Feb. 12, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three Notre Dame freshmen combined for eight points while the Irish power play clicked for four scores, as homestanding Notre Dame emerged with a 7-4 victory over Nebraska-Omaha, in an often-unusual Central Collegiate Hockey Association game Saturday night at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.
The win pushes Notre Dame (13-15-6, 10-9-5 CCHA) back ahead of UNO (11-14-5, 9-10-5) into the fifth and final home-ice spot for the upcoming CCHA Tournament. The Mavericks actually slipped into seventh place, with Ferris State (11-11-2) shifting into sixth thanks to its 2-1 win at last-place Alaska Fairbanks (3-20-1).
With four regular-season games remaining, Notre Dame has all but clinched a spot in the 10-team tournament but the Irish still have some work left to clinch a home-ice spot, as three teams are four points back or closer in the CCHA standings.
Six Notre Dame players posted multiple points in the crucial win, led by two goals from surging freshman right wing Michael Chin and three assists from first-year center Connor Dunlop. Defenseman Evan Nielsen rounded out the offensive barrage from the Irish rookies, ending his personal nine-game point drought with one goal and two assists.
Sophomore left wing David Inman chipped in with two goals and two assists, representing his first career game at Notre Dame with more than two points and his third career two-goal effort (second in the last five games). Junior left wing Dan Carlson stayed atop the Irish scoring charts with a goal and an assist (he has goals in seven of the last eight games) while senior center Ben Simon snapped his surprising 14-game goal drought with a pivotal score as the second period was expiring (the Irish captain also had two assists).
Notre Dame freshman goaltender Tony Zasowski made 20 saves-including 12 in the second period as the Irish stretched to a 4-1 cushion-and helped stop all six UNO power plays in the game, while allowing three even-strength goals and the Mavericks’ second shorthanded goal of the weekend. UNO senior Kendall Sidoruk departed the game with 10:21 left to play, after allowing seven goals while making 29 saves.
The four Irish power-play goals included three from the team’s second PP unit (comprised of Inman, Dunlop, Chin, Nielsen and senior defenseman Sean Molina).
The game featured three different spans of time where a pair of goals were scored in 24 seconds or less-plus two other unusual moments that could have yielded a much different situation heading into the second intermission.
Seven minutes into the second period, UNO junior center Allen Carr had appeared to tie the game (2-2) after slapping a rebound into the goal. But the play had been blown dead, with Zasowski sprawled in the crease and the puck squirting loose to his right.
A more bizarre play occured in the final second-literally-of the second period, when an errant UNO pass in the Irish zone kicked off the near left boards. Simon raced the other way to the puck and slanted to his left while trying to beat a UNO player into the slot area. With the clock nearing 0:00, the lefthanded Simon glanced at the time remaining before lunging forward and sweeping a forehand shot into the right side of the net-just as the light went on to signal the end of the period. Sidoruk appeared almost disinterested in the play, looking off a bit to his right as Simon rushed in from the other side.
After the officials met at the scorer’s booth to discuss the play, the Irish were credited with the goal-igniting the sellout crowd while providing the crucial three-goal cushion (4-1).
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH DAVE POULIN: “We looked faster tonight, but I know we were not actually faster. We just played better tonight. We skated, got to the puck, and just played. Tonight, we had desire speed. … I was very encouraged by our power play tonight. The confidence that comes from power-play goals carries over to five-on-five play. … We must get going on Friday night. We can’t just keep coming back from a disappointing Friday to play on Saturday. We must put it together and address this problem … We are looking at the final four games as two sets of two games, with a break in between. Hopefully, that break will come at a good time. We have Bowling Green coming up and they are playing well. The whole league is so tight. Only a few points separate most of the teams.”
SCORING RECAPS (4-1 goal above) * 1-0: Dunlop cycled the puck to Nielsen, who let fly a shot from inside the right end of the blue line … Inman was stationed at the left side of the crease and redirected the puck past Sidoruk for his 12th goal of the season (12:20).
* 1-1: Just 23 seconds later, sophomore LW Jeff Hoggan broke free down the left side before drilling a low shot inside the far right post, for his 10th goal of the season and third vs. the Irish (12:43).
* 2-1: ND’s three-goal second period began quickly, with Inman deflecting the puck to Chin near the left boards in the neutral zone … Chin sent a pass to his right and raced into an open spot down the boards, before accepting the give-and-go from sophomore C Brett Henning … Chin slanted into the left circle and one-timed Henning’s pass into the upper right corner of the net (1:14).
* 3-1: Chin added his sixth goal of the season-and his fourth in the last seven games-seven minutes later … Carlson set the play in motion with a pass in the Irish end while Simon sent a shot at Sidoruk from the right circle … Chin converted the rebound at the far left side of the crease, for his eighth point in that seven-game stretch (8:54).
* 5-1: Neilsen notched his first goal since Dec. 20 in the early-going of the final period, sending a power-play shot from the high slot between Sidoruk’s legs (2:57), with Dunlop and Inman picking up the assists.
* 5-2: The Irish were on the verge of breaking the game open minutes later, but UNO senior C Mike Skogland scored his third goal of the season in shorthanded fashion, assisted by junior RW Jeff Whits (5:42).
* 6-2: Just nine seconds later, Inman surprised Sidoruk with a low power-play shot from the far edge of the right circle (5:53), with Dunlop and Nielsen assisting as Inman moved back into a share of the team goal lead, with 13.
* 7-2: Carlson moved back atop the Irish goalscoring charts with a power-play goal of his own four minutes later, seemingly putting the game out of reach … senior RW Joe Dusbabek set up Simon’s shot from the slot area and Carlson cleaned up the rebound on the right side for his 11th goal in CCHA action this season and ninth overall PPG (both team bests).
* 7-3/7-4: UNO tucked in a pair of goals in a 24-second span, while Carr hit the crossbar minutes later (13:38) on a lay that could have suddenly yielded a two-goal game … senior RW Derek Reynolds snagged an Irish turnover and raced down ice before snapping a cross-ice shot that snuck between Zasowski’s skate and the left post (10:12), for his seventh goal of the season … freshman D Greg Zanon and Skogland then set up the fifth goal of the season from senior RW Jeff Edwards, but the Mavs would get no closer.
NOTES: Michigan (17-5-1) moved closer to the CCHA regular-season title with a 9-3 home win over 10th-place Western Michigan (8-13-3) … Michigan State (15-5-2) edged back ahead of Northern Michigan (14-6-2) with a 2-0 win over visiting NMU … Lake Superior (14-8-2) moved back into a tie with NMU for third place, after skating to a 2-2 tie at 11th-place Ohio State (5-14-3) … upcoming Irish opponent Bowling Green (10-12-0) moved up to ninth, thanks to its 5-2 win at eighth-place Miami (9-10-3) … ND’s seven goals were its most in 60 games, since a 9-5 home win over Western Michigan on Nov. 20, 1998 … the last time ND scored four PPGs in a game also was at home vs. WMU (a 4-for-9 effort in a 7-1 win on Oct. 10, 1998, ND was 4-for-10 on Saturday) … Molina played in his 140th career game, leaving him five shy of cracking Notre Dame’s top-10 list … senior LW Andy Jurkowski pushed his consecutive games played streak to 85 … Simon has 121 career points (38G-83A) in 136 games, leaving him 10 points shy of Notre Dame’s list of top-20 all-time scorers … Simon’s previous goal came in the 5-3 win over UMass on Dec. 11 (a seven-week drought) while Henning picked up his first point in 14 his games played (since the 5-1 win over Vermont on Nov. 28) … Dusbabek has 4G-8A in his last 11 games … ND remains unbeaten during the past two seasons when holding a second-intermission lead (25-0-5, 9-0-2 this season) … ND has outshot its opponents in seven of the last eight games (the other had equal shot totals), with the Irish owning a 5-2-1 record in those games (and an average shot margin of 36-22) … the weekend was the first in seven weeks in which the Irish did not play an overtime game … ND owns PPGs in seven of its last eight games (13-for-56, .232) … the Irish penalty-kill unit went 10-for-11 in the series … ND has scored 36 of its 83 goals on the PP (44%), including 17 of the last 30 … Carlson has 10G-7A in the last 15 games (8G-3A in the last eight) … Inman has 6A in his last 13 games (one in first 17) … Nielsen now leads all Irish D with 12 points (4G-8A), tying him with Chin (6G-6A) and ranking just behind Dunlop (2G-11A) for the scoring lead among ND freshmen.
NEBRASKA-OMAHA 1 0 3 – 4
NOTRE DAME 1 3 3 – 7
1st: ND 1. Inman 12 (Nielsen, Dunlop) 12:20, UNO 1. Hoggan 10 (unassisted) 12:43.
2nd: ND 2. Chin 5 (Henning, Inman) 1:14, Chin 6 (Simon, Carlson) 8:54, ND 4. Simon 7 (unassisted) 19:59.
3rd: ND 5. Nielsen 4 (Dunlop, Inman), PP, 2:57, UNO 2. Skogland 3 (White), SH, 5:42, ND 6. Inman 13 (Dunlop, Nielsen), PP, 5,53, ND 7. Calrson 14 (Simon, Dusbabek), PP, 9:39, UNO 3. Reynolds 7 (unassisted) 10:12, UNO 4. Edwards (Skogland, Zanon) 10:36.
SHOTS: UNO 5-12-7/24, ND 9-12-17/38.
SAVES: UNO 8-9-14/29 (Sidoruk 8-9-12/29, McLeod x-x-x/2), ND (Zasowski) 4-12-4/20.
POWER PLAY: UNO 0-for-6, ND 4-for-10.
PENALTIES: UNO 11 for 30:00, ND 6 for 12:00.