Feb. 24, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish wrapped up the 2007 regular season on Saturday night by honoring their senior class in ceremonies following the game. They also got a chance to show off the CCHA regular season championship trophy and unfurl a new banner for the rafters of the Joyce Center.
Before any of that happened though, there was a game to be played versus Ferris State and the Irish senior class rose to the occasion in the 2-0 win over the Bulldogs. Senior goaltender David Brown recorded his fifth shutout of the season to set a Notre Dame single-season record and fellow senior Jason Paige scored the only goal he would need in the second period. Mark Van Guilder added an insurance goal in the third with assists going to seniors T.J. Jindra and Tom Sawatske.
The win closed the regular season for the top ranked Irish as they improved to 27-6-3 overall and 21-4-3 in conference play. The 27 wins equals a Notre Dame record for wins in a season set in the 1987-88 season as a Division I independent. Ferris State falls to 13-20-3 for the year and 10-16-2 in the CCHA. The Bulldogs finish ninth in the regular season standings.
Notre Dame will have a bye in the first round of the CCHA playoffs and will host a second round series on March 9-11 against the lowest remaining seed in next week’s first round.
The Irish were presented their first-ever CCHA championship trophy following Saturday’s regular-season finale.
“We have to be satisfied with winning the game, 2-0,” said head coach Jeff Jackson following the senior ceremonies. “As long as we play well and defend our own end and do as well as we did tonight protecting the puck, those are the things we have to do to win. For us to rebound from last night (a 5-2 loss on Friday night) was really important for us going into the playoffs.”
The Irish came out in the opening period and threw everything they had at Ferris State goaltender Derek MacIntyre, out shooting the Bulldogs by a 16-3 margin, but the game remained scoreless after one period.
In the second period, Notre Dame broke through with a power-play goal at 10:55 off the stick of Paige. With the Irish pressing in the Ferris State zone, Ryan Thang tried to stuff a puck in from the left side of MacIntyre. The big goaltender was able to stop that shot but the rebound ended up on Kevin Deeth’s stick on the right side. The freshman got a shot off that was stopped but Paige was able to get a stick on it in the crease and push it behind MacIntyre for his ninth goal of the season.
After two periods, the Irish had a 26-8 edge in the shots but led just 1-0. The lead would go to 2-0 just 1:25 into the second period as Notre Dame would score in transition.
Sawatske broke up a Ferris State rush inside the Irish blue line and fed the puck ahead to Jindra who slid the puck to Van Guilder at the Bulldog line. Van Guilder whipped a shot from the high slot the carried over MacIntyre’s catching glove for the two-goal lead. The goal was Van Guilder’s 17th of the season, a career high, and tied him for the team lead with Thang.
From there it was up to Brown and the defense to hold off the Bulldogs and that mission was accomplished.
“It was huge for us to be able to bounce back after last night’s game,” said Brown who set Notre Dame single-season marks for wins (25) and shutouts (5) in the win.
“I felt like I let the team down on Friday night and tonight I wanted to play well for the team. The guys played great for me, blocking shots, battling in front of the net. Tonight’s game was a great team effort and I’m just glad that I was able to help us get this win.”
The Irish out shot the Bulldogs, 35-15, in the game with MacIntyre finishing the night with 33 saves. Brown had 15 saves in the victory.
“Tonight may have been our best game in awhile,” said Jackson. “We were patient and executed with the puck. We got better at valuing the possession of the puck, which makes us a better team. This kind of game is what we are going to see in the playoffs. We could face them again in two weeks. We’re going to have to be prepared to play tough, gritty hockey against good goaltending and top defensive teams.”
Following the game, CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos was on hand to present the team with the CCHA regular-season championship trophy. Jindra hit the button that dropped the banner from the roof behind the band.
“Watching that banner come down was awesome,” said Brown. “It’s been and awesome ride. We are proud with what we have accomplished as a team as a whole. Now we have to move forward. We’ve accomplished a lot this year, but there is so much more for us to do this season.”
The Irish now break for their first round bye and will play host to the lowest remaining seed in the second round of the playoff from March 9-11.
** Notre Dame’s sellout crowd of 2,763 was the sixth in a row and the eighth in the last nine games for the Irish.
** David Brown finished the regular season with a 25-5-3 record and a 1.68 goals-against average with a .927 save percentage. He also has five shutouts.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FFerris State (13-20-3/10-16-2) 0 0 0 - 0#1/#1 Notre Dame (27-6-3/21-4-3) 0 1 1 - 2
Scoring First Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: FSU: 5 for 10 minutes; ND: 5 for 18 minutes.
Penalties: FSU: 4 for 8 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: FSU: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Ferris State 3 - 5 - 7 - 15Notre Dame 16 - 10 - 9 - 35
Goaltender Saves:FSU - Derek MacIntyre (59:28) 16 - 9 - 8 - 33ND - David Brown (60:00) 3 - 5 - 7 - 15
Power Plays: FSU: 0 for 5
ND: 1 for 6
Attendance: 2,763 (sellout)