Nov. 29, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – After struggling early in the season on the power play, the Notre Dame hockey team seems to have found the right combinations as the Irish went four-for-four on the power play Friday night to hand the Western Michigan Broncos a 4-1 loss in front of a sold out Joyce Center.
Sophomore left wing Calle Ridderwall continued his torrid play of late as he recorded his second consecutive four-point game, getting a pair of power-play goals while assisting on two others. Freshman right wing Billy Maday added a power-play goal and assisted on another and junior center Kevin Deeth started the scoring with a first-period power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Having his hand in the middle of everything was senior center Christian Hanson who recorded his third consecutive three-point game, assisting on three of the four Irish goals.
Western Michigan started the scoring at 10:09 of the first period as Max Campbell scored from in front to give the Broncos the 1-0 lead.
The victory ran second-ranked Notre Dame’s unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1) since Oct. 25 and improves the Irish to 10-3-1 overall and 6-2-1-1 in the CCHA, good for 14 points and a share of second place. Western Michigan falls to 2-8-3 on the year and 1-5-3-1 in the CCHA.
After being held scoreless on the power play on Nov. 14 versus Lake Superior State, the Irish have now gone 14-for-29 (48.3%) on the power play over the last four games and 10-for-16 (62.5%) in their last two contests.
“Everything they are doing is working for them,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson of the unit of Hanson, Deeth, Ridderwall, Maday and Brett Blatchford.
“They are really playing well as a group. But you can’t lose sight of the fact that we lost the game 1-0 five-on-five tonight. I’d like to see us score five-on-five too.”
On the night, Notre Dame out shot Western Michigan on the night, peppering goaltender Jerry Kuhn with a season-high 49 shots to 22 for the Falcons.
The teams traded shots in the early going before the Broncos got on the board first with Campbell getting his fourth of the season on a rebound. Steve Silver moved in from the right point and fired a shot from the right circle that Jordan Pearce stopped only to see the rebound go to the high slot where Campbell blasted the puck past the Irish goaltender for the 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame would take advantage of its first power-play chance at 17:13 of the first period. Ridderwall moved the puck from the right wing corner behind the net to Hanson. The big center, slid a pass to the bottom of the right circle where Deeth closed in and tucked a wrist shot under the cross bar for his third goal of the season to even the score at 1-1.
Each time the Broncos took a penalty in the middle stanza, Ridderwall made them pay, getting both of his power-play goals.
His first came just 2:02 into the second and was set up by Maday, his former midget linemate with the Chicago Chill. The Broncos controlled the puck behind the net where Hanson pressured them. Maday knocked down a Western Michigan clearing attempt at the left point. The freshman slid the puck to the far post where Ridderwall was able to deflect it inside the post past Kuhn for his sixth of the season and a 2-1 Notre Dame lead.
“I guess it goes back to our days with the Chicago Chill,” said Maday. “We had instant chemistry there and since we were reunited here, we haven’t missed a beat.”
Ridderwall was at it again late in the period, getting his second goal of the game and seventh of the year at 17:48.This time it was Hanson and defenseman Brett Blatchford who made the passes.
Blatchford fired a shot from the center point towards the left post where Hanson deflected it across the crease to Ridderwall who fired the puck past Kuhn for the goal that gave the Irish a two-goal cushion at 3-1.
Maday closed the scoring in the third period with a power-play goal of his own on a play that he started and finished. The freshman controlled the puck along the left boards and moved it to the left corner to Ridderwall. The Stockholm native skated it towards the goal and centered it to Hanson who deflected it across the crease to Maday who tucked it past Kuhn for the final goal of the night at 6:19 and a 4-1 Irish lead. He now has goals in four consecutive games.
“We have five guys who are on the same page. We look for the open man. No one cares who scores and it shows on the scoreboard,” explained Maday on the success of the power play.
Maday’s coach echoed his freshman right wings thoughts.
“They are really playing well as a group,” said Jackson. “For them, it’s the sum of the parts. They really have a great chemistry. We know teams will be working to defend them. That’s why it’s important to get our other power-play units to be a threat too.”
On the night, Kuhn finished with 45 saves while Pearce, who is 8-0-1 in the Irish unbeaten streak finished with 21.
The two teams close out the series on Saturday night with a 7:05 p.m. game at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised by Comcast and can be seen on South Bend’s Comcast cable channel 3. The game can also be seen on tape delay Sunday, Nov. 30 at 12 noon on the NHL Network.
** IRISH NOTES **
* The Irish recorded their fourth consecutive sellout as 2,857 attended the game with the Notre Dame’s students on Thanksgiving break.
* Calle Ridderwall now has 13 points in his last four games getting five goals and eight assists in that period. Christian Hanson 11 points in those same four games with four goals and seven assists. Maday has four goals and two assists for six points in his last four contests.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FWestern Michigan (2-8-3/1-5-3-1) 1 0 0 - 1#2/#2 Notre Dame (10-3-1/6-2-1-1) 1 2 1 - 4
Penalties: WMU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Penalties: WMU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Maday 8 (Ridderwall, Hanson), PPG, 6:19.
Penalties: WMU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Western Michigan 7 - 9 - 6 - 22Notre Dame 16 - 23 - 10 - 49
Goaltender Saves:WMU - Jerry Kuhn (59:58) 15 - 21 - 9 - 45ND - Jordan Pearce (59:47) 6 - 9 - 6 - 21
Power Plays:WMU: 0 for 5ND: 4 for 4
Attendance: 2,857 (sellout)