Feb. 2, 2007
Bowling Green, Ohio – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish got power-play goals from Dan Kissel and Ryan Thang and senior Michael Bartlett notched the game winner as the Irish held off a determined Bowling Green squad on Friday night for a 3-2 win at the BGSU Ice Arena.
The Falcons got solid goaltending from Jimmy Spratt and goals from Brandon Svendsen and James Unger in the one-goal loss.
Senior goaltender David Brown stopped 18 of 20 shots in the game, including six in the third period to preserve the win.
The second-ranked Irish are now 22-5-2 overall and 16-3-2 in CCHA play while the Falcons, winless in their last nine games (0-8-1) fall to 5-23-2 on the year and 3-18-1 in conference play.
“I thought that Bowling Green played hard and really kept us on our heels,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “They were very aggressive and played as hard as anyone we’ve face this year.”
Notre Dame took advantage of the Falcons aggressiveness, turning a pair of early BG penalties into power-play goals 59 seconds apart in the opening period.
Bowling Green’s Tommy Dee was whistled off for charging at 3:08 and Jeremy Bronson followed at 4:22 for tripping and the Irish capitalized.
Kissel gave Notre Dame its first goal on the five-on-three chance as he took a goal mouth feed from Mark Van Guilder on the right side of the crease and tucked it behind Spratt for his sixth goal of the season at 4:45.
Thang would make it 2-0 at 5:44 on the five-on-four portion of the power play when he redirected Brett Blatchford’s pass at the right post behind Spratt for his team-high 16th goal of the season.
“The power play has been our focus for the last month,” said Jackson. “We haven’t been consistent and that’s an area that you have to be good this time of the season. It was good to get a couple early in the game.”
The Falcons were able to cut the lead to 2-1 at 14:03 of the opening stanza when Brandon Svendsen fired the rebound of a Todd McIlrath shot under the cross bar over Brown’s right shoulder for his fifth goal of the season.
Bowling Green kept up the aggressive play in the second period and scored the tying goal at the 4:22 mark. John Mazzei carried the puck through the slot and fired a shot that Brown stopped but the Irish goaltender could not control the rebound. Unger swooped in and was able to lift the puck over the sprawling goaltender for his second goal of the season. A senior, Unger now has 10 career points against the Irish (6g, 4a).
The score stayed tied until the final minute of the period when the Irish took the lead for good. Bartlett got the eventual game winner when he scored off a scramble in front of Spratt at 19:01 for his second goal of the season, snapping a 24-game goal-less drought. Jason Paige set the play in motion when he fired a wrister from the right wing circle that Spratt could not control.
“I was able to get inside the defenseman and get a shot at the puck,” said Bartlett. “That was a big goal. It helped change the things and got us going again. Our line (with fellow seniors T.J. Jindra and Jason Paige) talks about it all the time, doing whatever it takes to get things going and we did tonight.”
Brown made the one-goal lead stand up in the third as he stopped all six Bowling Green scoring chances, including a breakaway bid by Svendsen midway through the period. Brown stopped his wrist shot from the bottom of the left wing circle to preserve the win.
“These games are tough to play in when you aren’t getting a lot of shots,” said Jackson. “David made the saves when we needed them at the end. I tell him not to worry about goals against and save percentage just get the win. That’s all that matters to me.”
Game two of the series will be played on Saturday night at the Bowling Green Ice Arena. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.
** Notre Dame’s 16 CCHA wins are the most in the program’s history. The Irish have won 15 games twice (1981-82 and 1998-99).
** The Irish have killed 33 of the last 34 opponent power play chances.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#2/#2 Notre Dame (22-5-2/16-3-2) 2 1 0 - 3Bowling Green (5-23-2/3-18-1) 1 1 0 - 2
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; BGSU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BGSU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; BGSU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 9 - 12 - 11 - 32Bowling Green 4 - 10 - 6 - 20
Goaltender Saves:ND - David Brown (60:00) 3 - 9 - 6 - 18BGSU - Jimmy Spratt (59:23) 7 - 11 - 11 - 29
ND: 2 for 4
BGSU: 0 for 1