Jan. 7, 2007
The Robert Morris Colonials took a page from Notre Dame’s 2006-07 resume on Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center, scoring three third-period goals while riding the standout goaltending of senior Joe Tuset to hand the second-ranked Irish a stunning 4-2 loss on home ice.
The Colonials, who were out shot 36-15 in the game, made the most of their chances, getting third-period tallies from David Boguslawski, Jason Towley and Doug Conley to hand Notre Dame its first loss since Nov. 25. Jeff Gilbert also scored for Robert Morris. The Irish scoring was limited to a pair of power-play goals by Garrett Regan and Ryan Thang in the loss as Notre Dame had 11 power-play chances in the game.
The loss drops the Irish to 17-4-1 on the season while Robert Morris, members of College Hockey America (CHA) improves to 7-10-1 on the year.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson didn’t think his team was ready for the Colonials.
“Things probably started going wrong the minute we left Pittsburgh (on Friday night). We just weren’t ready and I take full responsibility for that. It’s the coaches job that the players are prepared to play,” said Jackson. “Obviously I’m disappointed with the way we played. I think we thought we could turn it on at any time and I told them that they were putting themselves in jeopardy of letting something else take over. That’s how these things happen. Robert Morris played hard so give them credit. Their goalie played well, they blocked a lot of shots. It’s a great victory for Robert Morris.”
Junior right wing Mark Van Guilder echoed his coach’s feelings.
“We’re not happy and we shouldn’t be because clearly they wanted it more tonight than we did,” said Van Guilder. “It doesn’t matter about rankings or talent or anything when one team works harder than the other they are usually going to win and that’s what happened today.”
After a sluggish first period, Notre Dame got on the scoreboard with just 50 seconds left in the opening stanza with a power-play goal. Christian Hanson moved the puck from behind the Notre Dame goal to Mark Van Guilder who fired a shot from the slot. Tuset made the save, but the rebound went to the right circle where Regan jumped on it and fired the puck past the Colonial goaltender for his eighth of the season at 19:50 mark.
The Irish lead would go to 2-0 at 7:21 of the second period with via another power play. Erik Condra’s shot was stopped by Tuset but Thang managed to get a stick on the loose puck and steer it into the goal for his 11th of the year.
Notre Dame’s offense dried up after that despite getting plenty of chances. Robert Morris would get on the scoreboard at 10:02 when Gilbert redirected a pass from Joel Gasper behind Irish netminder Jordan Pearce who was playing in his first game since Oct. 27.
Despite the goal, the Irish went into the third period with a 2-1 lead and were 13-0-0 when taking a lead into the final period. This time, Robert Morris rallied for the win.
Boguslawski picked up his eighth goal of the season at 5:54 of the final period via the power play as he tucked a rebound behind Pearce to even the score at 2-2.
Less than five minutes later, the Colonials took their first lead of the game as Towsley came off the right wing circle and directed a pass from Anthony Bonello past Pearce for his fifth goal of the season at 10:10.
The Irish continued to struggle offensively and ended up taking back-to-back penalties late in the third to give Robert Morris a five-on-three power play and the Colonials took advantage of the opportunity when Doug Conley whipped a rebound from the slot over Pearce’s stick hand at 16:20 for his third goal of the season and a 4-2 lead. Tuset held the Irish at bay over the final minute as Notre Dame pulled Pearce with 1:50 left in the game. A Colonial penalty gave Notre Dame a six-on-four power play, but the Irish could not score.
For Tuset, the win in goal was the second in a row as he shut out Merrimack in his last start. Pearce made 11 saves for the Irish.
Now the Irish return to CCHA play for the final 14 games of the season and will look to get back to their first-half style of play this weekend in a pair of games at Lake Superior State on Jan. 12 and 13.
Senior T.J.Jindra expects his teammates to bounce back.
“We lost tonight, we don’t feel good about it and we aren’t happy,” said Jindra. “It’s a game that we didn’t play very well in. We have to regroup and come out next weekend and play better. I don’t think we took them too lightly. We knew the style of play they were going to play and that’s what they did. Tonight they were a better team than us.”
Jackson added, “They have to look within. I can only give them the guidelines. They have to look inside themselves to see if they want to be more than an average hockey team. Tonight was a good indication that we can be pretty average. I thought that all along. We’ve won a lot of games on the backs of effort and discipline and tonight the effort wasn’t there and the discipline in executing our system wasn’t there. I take credit for the loss. It was a big win for Robert Morris and it’s back to the drawing board for the Irish.”
** Jordan Pearce’s first start in goal for the Irish since Oct. 27 snapped David Brown’s streak of 16 consecutive starts for the Irish. Brown now has 41 career wins to tie for fourth on the all-time list.
** Coming into Sunday’s game, Notre Dame had scored 15 goals in the third period over the last seven contests while giving up just five. In three of those games, the Irish rallied in the third to win the game. Robert Morris ended that streak with three goals in the third on Sunday.
** Sunday’s loss to Robert Morris snapped Notre Dame’s eight-game home winning steak.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FRobert Morris (7-10-1) 0 1 3 - 4Notre Dame (17-4-1) 1 1 0 - 2
Penalties: RMU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Penalties: RMU: 5 for 10; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: RMU: David Boguslawski 8 (Jason Towsley, Kyle Frieday), PPG, 5:54; RMU: Towsley 5 (Bonello), 10:10; RMU: Doug Conley 3 (Boguslawski, Jake Sparks), PPG) 16:20.
Penalties: RMU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Robert Morris 5 - 4 - 6 - 15Notre Dame 11 - 16 - 9 - 36
Goaltender Saves:RMU - Joe Tuset (59:57) 10 - 15 - 9 - 34ND - Jordan Pearce (58:10) 5 - 3 - 3 - 11
Power Plays:RMU: 2 for 3ND: 2 for 11