Feb. 3, 2007
Bowling Green, Ohio – For the second night in a row, the Bowling Green Falcons gave Notre Dame a tough test at the BGSU Ice Arena for the second night in a row, the Irish managed to pull out a hard-fought, one-goal win, this time by a 2-1 margin.
After giving up eight shots to Bowling Green in the opening period, the Irish defense shut down the Falcons, surrendering just seven shots the rest of the way as Notre Dame out shot BG by a 21-15 margin.
The win improves the second-ranked Irish to 23-5-2 on the year and 17-3-2 in CCHA play as they are now unbeaten in the last five games (4-0-1). Bowling Green falls to 5-24-2 and 3-19-1 in the conference as they have now gone winless in their last 10 games (0-9-1). The Notre Dame win coupled with Nebraska-Omaha’s 3-3 tie with Michigan State clinches a first-round bye for the Irish as UNO has 23 points in fifth place with just six games left while the Irish now have 36 in conference play.
“This was a tough, gritty playoff type of win tonight,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson following the game. “I thought we matched their intensity after the first period. You have to give them credit; they are a tough team to play. I don’t care what people think about the standings. Tonight shows that there isn’t much difference between 12th place and first place.”
The Falcons had the territorial edge in the first period out shooting the Irish by an 8-3 margin. They got the only goal of the period on the power play at 7:19 when Kevin Schmidt’s shot from the center point was deflected past goaltender David Brown by Kantola who was parked in front. The goal was Kantola’s fourth of the season and gave Bowling Green the 1-0 lead.
After trailing to start the second period for just the fifth time this season, the Irish were able to get their offense untracked in the middle stanza.
Bartlett evened the score at 7:31 with his third goal of the season and second of the series. Jason Paige moved the puck from the left wing corner back to the left point to defenseman Brock Sheahan. Sheahan’s wrist shot went through a maze of skaters in front where Bowling Green goaltender Jimmy Spratt made the stop. Bartlett controlled the rebound and tucked it under Spratt to make it 1-1.
The Irish took the lead 2-1 at 14:27 when they capitalized on their sixth power-play chance. Defenseman Kyle Lawson slid a shot from the right point as Deeth moved down the slot. The freshman center redirected the shot between Spratt’s pads for his 13th goal of the season.
“That goal was a team effort for the power play,” said Deeth. “(Kyle) Lawson and (Erik) Condra did a great job getting it up the ice. Kyle then threaded the needle with a great pass and I was able to get my stick on it.”
From there the Irish forwards and defense did the job as they bottled up the Bowling Green attack allowing just three shots in the final period.
“It’s nice to limit the shots the way we did in the third but it’s tough on the goaltender when he isn’t getting much action,” said Jackson. “David (Brown) did a good job of keeping his focus when they had chances and made the stops we needed. He really didn’t have much work after the first period.”
Brown finished with 14 saves in the game while Spratt made 19 stops for the Falcons. Notre Dame was 1-for-8 on the power play while Bowling Green capitalized once on five tries.
The Irish now go into the final six regular season games (four at home, two on the road) looking for their best finish ever in the CCHA. Until then, the win on Saturday at Bowling Green will have to serve as playoff-style test.
“We really needed games like this weekend,” said Deeth. “They showed us that you can’t look past anyone in this league. They are a lot better team than people give them credit for. Bowling Green battled us all the way. The are as good as any other team we’ve played.”
The Irish return to action next weekend, Feb. 9-10, when they play host to the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at the Joyce Center. Game time on Friday night is 7:35 p.m.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#2/#2 Notre Dame (23-5-2/17-3-2) 0 2 0 - 2Bowling Green (5-24-2/3-19-1) 1 0 0 - 1
First Period: BGSU: Kai Kantola 4 (Kevin Schmidt, Jonathan Matsumoto), PPG, 7:19.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BGSU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BGSU: 4 for 8 minutes.
Third Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BGSU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 3 - 8 - 10 - 21Bowling Green 8 - 4 - 3 - 15
Goaltender Saves:ND - David Brown (60:00) 7 - 4 - 3 - 14BGSU - Jimmy Spratt (58:09) 3 - 6 - 10 - 19
Power Plays:ND: 1 for 8BGSU: 1 for 5