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Irish hope to get back to tournament

Justin Schuver | Monday, October 4, 2004

Irish coach Dave Poulin took the Irish to the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in the program’s history. Getting the team back to the NCAAs might be the biggest challenge of his career.Irish fans got their first look at this year’s team Sunday afternoon at the Blue-Gold intrasquad scrimmage at the Joyce Center, which the Blue team won by a score of 6-3 over Gold.Matt Williams-Kovacs was awarded the George Komadoski Trophy as the game’s most valuable player, after scoring two goals including the game-winning tally. Mike Walsh, the Blue team’s captain, was awarded the Edward Slaggert Trophy that is given to the winning team of each year’s scrimmage.Every member of the Notre Dame team saw game action, including the nine-member freshman class. Walk-on defenseman Andrew Eggert assisted on a goal and walk-on goalie Terry Robinson picked up the win for Blue, making three saves and holding the Gold team scoreless over the last eight minutes, 58 seconds of the game. “I thought [the freshmen] all handled themselves really well,” Poulin said. “The simple little things like good board play, that’s how we have to handle ourselves on defense so that was good to see.”All in all, I didn’t think anyone looked out of place on the ice, including the walk-ons, so that was real encouraging to see.”The game was played to benefit the Hockey Coaches’ Foundation for cancer research, and each Notre Dame player participated in honor of a family member or friend who had the debilitating disease.”[Cancer] has touched so many of our families and friends,” Poulin said. “It’s a very good cause that we’re happy to play for.”The scrimmage was played with two 20-minute periods, and features a twist designed to allow more offense. Rather than awarding power plays during the game, referees automatically allowed a penalty shot for any infraction called in the offensive zone.Starting goaltenders Morgan Cey and David Brown combined to stop six of those seven penalty shots.”We’re going to be a strong defensive team with Morgan and David in goal,” Poulin said. “I thought they both played well this afternoon.”The Gold team got goals from Tony Gill, Tim Wallace and Josh Sciba. The Blue team was paced by Williams-Kovacs and Mike Walsh, with two goals each, and Brad Wanchulak and Matt Amado with one each.The Blue team outshot the Gold team by a 30-26 margin, with Cey stopping 20 of 23 shots and Robinson stopping the remaining three to pick up the victory.Notre Dame’s season kicks off with a bang this year, as the Irish welcome No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth to the Joyce Center Thursday and Friday for an opening series. The Bulldogs advanced to the Frozen Four last year.”I really liked what I saw out there today,” Poulin said. “We don’t have much time to get prepared with one of the top teams in the country coming in here Thursday night.”