutout in his second career start, a 2-0 shutout of Princeton in Oct. of 2005. He lost his first start at Denver the prior week. David Brown `07 had his first career shutout in his third career start during October of 2003.
â€¢ For the weekend, Notre Dame was 4-for-16 on the power play while Sacred Heart was 0-for-12 in its power-play chances.
â€¢ Erik Condra’s five-point weekend (2g, 3a) moved him from 33rd on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list to a tie for 27th with Pat Conroy `75. Condra now has 37 goals and 88 assists for 125 career points.
â€¢ Ryan Thang’s game-winning goal gives him 12 for his career and moves him into a tie for fourth on the all-time list with David Bankoske `93. He is one off the school record of 13 for his career. That mark is held by three people – Rob Globke `04, Brian Urick `99 and Dave Poulin `82.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FSacred Heart (0-4-0) 0 0 0 - 0#8/#8 Notre Dame (2-1-0) 2 4 1 - 7
Penalties: SHU: 5 for 21 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: SHU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Deeth 1 (Condra, Cole), PPG, 15:03.
Penalties: SHU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Sacred Heart 6 - 5 - 6 - 17Notre Dame 8 - 12 - 8 - 28
Goaltender Saves:SHU - Olivier St. Onge (59:42) 6 - 8 - 7 - 21ND - Tom O'Brien (58:14) 6 - 5 - 6 - 17
Power Plays:SHU: 0 for 8ND: 3 for 9