Feb. 14, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. – Much of the success of the Notre Dame hockey team in the 2004 season goes to its stingy defense. On the year, the Irish are among the league leaders in team defense, surrendering just 2.37 goals on the season. On Saturday night in Notre Dame’s 4-1 win over Ferris State, the defense went on the offensive.
Senior defensemen Neil Komadoski (2g, 1a) and Tom Galvin (1g, 2a) combined for six points on the night to back freshman goaltender David Brown’s stellar goaltending (29 saves) as the Irish swept the Bulldogs and moved into sixth place in the race for home ice in the CCHA. Michael Bartlett added the fourth goal for the Irish.
The win improved Notre Dame’s home-unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2) and the overall record for the Irish to 15-11-4, 11-10-3 in CCHA play. The 25 points in the CCHA moves the Irish into sixth place, one point ahead of idle Western Michigan. The loss drops Ferris State to 14-15-3 on the year, 9-14-1 in league play.
“This was a huge four-point weekend for us at this point of the season,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin.
“We got off to a great start with two goals in the first period and it would have been great to get a third to put the game away early. Instead they got the goal to make it 2-1.”
Galvin and Komadoski struck with the first-period goals. The first came just 2:57 into the game with Galvin notching his first of the season by skating through the Bulldog defense and lifting a back-hander over goaltender Mike Brown’s blocker.
“They were going down a lot. So I just moved it in from the point. They did a great job in front screening the goaltender. I just went to the back-hand and lifted it over him,” said Galvin who would later assist on both of Komadoski’s goals.
“It’s huge for the defense to get involved with the offense. We’ve been relying on three guys to score and this takes some of the pressure off them.”
With the Irish on the power play, Komadoski got the first of his of two power-play goals at 8:18 when he blasted a shot from the left point through a screen past Brown for his third of the season.
Ferris State answered back with its only goal of the night at 12:31 when Mike Kinnie was able to split the Irish defense and fire a wrister from in close, beating David Brown to the blocker side to make it a 2-1 game.
The Bulldogs would take a big blow early in the second period when All-American goaltender Mike Brown caught a Komadoski slapshot in the shoulder and neck area just 2:22 into the stanza. The shot dazed the junior goaltender who went off the ice under his own power. Sophomore Tom Mueller who was seeing his first action of the season replaced him.
The Irish offense sputtered, getting just four shots on the new goaltender while Ferris State fired 12 at David Brown in a scoreless second period.
“I thought we reacted poorly to the change in goaltenders,” said Poulin.
“I wasn’t happy after the second period. We quit playing our game and they rallied. I emphasized that we had a good chance here and we weren’t going to let it pass by. We got back to our game in the third period.”
Komadoski put the game out of reach with his second power-play goal of the night at 1:45 of the third period. Mike Walsh tracked down a loose puck in the right wing circle and fed it back to Galvin who moved it to Komadoski at the center point. This time, the native of Chesterfield, Mo., used a screen in front and just lifted a wrist shot towards the goal. The puck found its way through Mueller’s pads and the Irish had a 3-1 lead.
“We’ve been working on getting the puck to the front of the net. That’s a key for us to get scoring chances,” said Komadoski.
“We have big guys in front who do a good job of screening the goaltender or they can bang away in front as long as the puck gets through.”
Freshman Michael Bartlett wrapped up the scoring at 14:55 of the third when he fought off a defender and flipped the puck past Mueller for his fifth of the season.
On the night, the two teams traded 30 shots. Mike Brown made 11 saves before going out with the injury. Mueller made 15 saves in 37:38 of playing time.
The Irish extended their impressive streak of killing penalties to 33 in a row after holding Ferris State to no goals in four chances. The last time the Irish surrendered a power-play goal was in the first period of the Jan. 23 game at Northern Michigan, a streak of seven games and two periods.
The Irish now have a well-deserved break, as they do not play again until Friday, Feb. 27 against the University of Michigan. College Sports Television will televise that game live beginning at 8:05 p.m..
** Saturday night’s game was the seventh televised game of the season for the Irish. They are 5-1-1 in those games.
** The two Irish power-play goals marked the fifth time this season that Notre Dame scored twice with the man advantage. It also snapped a two-game power-play drought for the Irish.
** The two-goal game by Neil Komadoski was the first multiple-goal game of his career. His four goals on the season are a career high.
** Freshman goaltender David Brown is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts. He has played 423:06 minutes and has given up nine goals in that span. His goals-against average is 1.28 and he’s stopped 209 of 218 shots he’s faced for a .959 save percentage.
Ferris State (14-15-3/9-14-1) 1 0 0 – 1
Notre Dame (15-11-4/11-10-3) 2 0 2 – 4
First Period: ND: Tom Galvin 1 (Neil Komadoski, Matt Williams-Kovacs), 2:57; ND: Neil Komadoski 3 (Galvin, Aaron Gill), PPG, 8:18: FSU: Mike Kinnie 9 (Zac Pearson, Jim Jensen), 12:31.
Penalties: FSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: FSU: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: FSU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Ferris State 8 – 12 – 10 – 30
Notre Dame 11 – 6 – 13 – 30
Goaltender Saves: FSU – Mike Brown (22:22) 9 – 2 – x – 11
Tom Mueller (37:38) x – 4 – 11 – 15
ND – David Brown (60:00) 7 -12 -10 – 29
Power Plays: FSU: 0 for 4; ND: 2 for 4
Attendance: 2,727 (sellout)