Irish move to sixth in conference
Justin Schuver | Monday, February 16, 2004
The Irish showed no love for Ferris State on Valentine’s Day weekend, collecting a 4-2 win Friday and a 4-1 victory Saturday.An offense that has been rather quiet all year finally started clicking as the Irish scored a combined eight goals in their two wins.Notre Dame collected three goals from its defensemen on Saturday, and even goalie David Brown helped out on the offense with an assist Friday night. “We really worked on getting the puck to the net this week in practice,” Poulin said.The Irish got the puck to the net quickly in both games this weekend, scoring the first goal in each with less than three minutes elapsed in the first period. Also, in a season in which the luck of the Irish simply hasn’t been there, Notre Dame got a few bounces to go their way. Friday the Irish scored a shorthanded goal in what was perhaps one of the strangest plays of the entire season.With the score tied 2-2 in the third period, and the Bulldogs on a power play, Notre Dame was forced to take a faceoff in its defensive zone. Irish forward Jason Smith won the draw and made a short pass to forward T.J. Jindra, who skated the puck into the neutral zone. Jindra then flipped the puck along the center-ice boards, and Ferris State goaltender Mike Brown headed toward the boards to stop it.The puck glanced off a metal scansion and deflected toward the vacated net. Brown tried to get back to stop it, but the puck hit off the wall at a perfect angle and slid down the ice into the empty net.”We finally got a bounce to go our way,” Jindra said after the game. “Anytime you get a goal on the penalty kill it’s a big goal. I just dumped the puck down and got a lucky bounce.”Notre Dame’s special teams came through in a big way this weekend, with Notre Dame’s power play scoring two goals on Saturday, and the team killing all nine Ferris State power plays in the two games, in addition to Jindra’s shortie.When shorthanded, The Irish have been especially solid lately and stretched their streak to 33 straight penalty kills in their last eight games.With the home sweep, Notre Dame also took a step closer toward securing home-ice advantage in the playoffs for the first time since joining the CCHA. The top six finishers in the conference receive home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.”Any time you can get four points at this point in the season, it’s huge,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said. Friday, the Irish got the first goal of the game just 2:53 into the first period, as defenseman Tom Galvin took a shot from the blue line, and it was deflected past Mike Brown by forward Matt Amado. Ferris State would come back to tie the game less than two minutes later, with Derek Nesbitt beating Irish goalie David Brown with a hard slap shot on a 3-on-2. Each team scored a goal on its first shot of the game.The Irish came back to take a lead, this time with Aaron Gill picking up a tally with less than a minute left in the first period. Notre Dame outshot the Bulldogs 16-5, but Mike Brown stifled Irish chances again and again.Ferris State would come back to score the only goal of the second period, taking a 2-2 tie into the intermission, but Notre Dame would come back to score two quick goals in the third. After Jindra’s tally, the Irish whipped a perfect pass to forward Josh Sciba as he came out of the penalty box. Sciba broke in alone on Mike Brown and beat him one-on-one with a quick wrist shot to put the game away for the Irish.”We got a bounce tonight,” Poulin said. “But it was important to take advantage of it. Sciba’s goal might have been even bigger, and that was probably the best penalty we’ve ever taken since we got two goals out of it.”Saturday, Notre Dame got off to an even quicker start, with defensemen Galvin and Neil Komadoski scoring the first two goals. Komadoski and Galvin worked the point positions to perfection all night long, with each senior picking up three points on the night as Galvin had two assists and one goal and Komadoski notched two goals and one assist.The second period had no scoring, but it still featured a key moment in the game. Mike Brown was hit by a shot in the neck at 2:22 and was forced to leave the game. Tom Mueller came into replace Brown, who had played every single minute of the season for Ferris State up until this season.”I was not very happy with our second period,” Poulin said. “There was a kid who came in and hadn’t played a minute, and we seemed to get away from the little things we take pride in.”At the second intermission, I told these guys that I was not going to let an opportunity slip away here.”The Irish answered the call, peppering Mueller with 13 shots in the third, connecting on two of them. Komadoski scored his second goal of the game with a low shot from the blue line while the Irish were on the power play.The senior defenseman picked up his third goal of the season, a career high. Michael Bartlett scored an insurance goal at 14:55 of the period, beating Mueller with a quick low wrister to the glove side after skating left-to-right in front of the net.”We got back to our game in the third period,” Poulin said. “We’re not there yet as a team, but this was still a very good effort, especially going into a break week.”The Irish are off next weekend before facing Michigan in a two-game series at the Joyce Center Feb. 27 and 28.