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Irish split series over weekend

Justin Schuver | Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The score was the same but the winners reversed as Notre Dame (3-6-4, 2-5-3 in CCHA) split a two-game series with Alaska Fairbanks (6-4-0, 5-3-0) this weekend, winning 3-2 on Friday before falling to the Nanooks 3-2 on Saturday.

“We played well all weekend,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said. “We wanted more than two points.”

Notre Dame’s win Friday was the second consecutive road win for the team, as David Brown made 35 saves on the night, with many of those saves coming on nine UAF power plays. The Nanooks were held scoreless on those power plays.

“I would say it was David’s most consistent game,” Poulin said. “He was really solid. I always tell our guys to just let in one less than the other guy.”

The Irish picked up goals from Tim Wallace, Tony Gill and Jason Paige in the contest. Paige and Wallace’s goals both came on the power play as the Irish went 2-for-5 in the game Friday.

Notre Dame got on the scoreboard first, as Wallace deflected a Brock Sheahan shot past UAF goalie Wylie Rogers at 17:40 of the first period.

The Irish increased their lead in the second period as Gill, the younger brother of last year’s captain Aaron Gill, scored the first collegiate goal of his career at the 13:08 mark of the period.

Noah Babin broke up a UAF rush at the Irish blue line and dumped it along the right wing boards to center where Josh Sciba fed the puck ahead to Wallace. Wallace carried the puck deep and fed it to Gill in the low slot, who then fired a low wrist shot that beat Rogers for the goal.

The Nanooks got back in the game at 18:15 of the second, with defenseman Darcy Camp-bell beating Brown with a slapshot. But it took only 52 seconds for the Irish to respond with their second power play goal of the night.

Mark Van Guild-er slapped a shot from the left wing that Paige was able to deflect past Rogers’ five-hole for a 3-1 Notre Dame lead.

“Our penalty killing was tremendous,” Poulin said. “The special teams are different on the Olympic rink. It’s a very different game. That’s one of the advantages they have up there.”

UAF scored a late goal at 18:07 of the third period as Corbin Schmidt beat Brown with a hard slapshot to the stick side, but the Irish were able to hold on.

Notre Dame picked up the victory despite being outshot 37-16. Brown was especially sharp in the second period, stopping 16 of 17 shots he faced.

The Irish were not as successful Saturday, falling behind 3-1 before rallying late but still losing to the Nanooks 3-2.

Curtis Fraser, Jason Grinevitch and Ryan McLeod all scored goals for UAF against Notre Dame goalie Morgan Cey, who finished with 22 saves.

Fraser scored on a rebound goal in the first period, picking up a power play tally for the Nanooks at the 7:01 mark. Grinevitch scored on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush in the second, slapping a hard shot that beat Cey high to the glove side at 2:05 of the second period.

The Irish broke through on Rogers in the third, as Evan Rankin scored his fourth goal of the season, beating the UAF goalie with a wraparound goal on the power play at the 6:23 mark.

The Nanooks answered right back just 1:26 later as McLeod scored on a 2-on-1 rush. A late goal with 40 seconds remaining by Notre Dame’s Josh Sciba gave the Irish hope, but they fell short in their bid for a third straight road win.

Notre Dame will face the CCHA’s second-place team in Michigan this weekend, taking on the Wolverines in a home-and-home series. The Irish travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. Friday, then return home to face Michigan at the Joyce Center Saturday night.