Feb. 18, 2000

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Freshman Tony Zasowski opened the game with 25 straight saves but it was the surging power play-led by northern Ohio native Ben Simon-that helped Notre Dame hold off Bowling Green, as the Irish posted a 5-3 victory over the Falcons in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday night at the BGSU Ice Arena.

Notre Dame (14-15-6, 11-9-5) formally clinched a spot in the 10-team CCHA Tournament while inching closer to securing one of the five home-ice spots for the first-round series. The fifth-place Irish head into Saturday night’s game at BG with a two-point cushion on sixth-place Nebraska-Omaha (10-10-5), which posted a 3-1 home win over eighth-place Miami (9-11-3). Ferris State (11-12-2) fell three points behind the Irish, due to a 2-1 loss to visiting Ohio State (6-14-3).

The first five minutes of the final period produced three goals, including two scores by the Falcons to produce the 4-3 score and a frantic final 15 minutes.

Simon-who hails from the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights-scored what proved to be the seventh game-winning goal of his career, at the 4:05 mark of the third period. Senior defenseman Tyson Fraser set up the goal-which was Simon’s second power-play goal of the night-with a hard shot from the center of the blue line.

The shot carried wide of the right post but kicked back to the edge of the crease, with Simon waiting for the tap-in score. The Irish captain also had two assists to equal his career-best of four points in a game.

Just seconds after Simon had given the Irish a 4-2 lead, BG senior right wing Craig Desjarlais scored a power-play goal of his own (firing home a shot from the right circle). But Simon’s pass around the boards set up a skilled empty-net goal from junior left wing Dan Carlson, with 0:18 left to play (Carlson flung the puck on the fly from his own end).

Bowling Green freshman center Tyler Knight cut the lead to 2-1 late in the second period but the Irish restored the two-goal cushion just seconds before the intermission, as Simon converted on the power-play at the 19:52 mark. Simon took a side pass from Carlson and sent a power-play shot from the left circle that found its way between the skates of BG freshman goaltender Tyler Masters, giving Simon his eighth goal of the season and the 39th of his career (he added his 40th later in the game).

The Irish had built an early 2-0 lead behind a shorthanded goal from freshman center Connor Dunlop, the team’s first “shorty” since the season-opening loss to Michigan. Later in the opening period, clever stickwork and passing from Simon and junior left wing Dan Carlson set up senior right wing Joe Dusbabek’s goal from the left side of the crease.

Zasowski’s 31-save night included a series of acrobatic saves, with various flops, kick saves and covers in a a brilliant 17-save first period. The Falcons nearly scored with 0:29 left in the period, after the puck squirted out of Zasowski’s glove and landed near the goal line. But the rookie netminder reached back and yanked the puck off the line and-after consulting with the goal judge-the referee ruled for no goal.

An aggressive penalty kill set up Dunlop’s goal in the game’s eighth minute, with the rookie center slapping the puck loose and showing his speed by beating the BG players up ice. Masters went to his right for the save but inadvertently swept the puck back into the net with his stick, before the play had been blown dead.

The goal was just the third of the season for Dunlop (he also had the shorthander vs. Michigan) and marked his first score since Nov. 27, ending a 14-game goal drought.

The skating and passing abilities of Dusbabek’s linemates produced an open look for the second Irish goal of the night, with 4:59 left in the opening period. Simon maneuvered in the high slot with Falcons players all around him before dropping the puck to Carlson. The BG players continued to chase in vain as Carlson made a few turns before firing a pass through the slot.

Dusbabek was waiting at the far left side of the crease and froze Masters witha hesittion move before flicking his eighth goal of the season into the right side of the net.

Knight put BG on the board in the 17th minute of the second period, redirecting a pass from Ryan Murphy at the top of the slot, with the low shot beating Zasowski to the glove side.

The Falcons forged a 3-2 game early in the third, as junior left wing Curtis Valentine found some space near the right point shortly after an Irish penalty had expired. Valentine then fired home his fifth goal of the season, placing the puck behind Zasowski’s skates.

NOTES: Carlson has goals in each of the last five games and eight of the last nine (8 goals-4 assists) … senior left wing Andy Jurkowski did not make the trip due to a thumb injury, snapping his team-best streak of 86 consecutive games played … Carlson and junior right wing now are the only Irish players to appear in every game this season (35) … Dolder now owns ND’s longest streak consecutive games played (57) … Simon has 3G-5A in the last three games … ND improved to 33-0-5 in its last 38 games when holding a second-intermission lead (10-0-this season) … seven of ND’s 14 wins can trace the winning margin to PPGs (including one in each of the last five series) … 19 of ND’s last 35 goals have come on the PP and the Irish have PPGs in eight of the last nine games (15-for-61) … Friday’s game marked the first time that ND has been outshot in the last nine games (34-23) … Dusbabek has 5G-8A in the last 12 games … in other CCHA action Friday, first-place Michigan (17-5-2) played to a 1-1 tie at third-place Northern Michigan (14-6-3) … second-place Michigan State (16-7-1) moved three points back of Michigan, after posting a 3-1 home win over last-place Alaska-Fairbanks (3-21-1).

NOTRE DAME (14-15-6, 11-9-5 CCHA) 2 1 2 – 5

BOWLING GREEN (13-16-0, 10-13-0 CCHA) 0 1 2 – 3

1st: ND 1. Dunlop 3 (unassissted), SHG, 7:34, ND 2. Dusbabek 8 (Carlson, Simon) 15:01.

2nd: BG 1. Knight 6 (Murphy) 16:59, ND 3. Simon 8 (Dolder,Carlson), PPG, 19:52.

3rd: BG 2. Valentine 5 (Schueller, Masters) 2:38, ND 4. Simon 9 (Fraser), PP, 4:05, BG 3. Desjarlais 4 (Jones), PP, 4:58, ND 5. Carlson 15 (Simon), EN, 19:42. SHOTS: ND 8-10-5/23, BG 17-8-9/34.

SAVES: ND (Tony Zasowski) 17-7-7/31, BG (Tyler Masters) 6-9-3/18.

POWER PLAY: ND 2-for-3, BG 1-for-5.

PENALTIES: ND 8 for 24:00, BG 5 for 10:00.