Feb. 10, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. –
Freshman center Kevin Deeth scored two goals and the Irish got single goals from Justin White and T.J. Jindra as top-ranked Notre Dame scored four goals in the third period on the way to a 4-2 win over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in front of a sold-out Joyce Center on Friday night.
With the score tied 2-2 and time running out, Deeth walked out from behind the net and tucked a shot around Maverick goaltender Jeremie Dupont to give the Irish a 3-2 lead with just 10 seconds left on the clock. Jindra closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2.3 seconds left for the 4-2 win. The Mavericks got goals from Jeric Agosta and Dan Charleston in the final period as all six goals came in the third period.
“The goal came off a great effort by Ryan Thang forechecking down low,” said Deeth following the game. “He had two guys on him and I was there for support. He made a nice play to chip it out of the pile. I just got my tape on it and tried to wrap it around and pretty much closed my eyes, hoping it went in. I didn’t see it go in, I just saw it in the back of the net. It was a little bit of a lucky goal for all the hard work of Ryan Thang.”
Thang’s hard work and Deeth’s goal scoring talents helped Notre Dame run its current unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1) and improved the Irish to 24-5-2 on the year and 18-3-2 in the CCHA. Coupled with Michigan’s loss to Bowling Green, Notre Dame now has a six-point lead in its drive for a first-ever CCHA regular-season title. Nebraska-Omaha is now 13-13-7 overall and 10-10-3 in conference play.
For two periods, neither team could score as the Irish and Mavericks each had 12 shots through 40 minutes of play as tight checking and solid goaltending dominated play.
“This is playoff hockey. That’s what happens this time of the year,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson. “Everyone is playing passionate for positioning and Nebraska did that tonight. I thought they did a great job defensively in containing us and bottling us up. There wasn’t a whole lot of offense out there tonight in the first two periods.”
The Irish finally broke through on Dupont at the 1:43 mark of the third period. Defenseman Noah Babin kept the puck in at the right point getting the puck to Deeth who fired a shot from the high slot that missed the net. Erik Condra played the puck off the back boards and Dupont stopped his shot. Deeth jumped on the rebound and fired it past Dupont for his 14th goal of the season.
That lead would last just over two minutes when Nebraska-Omaha tied the game. Defenseman Mark Bernier carried the puck into the Irish zone and fired a high shot on Irish goaltender David Brown. Brown made the save but the rebound found its way to Agosta who drilled a wrister from the slot that beat Brown for his fourth goal of the season at 3:55.
The Mavericks would take the lead just 57 seconds later on the power play. Defenseman Ed Del Grosso’s shot from the slot missed the net to the right of Brown. Tomas Klempa played the puck off the backboards and fed the puck to Charleston at the bottom of the right wing circle. Charleston snapped a shot over Brown’s glove for his 10th goal of the season at 4:52.
Nebraska-Omaha would protect the lead until the 11:02 mark when Notre Dame would capitalize on a power-play chance. With Mark Van Guilder parked in front of the Mavs’ net, White drilled a low hard shot from the top of the right circle that beat Dupont low to the ice. The goal was White’s second of the season.
“The power play was working the puck but we weren’t getting any shots,” explained White. “I saw Mark Van Guilder sitting in front so I thought I would throw one on net. I got lucky and it went in. It felt good to be able to contribute tonight.”
“The depth of our team has been one of the keys to our success,” said Jackson. “Danny Kissel has been productive, Justin White was tonight, the whole line played well tonight. When I shortened the bench, Justin went in. He’s improved a great deal this season and he’s got a good shot with offensive talent and he’s a smart player. Good for him. I’m happy for him.”
The game stayed tied 2-2 as the clock ran towards overtime before Deeth and Thang teamed up for the goal that would put the Irish ahead 3-2 at the 19:50 mark. The goal was Deeth’s 15th of the season.
Jindra would close out the night off the ensuing face off. Jason Paige won the draw to defenseman Kyle Lawson. The freshman defenseman moved it to Jindra who drove the puck into the open net at 19:57 for his second goal of the year.
On the night, the Irish out shot the Mavericks by a 25-16 margin with 13 shots coming in the final period. Dupont finished with 21 saves while Brown had 14 in picking up his 23rd win of the season.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at the Joyce Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and the contest is sold-out. The game can be seen live on Comcast Channel 3 in South Bend.
** Notre Dame’s sellout crowd of 2,763 was the third in a row and the fifth in the last six games for the Irish.
** The Irish now have 24 wins on the season, the second highest win total in the program’s history. Only the 1987-88 team that was 27-4-2, playing as a Division I independent had a better record.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FNebraska-Omaha (13-13-7/10-10-3) 0 0 2 - 2#1/#1 Notre Dame (24-5-2/18-3-2) 0 0 4 - 4
First Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: UNO: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Kevin Deeth 14 (Noah Babin, Erik Condra), 1:43; UNO: Jeric Agosto 4 (Mark Bernier), 3:55; UNO: Dan Charleston 10 (Tomas Klempa, Ed Del Grosso), PPG, 4:52; ND: Justin White 2 (Wes O'Neill, Noah Babin), PPG, 11:02; ND: Deeth 15 (Ryan Thang), 19:50; ND: T.J. Jindra 2 (Kyle Lawson, Jason Paige), ENG, 19:57.
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Nebraska-Omaha 5 - 7 - 4 - 16Notre Dame 6 - 6 - 13 - 25
Goaltender Saves:UNO - Jeremie Dupont (59:53) 6 - 6 - 9 - 21ND - David Brown (59:54) 5 - 7 - 2 - 14
Power Plays:UNO: 1 for 3ND: 1 for 5
Attendance: 2,763 (sellout)