Nov. 11, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. – Freshman right wing Ryan Thang scored two goals and added one assist for the first three-point night of his career to lead the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a 5-2 win over Bowling Green at the Joyce Center on Friday night.
Notre Dame got single goals from Mark Van Guilder, Josh Sciba (ppg) and Kevin Deeth (ppg) on the night as the Irish ran their current unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) since Oct. 20. Sophomore right wing Erik Condra added three assists on the night. The Falcons got goals from Kevin Schmidt and Tomas Petruska to knot the game at 2-2 after two periods of play.
The Irish are now 7-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in CCHA play while Bowling Green goes to 3-5-1 on the year and 1-4-0 in conference action. The seven-game unbeaten string is the longest for the Irish since winning 14 straight from Dec. 11 to Feb. 13, 1987-88.
Bowling Green did something in this game that no one else has done against the Irish all season long and that was score in the first period as the Falcons took a 1-0 lead at 10:14 when Schmidt combined with Todd McIlrath on a give-and-go for his first goal of the season.
The lead lasted just 14 seconds as Van Guilder evened the score at 10:28 when he knocked a puck out of the air past goaltender Eddie Neville from the left side of the goal for his seventh of the season.
“I missed a couple of good chances earlier in the period so I had to get one back,” said Van Guilder. “The puck was in the air and I just took a whack at it and hoped it went in. I got lucky when it hit the far post and went in.
Thang would put the Irish ahead 2-1 at the 16:20 mark of the opening stanza as he took a feed from Condra in the left wing face-off circle and pick the upper corner, beating Neville over his stick hand for his fifth of the year.
“I was just thinking drive to the net,” said the freshman right wing. ” Condra had the puck and saw me go wide and gave me a great pass. I wanted to go to the net, but came across and went top shelf for the goal.”
The Falcons got the equalizer at 6:24 of the second period off a flurry around goaltender David Brown’s net. The Irish goaltender made stops on Derek Whitmore and Jonathan Matsumoto but couldn’t control the puck. Petruska got the third rebound and his shot went off a pile of players in front for the only goal of the second period and a 2-2 tie.
“I thought that we were skating in quicksand the first two periods tonight,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “I take responsibility for getting the team ready. We struggled last year on Friday nights and I’m doing everything I can to find away for us to be sharper on Fridays, but we weren’t sharp tonight.
He continued, “Give BG credit, they worked hard, they clogged things up and they were quick in transition. That put us back on our heels and we didn’t protect the puck. We gave it away to easy and they have some guys who are quick and took advantage of that.
The Irish came to life in the third period, scoring three times, twice on the power play and once as a penalty expired, going two-for-five in the period with the man-advantage.
Thang scored what would be the game winner at 5:39, just as a minor penalty to Brandon Svendsen came to an end. The game winner was the third in nine games for Thang as half his goals this year have decided games. Condra set this one up with his second assist of the night.
“Ryan is the kind of player that coaches love,” said Jackson. “He plays physical, he plays intense and he plays smart. He did a lot of little things well tonight. When you have a guy going the way he was, you try to get him on the ice more. I used him four-on-four, I used him on PK tonight and he took advantage of it. He was really sharp.”
The final two goals came on the power play as Sciba scored from the left hash mark on the power play at 7:54 to build the lead to 4-2 and Deeth closed the scoring with a power-play tally at 17:58 for the final of 5-2.
“The power-play chances were a result of us finally moving our feet in the third period,” said Jackson. “We drew penalties and took advantage of the power plays. We started getting the puck to the net, started having a physical presence in front and that made it more effective for us.”
After giving up 23 shots in the first two periods to Bowling Green, the Irish held the Falcons to just three in the final period and finished the night out shooting BG by a 33-26 margin. Brown finished with 24 saves in the game while Neville had 28.
Notre Dame was two-for-nine with the power play while Bowling Green was scoreless in five chances. The two teams will close out the weekend series on Saturday night at the Joyce Center. Face-off is set for 7:05 p.m.
** The Irish are now 4-0-1 in the last five meetings with Bowling Green.
** The last time Notre Dame started the season with a 7-1-1 record was 1998-99 when they were 7-1-1 after the first nine games. The Irish won their 10th game that season to go to 8-1-1.
** Mark Van Guilder has seven goals in the first nine games this year. He had eight goals (a career high) last year in 36 games.
** All three of Josh Sciba’s goals this season have come on the power play. He now has 33 career goals with 18 of them coming via the power play.
Summary: 1 2 3 FBowling Green (3-5-1/1-4-0) 1 1 0 2Notre Dame (7-1-1/2-0-1) 2 0 3 5
Penalties: BGSU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: BGSU: Tomas Petruska 4 (Jonathan Matsumoto, Derek Whitmore), 6:24.
Penalties: BGSU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: BGSU: 5 for 10 minutes; ND: 4 for 8 minutes.
Shots on Goal:Bowling Green 14 - 9 - 3 - 26Notre Dame: 13 - 10 - 10 - 33
Saves:Bowling Green: Eddie Neville (60:00) 11 - 10 - 7 - 28Notre Dame: David Brown (60:00) 13 - 8 - 3 - 24
Power Plays:Bowling Green: 0 for 5Notre Dame: 2 for 9