Jan. 25, 1997

No. 8 St. Cloud Holds Off Notre Dame 2-1

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman left wing Mike Rucinski andsophomore right wing Jason Goulet scored in the first 25 minutes andjunior goalie Brian Leitza made the narrow lead hold up as theeighth-ranked St. Cloud State defeated Notre Dame 2-1, in non-conferencehockey action Saturday at the Joyce Center.

The third line again led the way for St. Cloud (15-8-3), as Rucinskiscored midway through the first, of an assist from Goulet, beforeRucinski set up a score by Goulet early in the second for what proved tobe the game-winner.

Goulet and freshman center Matt Noga also scored in Friday’s 5-2loss to the Irish, giving the Huskies third line all four St. Cloudgoals in the weekend series.

Notre Dame (8-16-1) missed out on a chance to equal last season’swin total (with 10 games still remaining) and also missed theopportunity to post the program’s first three-game win streak since1993-94.

St. Cloud outshot the hosts for the second straight night, 22-18,marking Notre Dame’s third-lowest shot total of the season and lowest in15 games (since a 17-shot effort at Boston College on Nov. 8). TheIrish failed to maintain their recent offensive fire, having scored 15goals in the previous three games heading into Saturday’s action.

The Huskies opted to start junior goaltender Brian Leitz, afterstarting sophomore Tim Lideen on Friday, and the Lake Villa, Ill. nativeresponded with 17 saves while helping St. Cloud thwart six of sevenIrish power-play chances.

Notre Dame junior goalie Matt Eisler continued his stellar play,making 20 saves while lowering his season goals against average to 3.27(lowest by an Irish netminder since 1971). Eisler has allowed just fivegoals in his last three games.

Irish freshman Ben Simon was involved in two of the biggest plays ofthe game, experiencing highs and lows in a span of just three minutes. The U.S. junior national team member cut the lead to 2-1 at the 15:24mark of the second period, after skating to the left circle and blastinga power-play shot through the legs of Huskies goaltender Brian Leitza.

Minutes later, Simon was slapped with a five-minute major penaltyfor hitting from behind and was forced to miss the remainder of the gamedue to the corresponding game misconduct penalty. Simon collided intothe back boards with St. Cloud defenseman Josh DeWolf at the 18:07 mark,with DeWolf crumpling to the ice after the hit.

DeWolf, who ironically would have been a teammate of Simon’s on theU.S. junior national team if not for an injury, remained flat on the icefor 10 minutes before returning to his feet and being helped off theice. Due to the excessive delay, the game headed into the secondintermission with 1:53 remaining in the second period and the teamsplayed the remainder of the second period to begin the third period.

The visitors failed to capitalize on the five-minute major, whichincluded a 4:14 power-play stretch, managing just two shots on goal.

Notre Dame managed just six shots on goal in the first period anddidn’t fare any better in the second, as the Irish didn’t record their10th shot of the game until Simon’s goal. the second period featuredjust three shots from each team in the first 14 minutes of the period.

St. Cloud took a 1-0 lead at the 11:26 mark of the second period,when freshman Rucinski took a pass from Goulet near the right boards,skated into the slot and faked a shot before beating Eisler to the upperleft corner.

The third line continued to produce for the Huskies in the openingminutes of the second period, with Rucinski sliding a short pass in theslot for Goulet, who one-touched a shot from the left side of the creaseinto the upper right corner of the net (3:31).

Leitza made several noteworthy saves in the final minutes. With6:30 remaining, Notre Dame’s Brian Urick was open at the top of thecrease but Leitza made the save off his pads. With a minute and a halfto play, Brian McCarthy skated free down the left wing and fired a shotto the five-hole but Leitza had his stick ready for the save. Irishdefenseman Ben Nelson had the final chance of the game, with sevenseconds left to play, sending a shot from the top of the circle thatLeitza stopped with a kick save off his right skate.

In other action Saturday involving Centeral Collegiate HockeyAssociation teams, Ohio State (5-13-0) pulled off a 3-2 upset atfifth-place Michigan to pull even with Alaska-Fairbanks (5-17-0) forninth place in the CCHA, just a point back of 5-11-1 Notre Dame (the topeight teams advance to the CCHA Tournament). Michigan (14-1-2) downedMiami, 3-0, dropping the Redskins (13-6-0) into third-place while LakeSuperior (12-5-3) moved into sole possession of second place afterskating to a 1-1 tie at Western Michigan. That tie allowed WMU (5-8-4)to extend its lead on the Irish to three points.

Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin: “It was a terrific effort. Too many penalties obviously. …But all in all a terrific effort, aterrific effort by Matt Eisler. You hold a quality team like that totwo goals tonight and two goals last night. We need to score somegoals, though. We had the chances…We are going to take a lot ofpositives from this weekend. That we can play. That we can flat-outplay if we set our minds to it and stay focused… We passed the puckextremely well, we created a lot of offensive chances, we did a good jobin the neutral zone. On the tapes I watched, St. Cloud had probably 15breakaways against Minnesota. We didn’t up a single one. That’sterrific defensive play and terrific neutral zone play. Our transitiongame was really good… The penalty kill was good, but the power playmoved the puck as well as we have. They really zipped passes. We justgotta score… I really hope (this weekend was a step towards nationalprominence), I really do. We’ll know better as we go, but I reallythink this was a huge step for us. I like a lot of things I saw heretoday. They’ve ste the standard now. As they continue to increase thestandard, I can demand it. They are starting to believe that they havewhat they have.”

ST CLOUD STATE    1     1     0   -   2NOTRE DAME        0     1     0   -   1

1st – SCS 1. Rucinski 2 (J. Goulet) 11:46, 2nd – SCS 2. J. Goulet 11 (Ruckinski) 3:31; ND 1. Simon 3 (Fraser) 15:24.
Shots on Goal: SCS 11-4-7/22, ND 6-5-7/18. Saves: SCS (Leitza) 6-4-7/17, ND (Eisler) 10-3-7/20.
Power Play: SCS 0-for-5, ND 1-for-7. Penalties: SCS 9 for 18:00, ND 8 for 27:00.

St. Cloud State Huskies: 3- Geno Parrish, 5- George Awada, 7- Andy Vicari, 9- Matt Cullen, 10- Matt Bailey, 11- Mike O’Connel, 14- Sacha Molin, 15- Rob Klasnick, 16- Matt Noga, 17- Mike Maristuen, 19- Jason Goulet, 21- Mark Parrish, 22- Josh DeWolf, 23- Jason Stewart, 24- Kyle McLaughlin, 26- Dave Paradise, 28- Randy Best, 30- Tim Lideen, 31- Brian Leitza, 33- Mike Rucinski.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 1- Matt Eisler, 2- Nathan Borega, 6- Tyson Fraser, 8- Ben Simon, 9- Aniket Dhadphale, 11- Lyle Andrusiak, 13- Brian McCarthy, 15- Brian Urick, 17- Tim Harberts, 18- Sean Seyferth, 19- Troy Bagne, 20- Neal Johnson, 21- Steve Noble, 22- Craig Hagkull, 24- Sean Molina, 25- Benoit Cotnoir, 27- Ben Nelsen, 29- Terry Lorenz, 30 Erik Berg, 31- Forrest Karr, 33- Joe Dusbabek.

SCORING1st PeriodSCS 1.  Rucinski 2 (Goulet)             [17-18-20-22-27]    11:462nd PeriodSCS 2.  Goulet 11 (Rucinski, O'Connel)  [13-19-21-24-25]     3:31ND 1.   Simon 3 (Fraser), PP            [21-25-33]          15:24PENALTIES1st PeriodSCS 1.  Cullen (interference)                        8:43SCS 2.  Awada (roughing)                            12:20ND 1.   Urick (tripping) called by linesman         14:05ND 2.   Andrusiak (delay of game)                   16:39SCS 3.  Cullen (slashing)                           16:51        2nd PeriodND 3.   Urick (interference)                         5:19SCS 4.  M. Parrish(interference)                     5:33ND 4.   Dusbabek (slashing)                          8:39SCS 5.  Awada (slashing)                             8:39SCS 6.  McLaughlin (cross checking) *ND goal*       14:03SCS 7.  G. Parrish (roughing)                       16:53ND 5.   Simon (check from behind) served by Hagkull 18:07ND 6.   Simon (game misconduct)                     18:07ND 7.   Dusbabek (roughing)                         18:07SCS 8.  Leitza (slashing) served by Klasnick        18:073rd PeriodND 8.   Andrusiak (interference)                     5:26SCS 9.  Klasnick (tripping)                          8:09