HOCKEY: Irish take a two-game streak to Miami Ohio
Chris Khorey | Friday, November 18, 2005
After a two-game sweep of Bowling Green that evened its CCHA record at 2-2, the Notre Dame hockey team will travel to Goggin Arena in Oxford, Ohio to take on No. 12 Miami University.
Unfortunately for the Irish, they have not won in Goggin Arena since 2003 and have lost seven of their last 10 games there.
“We don’t like playing there,” Notre Dame defenseman Noah Babin said. “Over the past few years it’s been our downfall. We have a lot of guys on the team who want to get past that little curse.”
Still, this year the Irish have an advantage they did not have in the past – coming into the game riding a winning streak after the sweep of the Falcons.
The two wins last weekend represented the first time Notre Dame had swept a two-day series since Feb. 27-28, 2004 when they beat Michigan. The CCHA victories also snapped a nineteen game conference winless streak for the Irish.
Babin said winning early under first year head coach Jeff Jackson has improved morale at a program that hadn’t won a game since Jan. 2 coming into the season.
“[The sweep] was huge,” Babin said. “We really needed confidence in ourselves as a group of people. We showed everyone in the league that there’s something here.”
Babin was awarded CCHA Defenseman of the Week honors this week after recording three assists in the two games against the Falcons.
After a 2004-05 season in which they struggled to find the net, the Irish have been explosive on offense this season. Over the last four games they’re averaging 5.0 goals per game.
Last season, Wes O’Neill and Josh Sciba led the team with six goals each. This year, Sciba has six goals in only eight games and Matt Amado and Tim Wallace both already have five.
Overall, the Irish have compiled a record of 3-5-0 this season. However, four of those losses have come to No. 1 Michigan, No. 3 Colorado College and No. 13 Denver.
Jackson has rotated freshman Jordan Pearce and junior Dave Brown between the pipes so far this season. Both have played well in spurts. Pearce was given two straight starts last week, but Brown started the 4-2 victory over Bowling Green Friday and shut out the Falcons for two periods.
Jackson said after Saturday’s game that the reason Pearce started Thursday was that he has a light academic schedule on Thursdays and Brown has few classes on Fridays.
The Redhawks, who will be playing only their second home game of the season, come into the contest 6-2-0 overall and 5-1-0 in the CCHA. They lost to North Dakota to begin the season, but then won six straight before falling 3-2 to Lake Superior State Saturday.
Notre Dame and Miami will meet again later this season Jan. 13-14 at the Joyce Center.
This weekend’s games are both scheduled to face off at 7:35 p.m.
u Jackson signed right winger Christian Minella to the 2005 recruiting class Thursday. Minella will join the Irish, along with early signees Kevin Deeth, Kyle Lawson, and Ryan Thang, for the 2006-07 season.
“We are pleased to add a player like Christian Minella to the Notre Dame hockey program,” Jackson said. “He brings size and speed to our roster.”