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Notre Dame ties Minnesota-Duluth, 2-2

Justin Schuver | Friday, October 8, 2004

Against a Minnesota-Duluth team with 11 seniors, it was the Irish upperclassmen who played biggest of all.Senior forward Cory McLean scored a goal and senior goalie Morgan Cey made 38 saves as the Irish opened the 2004-05 season in a 2-2 tie with No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth.”Overall I was particularly pleased with our effort,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said. “[Minnesota-Duluth] had a lot of seniors coming back and they certainly merit their ranking.”The Irish open the season hoping to return to the NCAA tournament after making their first tournament appearance in team history last year. Two factors helped lead to Notre Dame’s successful NCAA bid – a competitive non-conference schedule and a solid home record.The Irish are off to a good start in both respects this season, as they either won or tied at the Joyce Center for the 15th straight regular season game dating back to the team’s home-opening loss to Bowling Green last season.Another reason for Notre Dame’s success in the 2003-04 season was solid goaltending, and that has also continued so far this season. Cey was especially strong in the third period and overtime, when the Irish were outshot 23-9.”I felt well out there,” Cey said. “Some people were wondering how we were going to replace our veteran defense from last year and I thought our defense did a remarkable job out there tonight.”They did a good job of letting me see the puck and I’m excited for this season – we looked good on defense and our forwards looked good as well. This was a real all-around effort by the team tonight.”Poulin was concerned about how the Irish would respond to rule changes instituted by the NCAA this year, in which referees were asked to be more diligent in calling penalties. Those changes materialized in the final stats, with a total of 23 penalties called between the two teams, including two major penalties of five minutes.Notre Dame’s penalty kill was 1-for-12 on the night, while Minnesota-Duluth finished the game 1-for 11.”Penalty kill is always important but this year it’s especially important with the referees cracking down [on calling more penalties],” Irish forward and penalty kill team member Jason Paige said. “We not only have to take pride in our penalty kill, but it’s something we have to excel at.”Penalties against both teams helped lead to Notre Dame’s first goal, as Josh Sciba scored on a hard slapshot from the blue line 7 minutes, 5 seconds into the first period while the teams skated four-on-four.The Bulldogs came right back a little more than three minutes later when Minnesota-Duluth bounced the puck off the end boards and it came right back to Josh Miskovich, who beat Cey with a low shot through the legs.The Irish came back in the second with their first power play goal of the season. McLean skated the puck in from the left boards and wristed a low shot short side from the left face-off dot to beat Minnesota-Duluth goalie Isaac Reichmuth.Notre Dame tried to maintain its lead in the third period, but a five-minute major and game misconduct by freshman forward Victor Oreskovich gave Minnesota-Duluth a long power play and the Bulldogs took advantage with 7:33 left in the game.From behind Cey’s net, Evan Schwabe made a perfect centering pass to Tim Stapleton, who beat the Irish goalie top shelf as he tried to slide over from the post to make the save.The two teams face off again tonight at the Joyce Center with the puck drop scheduled for 7:35 p.m.