Feb. 21, 2009
Omaha, Neb. – When the Irish needed it the most they got it on Saturday night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium as Notre Dame blanked Nebraska-Omaha, 1-0, in front of 7,991 Maverick fans.
What they got was stifling defense and stellar play from the reliable Jordan Pearce as the senior netminder stopped all 17 shots he faced in guiding the Irish to the shutout win that clinched the CCHA regular-season title for Notre Dame.
The win improves the Irish to 25-5-3 overall and 19-4-3-3 in the CCHA, good for 44 points. With two games left in the regular season, neither Miami or Michigan can catch Notre Dame in the standings. The Mavericks fall to 13-15-7 on the year and 8-12-7-3 in conference play.
For Pearce, the shutout was his fifth of the season and the ninth of his stellar career. While the Irish limited UNO to just 17 shots in the game, they held them to just two in the final period. The win was the 24th of the season for Pearce who was named the game’s Perani Cup first star.
Kissel got the only goal of the game off transition in the neutral zone. Ben Ryan played the puck ahead to Condra at the Nebraska-Omaha blue line where he carried it in with Kissel coming down the left wing. Condra got the defenseman to commit to him and slid the puck to Kissel who snapped it by Jerad Kaufmann for his fifth goal of the season and the game winner.
Pearce made two key stops in the game. The first came in the second period when Nick Fanto got loose on a breakaway. When Fanto tried to back hand a shot, Pearce forced him wide and he lost control of the puck.
Early in the third period, with the Mavericks killing a penalty, they managed to break loose on a 2-on-1 with Pearce stopping Matt Ambroz on the doorstep.
The Mavericks appeared to get the game-tying goal with three minutes left, but it was waved off due to a penalty on right wing John Kemp.
In the game, the Irish out shot Nebraska-Omaha by a 24-17 margin. Kaufmann finished the game with 23 saves.
Notre Dame will close out the 2008-09 regular season next weekend with a home-and-home series versus Michigan State. The teams will play at the Joyce Center on Fri., Feb. 27, Senior Night for the Irish, in a 7:05 p.m. game while Saturday’s game in East Lansing, Mich., will start at 5:05 p.m.
** IRISH NOTES:
* Saturday night’s 1-0 win was Notre Dame’s 13th road win of the season as the Irish are now 13-2-1 away from the Joyce Center. The 13 road wins are a new Notre Dame record. Previously the Irish had won 12 on the road three times in the 41-year history of the program.
* Kissel’s game-winning goal was his second of the season. The Irish have 12 players this season with game-winning goals.
** When Notre Dame clinched the 2006-07 CCHA regular season title, the Irish did it on the road in Fairbanks, Alaska. The score of that game was 1-0 with Ryan Thang getting that game winner.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#2/#2 Notre Dame (25-5-3/19-4-3-3) 0 0 1 - 1Nebraska-Omaha (13-15-7/8-13-7-3) 0 0 0 - 0
First Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UNO: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UNO: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UNO: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 8 - 8 - 8 - 24Nebraska-Omaha 9 - 6 - 2 - 17
Goaltender Saves:ND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 9 - 6 - 2 - 17UNO - Jerad Kaufmann (59:17) 8 - 8 - 7 - 23
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 6UNO: 0 for 3