Jan. 16, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Alaska scored twice in the first 4:23 of the game on Saturday night and goaltender Scott Greenham made it stand up as the Nanooks snapped Notre Dame’s four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) with a 4-1 win in front of a sellout crowd at the Joyce Center.
Defenseman Scott Enders and forward Jarret Granberg staked Alaska to the quick 2-0 lead and added goals in the third period by Carlo Finucci and Nik Yaremchuk on the way to the important CCHA road win. Greenham stopped 26-of-27 shots to pick up his 10th win of the season. Freshman Mike Voran scored the lone goal for the Irish.
The loss dropped the eighth-ranked Irish to 15-8-3 overall and 12-5-1-1 in the CCHA. They remain in first in the conference with a one-point lead over Michigan and the Wolverines have one game in hand. Alaska improves to 10-8-4 overall and is back to .500 in the conference with a 7-7-4-2 record in the league.
“I thought we started out better than we played last night,” said head coach Jeff Jackson.
“Then we had one bad line change and then had a too many men penalty and that led to two goals. We have to do better than that. It’s a matter of concentration. I honestly don’t think I had these guys prepared to play this team and I take responsibility for that. They played us with a lot more pressure and were more physical that what I prepared our guys for. Alaska played well, give them their due. The were real good defensively and put pressure on us in certain areas of the ice that caused turnovers and gave them opportunities to score.”
Alaska got on the scoreboard at 2:49 as Enders scored his first of the season on a shot from the slot as the Nanooks caught the Irish in a line change. Colton Beck fed Kevin Petovello in the neutral zone and the Alaska captain carried it into the Irish zone before leaving the puck for Enders. The junior defenseman beat Notre Dame’s Mike Johnson for the 1-0 lead.
The Irish were called for too many men on the ice at 3:37 of the opening period and Alaska made them pay for the mistake with a power-play goal by Granberg on a deflection in front of Johnson.
Joe Sova carried the puck to center where he left it for Granberg who carried it into the Notre Dame zone where he left the puck for Aaron Gens at the right point. Gens fired a shot that was blocked and ended back on Gens’s stick. His second shot was waist high and Granberg was parked in front and deflected it past Johnson for his fifth goal and the eventual game winner at 4:23.
“We have to do a better job in front of the net and with our point coverage as far as getting in shot lanes and not allowing shots to get through,” said Jackson.
“They got a couple of fluky goals but that’s happened to us quite a bit this season because we aren’t clearing the front of the net and tying up sticks.”
Notre Dame got back into the game, cutting the lead in half at 8:56 of the second period when Voran converted a rebound to the left of Greenham for his fourth goal of the year to make it 2-1.
Defenseman Sean Lorenz fired a shot from the right point that hit right wing Kevin Nugent at the right hash marks. The sophomore winger corralled the rebound and fired a shot that Greenham stopped but the rebound ended up on Voran’s stick. The Livonia, Mich., native waited until Greenham made the first move and lifted the puck under the cross bar to break the shutout bid.
The Nanooks took advantage of another deflection to make it 3-1 just 1:25 into the third period with Finucci getting his sixth goal of the year.
Gens again set the play in motion, getting his second assist when he flipped a wrist shot that looked like it was going wide to the right of Johnson. Finucci got his stick on the puck and deflected it over Johnson to make it 3-1.
The Irish would go without a power play until the 14:41 mark of the third when Sova was given a major penalty for a high hit on Notre Dame’s Jeff Costello that gave the Irish a five-minute power play.
The Nanooks took a play from Notre Dame’s playbook as they would score a short-handed goal with Yaremchuk putting the game away, scoring on a breakaway down a man at the 15:41 mark for his sixth goal of the year and the 4-1 lead.
For the game Alaska out shot Notre Dame by a 39-28 margin. Johnson finished the game with 35 saves. Coming into the series with Alaska, the Irish were out shot in just four of their first 24 games but the Nanooks did it twice on the weekend.
“We have to move on. We have to get better. This team shows signs of being extremely good. But we have also shown signs of weakness,” said Jackson.
“We have to eliminate the odd-man rushes and we have to do a better job in the defensive zone. It’s the third week of January and crunch time is right around the corner. We have to clean up certain parts of our game.”
The Irish return to action next week when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State in a pair of 7:05 p.m. games on Jan. 21-22.
** IRISH NOTES **
* Alaska’s short-handed goal was the first given up by the Irish this season. Notre Dame leads the nation in that category with 12 short-handed goals this year.
* Notre Dame is now 9-2-0 this season at the Joyce Center. Alaska’s win was the first at the Joyce Center since March 4, 2006 and snapped a seven-game Irish winning streak versus the Nanooks in South Bend.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#20 Alaska (10-8-4/7-7-4-2) 2 0 2 - 4#8/#8 Notre Dame (15-8-3/12-5-1-1) 0 1 0 - 1
Scoring First Period: UAF: Scott Enders 1 (Kevin Petovello, Colton Beck), 2:49; UAF: Jarret Granberg 5 (Aaron Gens, Joe Sova), PPG, 4:23.
Penalties: UAF: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: UAF: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Third Period: UAF: Carlo Finucci 6 (Gens), 1:25; UAF: Nik Yaremchuk 6 (unassisted), SHG, 15:41.
Penalties: UAF: 2 for 15 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Alaska 11 - 18 - 10 - 39Notre Dame 8 - 14 - 6 - 28
Goaltender Saves:UAF: Scott Greenham (60:00) 8 - 13 - 6 - 27ND: Mike Johnson (60:00) 9 - 18 - 8 - 35
UAF: 1 for 6
ND: 0 for 1
Attendance: 2,857 (sellout)