Jan. 6, 2006
Omaha, Neb. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened the second half of the 2005-06 season on the road and turned in one of their best efforts of the season in knocking off the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks by a 4-1 margin in front of a season-high crowd of 6,366 at the Qwest Center.
Junior goaltender David Brown stopped 30 of 31 shots in the win and the Irish got power-play goals from Mike Walsh and Josh Sciba, a short-handed tally from Mark Van Guilder and an even-strength goal from Evan Rankin to win their second game in a row and second in a row away from home.
The Irish win snapped a four-game Maverick winning streak and improves the Irish to 7-11-1 on the year and 5-7-1 in CCHA play. Nebraska-Omaha falls to 11-10-0 overall and 5-8-0 in conference play.
Notre Dame picked up where it left off in the first half of the season on the power play. After going 3-for-7 with the man advantage in the 4-3 win over Lake Superior on Dec. 18, the Irish were 2-for-4 in this one on the power play.
Walsh got the Irish on the scoreboard first with his power-play goal at 13:47 of the opening period.
Van Guilder started the play along the left wing boards as he moved toward the slot and slid the puck to the right wing circle where Sciba fired a shot that deflected off a Maverick defenseman before Walsh bounced it over UNO goaltender Jerad Kaufmann’s glove for his fifth goal of the season.
The Irish are now 6-2-1 on the year when they score the first goal of the game and have now scored first in five of their last seven games.
Sciba and Notre Dame’s power play were back at it again in the second period as the Irish capitalized on a five-minute major penalty for spearing to Nebraska-Omaha’s Joe Grimaldi. This time, Condra moved the puck from behind the Maverick net to Van Guilder on the left wing boards. Van Guilder found Sciba at the center point where he one-timed a blast through a screen in front past Kaufmann for his second goal of the night and his 11th of the season at 11:38.
At 15:43 of the period, Notre Dame’s Matt Amado was whistled off for slashing, but the Irish turned it into a goal as Van Guilder scored short-handed. The Mavericks got a shot off from the right point that was blocked in front of the goal by Notre Dame defenseman Brock Sheahan. His defensive partner, Noah Babin, fired the loose puck off the right wing boards where Van Guilder deflected the puck past a Maverick defenseman and was off to the races. The sophomore right wing snapped a shot past Kaufmann from the bottom of the left wing circle at 16:24 for his third goal of the season and the second Irish shot-handed goal of the year.
The Mavericks finally broke through on Brown with a power-play tally with eight seconds left in the period as Tomas Klempa tucked the rebound of a Dan Charleston shot past the Irish netminder at 19:52 for his seventh goal of the season..
Notre Dame added an insurance goal in the third period as Rankin teamed up with Condra and Sciba for his first goal of the season at 2:42 of the period.
Condra moved it to Rankin behind the Maverick goal and the sophomore right wing carried it out in front and beat Kaufmann to the short side, tucking a shot between the right post and his stick. The goal was Rankin’s first since March 11, 2004.
On the night, Nebraska-Omaha out shot the Irish by a 31-23 margin. With his 30-save night, Brown has now won four of his last six games and has a goals-against average of 1.90 in those six games. Kaufmann made 19 saves for the Mavericks.
The Irish and Mavericks will close out the series on Saturday night at the Qwest Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m. (CST).
** The last time the Irish won back-to-back road games was Nov. 13 and 26, 2004 when they defeated Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks on the road. The current streak started on Dec. 6 with a 3-2 win at Minnesota State.
** With two power-play goals in the game, Notre Dame now has 23 power-play tallies on the year in the first 19 games. Last year the Irish scored 23 power-play goals in 38 games.