March 29, 2008
Colorado Springs, Colo. – For most of the second half of the season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish struggled to score goals. The struggles came to an end on Friday night at the World Arena in the first semifinal of the NCAA West Regional.
Notre Dame got seven goals from six different players as the Irish advanced to the West Regional final on Saturday evening with a 7-3 win over top-seeded New Hampshire at the World Arena. The Irish will get a chance to avenge last year’s Midwest regional final loss as they will face Michigan State in the West Regional final on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. (MDT). MSU defeated Notre Dame, 2-1, last year to go to the Frozen Four and on to a national championship. The Spartans defeated Colorado College, 3-1, in the second semifinal on Friday night.
Junior Christian Hanson scored two goals while Ian Cole (ppg), Kyle Lawson (ppg), Dan Kissel, Ryan Thang and Kevin Deeth had single goals in the win. Mark Van Guilder had a three-assist night while Thang added two assists for his three-point game.
New Hampshire got two goals from Jerry Pollastrone and one from Phil DeSimone while James vanRiemsdyck added three assists in the game.
The win improved Notre Dame to 25-15-4 on the year while fourth-ranked New Hampshire ends its season with a 25-10-3.
Things didn’t look so good for the Irish in the first period as the Wildcats scored just 1:04 into the game. vanRiemsdyck won the draw in the left circle and pushed the puck towards the goal where Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce kicked it to the right circle. Pollastrone jumped on the loose puck and fired it into the open side of the net for his 14th goal of the year.
The Irish answered back just 58 seconds later on the power play. Ben Ryan fed the puck to Van Guilder behind the goal line to the left of UNH goaltender Kevin Regan. Cole snuck down from his right point and Van Guilder fed the puck to him in the right circle. Cole’s low hard wrist shot beat Regan through his pads at 2:02 to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was Cole’s eighth of the season and fourth in the postseason.
The Wildcats continued to apply pressure on the Notre Dame goal and would take a 2-1 lead at the 5:41 mark, scoring again off a faceoff. Bobby Butler pulled the puck to the right wing where vanRiemsdyck moved it back to defenseman Brad Flaishans who fired a low shot on Pearce. The junior goaltender made the stop with the rebounding ending up on the stick of Pollastrone who fired the rebound past Pearce for his second of the night and 15th of the year.
Despite being out shot in the first period by a 15-6 margin, the Irish would go into the first intermission with a 2-2 tie as they capitalized on their second power-play chance of the night.
Notre Dame would run the same play as their first goal of the night and get the equalizer with Lawson doing the scoring on this one.
Van Guilder controlled the puck on the left boards and moved it to Thang behind the Wildcat net. Thang moved to the right as Lawson moved to the net and put a pass on his stick in the right circle. The sophomore defenseman drilled a wrist shot that beat Regan inside the right post for his fifth of the year at 17:25.
The Irish took the lead for good at 2:39 of the second period when Hanson scored his 11th goal of the year.
Brock Sheahan broke up a New Hampshire rush at the Notre Dame blue line and moved it ahead to Stewart Carlin. The sophomore, making his first appearance of the postseason carried the puck down the right wing and fired a shot that Regan made a pad save on.
The rebound came loose in the slot and Hanson beat a Wildcat defender to the puck and shoveled the puck into the net for a 3-2 Notre Dame lead.
The Irish would make it 4-2 on a tremendous individual effort by Kissel. With Notre Dame killing off a 5-on-3 UNH power play Kissel carried the puck into the New Hampshire zone. With his teammates in a line change, the sophomore left wing carried the puck to the left wing boards. He was able to spin away from one defender and moved to the goal where he split the defense and fired a shot inside the left post at 9:53 for his ninth goal of the season.
New Hampshire cut the lead to 4-3 when Phil DeSimone scored at 13:09 and the period would end with Notre Dame protecting a one-goal lead.
The Irish wasted little time in restoring the two-goal lead when Van Guilder and Thang forced a Wildcat turnover behind the net. Van Guilder slid the puck in front to Thang who drilled one of his patented wrist shots past Regan for his 17th goal of the year just 23 seconds into the period for a 5-3 lead.
With 4:48 left in the game, Flaishans was called for a major penalty for hitting Thang from behind to give the Irish a 5:00 minute power play. When Cole was called for interference at 16:18 the two teams would play four-on-four. New Hampshire coach Dick Umile pulled Regan to give the Wildcats a man advantage.
Playing without the goaltender, Thang broke up a UNH rush and headed toward the open goal. He fired a shot that went wide of the goal but went off the back boards and came out to Deeth who shot it into the open net to make it 6-3 with 3:06 left in the game.
Regan would again be pulled with under three minutes left in the game and Hanson closed the scoring at 17:54 when he scored his second of the night and 12th of the season for the final of 7-3.
On the night, New Hampshire would out shoot Notre Dame, 35-34. Pearce finished the night with 32 saves while Regan had 27.
Saturday’s West Regional with Michigan State will be televised live on ESPNU. Game time at the World Arena is 8:00 p.m. (MDT) and 10:00 p.m. (EDT).
** Notre Dame’s win against New Hampshire was the first ever for the Irish against the Wildcats. The Irish are now 1-4-0 in five games versus UNH.
** Mark Van Guilder’s three-point game (3 assists) was his seventh game this year with two or more points and his second with three or more. He had four points (2g, 2a) vs. Lake Superior on Nov. 1. The three-point game for Ryan Thang was his seventh multiple-point game of the year and second with three points.
** Christian Hanson’s two-goal game was the first multiple-goal game of his career.
** Day 1 NCAA Scoreboard – The CCHA was 3-0 on the first day of the regionals with Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State all winning. The WCHA was 0-2 on the day with St. Cloud State and Colorado College falling. Hockey East was 0-1 with New Hampshire losing while the ECAC was 1-0 with Clarkson getting a win and College Hockey America finished 0-1 as Niagara lost to Michigan.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#12/#12 Notre Dame (25-15-4) 2 2 3 - 7#4/#5 New Hampshire (25-10-3) 2 1 0 - 3
Scoring: First Period: UNH: Jerry Pollastrone 14 (James vanRiemsdyck), 1:04; ND: Ian Cole 8 (Ben Ryan, Mark Van Guilder), PPG, 2:23; UNH: Pollastrone 15 (Brad Flaishans, vanRiemsdyck), 5:41; ND: Kyle Lawson 5 (Van Guilder, Ryan Thang), 17:25.
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; UNH: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: ND: Christian Hanson 11 (Stewart Carlin, Brock Sheahan), 2:39; ND: Dan Kissel 9 (unassisted), 9:53; UNH: Phil DeSimone 3 (vanRiemsdyck, Flaishans), 13:09.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; UNH: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 6 - 17 - 11 - 34New Hampshire 15 - 13 - 7 - 35
Goaltender Saves:ND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 13 - 12 - 7 - 32UNH - Kevin Regan (58:45) 4 - 15 - 8 - 27
Power Plays:ND: 2 for 8UNH: 0 for 4