Jan. 14, 2007
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – For the past several weeks Notre Dame goaltender David Brown has continued to pick up wins for the Irish in goal while not facing many shots. On Saturday night at Lake Superior State’s Taffy Abel Arena, Brown had his work cut out for him as the Lakers fired 32 shots on goal, 18 in the third period, but could only dent the senior goaltender once in a 4-1 Notre Dame win.
Brown’s 31-save effort, coupled with single goals by Josh Sciba, Erik Condra, Ryan Thang and Garrett Regan made head coach Jeff Jackson’s return to Lake Superior a good one as the Irish swept the Lakers with Saturday’s win. The victory, coupled with Miami’s 5-3 loss at Western Michigan on Saturday, moves Notre Dame into sole possession of first place in the CCHA. The CCHA road sweep was also the first for the Irish since Feb. 14-15, 2003 when Notre Dame won a pair at Bowling Green.
The win moves the Irish to 19-4-1 overall and 13-2-1 in the CCHA. Lake Superior falls to 13-8-3 on the year and 7-6-3 in conference play. Notre Dame now has 27 points in the conference with Miami checking in with 25 while the Irish have two games in hand on the Red Hawks. Notre Dame has now won eight straight conference games and overall has won nine of its last 10 games.
For the second night in a row, the Irish came out flying as they took the play to Lake Superior State in the opening period, out shooting the Lakers by a 15-5 margin.
And, for the 19th time this season, Notre Dame scored the game’s first goal as Sciba gave the Irish 1-0 lead at 11:12 of the first period. Playing with a four-on-three man-power advantage, Sciba was able to keep a Lakers’ clearing attempt in at the blueline and fed across to Wes O’Neill at the left point. O’Neill returned the pass to Sciba at the top of the right wing circle where he one-timed a slapshot through a screen past Laker goaltender Jeff Jakaitis. The goal was Sciba’s seventh of the year.
Notre Dame would strike again on the power play for the lone goal of the second period. Defenseman Kyle Lawson moved the puck in from the left point and fired a shot that Jakaitis was able to stop. The rebound ended up on Ryan Thang’s stick in the slot and Jakaitis again made the stop. The rebound went right to Condra who was unchecked in front and he shoveled it into the open net for his 10th goal of the season to give the Irish the 2-0 lead.
The Irish peppered Jakaitis with 18 shots in the middle period while Brown stopped all nine he faced in the Irish goal.
In the third period, the Lakers threw everything they had at the Irish but Brown was able to hold the Lakers off the scoreboard.
Notre Dame’s “Kid Line” got goal number three as Kevin Deeth set Thang up at the bottom of the right wing circle. Thang whistled a wrist shot over Jakaitis’ glove hand for his 13th goal of the year at 3:54. The goal by the freshman left wing was Thang’s fourth in four games as he tied Mark Van Guilder for the team lead in goals. Condra and Thang each had a goal and an assist in the game while Deeth had one assist.
With over seven-and-a half minutes left, Laker head coach Jim Roque decided to pull Jakaitis in favor of a sixth attacker and it paid off as John Schrymgeour jammed a rebound past Brown at 14:11 to cut the lead to 3-1.
Jakaitis remained out while the Lakers continued to press but the Irish were able to seal the win when Condra broke up a pass at center ice and moved the puck ahead to Regan who scored into the open net at 18:02 to seal the 4-1 win and the weekend sweep.
Lake Superior out shot the Irish 18-7 in the final period with Brown holding the Lakers off with 17 of his 31 saves in the final period. Jakaitis finished with 36 saves in the game for Lake Superior.
Notre Dame’s special teams were a key to the win as the Irish killed all seven Laker power-play chances while scoring on two of four power-play chances of their own.
The Irish will again play on the road next weekend when they travel to Western Michigan for a pair of games, Jan. 19-20. Game time both nights in Kalamazoo, Mich., is 7:35 p.m.
** The Irish are now 15-3-1 when they score the first goal of a game.
** The 40 shots on goal were the most for the Irish this season.
** Brown’s 31 saves in the game were the most for the Irish goaltender since opening the season with a 36-save game versus Minnesota State. Brown’s 18 wins are tops in the nation this season.
** With 19 wins this year, the Irish have more wins than they had in the last two years combined. In 2004-05, Notre Dame won five games and last season the Irish had 13 victories for a total of 18.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FNotre Dame (19-4-1/13-2-1) 1 1 2 - 4Lake Superior (13-8-3/7-6-3) 0 0 1 - 1
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; LSSU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; LSSU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; LSSU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 15 - 18 - 7 - 40Lake Superior 5 - 9 - 18 - 32
Goaltender Saves:ND - David Brown (60:00) 5 - 9 - 17 - 31LSSU - Jeff Jakaitis (54:28) 14 - 17 - 5 - 36
Power Plays:ND: 2 for 4LSSU: 0 for 7