October 11, 1996

Irish Hockey Opens With Comeback Victory Over Western Ontario

Notre Dame, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame hockey team used third period goals from freshman Joe Dusbabek and senior Ben Nelsen to open its season with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the University of Western Ontario in non-conference exhibition action Friday night at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

The Mustangs opened the scoring at the 14:14 mark of the first period when Brian Grieve tallied his first goal of the year on the power play. Grieve took a pass from teammate Mike Flammia at the right point and put the puck past a sliding Matt Eisler to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.

Western Ontario (1-2) had another excellent scoring chance when on a 2-on-1 break at the Irish blueline late in the opening period but Jason Heywood’s shot clanged off the post. The game then became a defensive struggle with neither team scoring in the second period.

The visitors maintained their 1-0 lead heading into the third period and the Irish responded to their first challenge of the young season. Dusbabek scored his first collegiate goal to tie the game with just over 15 minutes remaining. Dusbabek received the puck just inside the blueline from sophomore Aniket Dhadphale and proceeded to weave his way into the high slot before wristing the game-tying shot past Mustang goalie C.J. Denomme, high to the blocker side.

The Irish didn’t waste anytime before adding what proved to the decisive goal, as Nelsen picked up a bouncing puck inside the Mustang zone and slid it underneath a sprawling Denomme at the 5:29 mark.

After taking the lead the Irish clamped down on defense and shut out the Mustangs the rest of the way. Junior goaltender Eisler made nine of his 22 saves in the final period, including stopping Matt Munro on consecutive point blank shots and a save that thwarted a Rob Schweyer breakaway.

The win avenged last year’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Guelph Gryphons,another Canadian universiy team.