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Hockey: Irish split with Ohio State

Chris Khorey | Monday, January 30, 2006

One week after being pulled in a 4-3 come-from behind-win over Northern Michigan, Notre Dame goalie Dave Brown got his redemption against Ohio State.

The junior allowed just one goal over two games as the Irish and Buckeyes split a two-game set, each winning 1-0 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio Friday and Saturday.

“David reacted pretty well to being pulled at Northern,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “He played more [this week] like he had been playing for the past six or seven weeks.”

Brown was pulled against the Wildcats after allowing three goals in the first period and a half. He was replaced by freshman Jordan Pearce, who held Northern Michigan scoreless and allowed the Irish to erase a two-goal deficit. Jackson said the move was intended to be a wake up call for his entire team, not just Brown.

“It got him back on track, but pulling him was more for the rest of the team than for him,” he said. “Dave came back with good focus, and obviously played well this weekend.”

Against the Buckeyes, Brown returned to his old form that has produced six career shutouts, tying him with Morgan Cey for the all-time Notre Dame lead. He made 21 saves Friday and added another 24 Saturday.

On the other side of the ice, Ohio State goalie Dave Caruso matched Brown save for save, holding the Irish to just one goal, which came on a power play Saturday.

“Ohio State’s one of the top defensive teams in the country,” Jackson said. “Part of that’s Caruso, of course, but we out-chanced them Friday night and couldn’t score.”

Ohio State took Friday’s matchup, shutting out the Irish and earning its seventh straight win in the series, a streak that dated back to Nov. 2003. Caruso made 28 saves, allowing few rebounds and stifling a Notre Dame attack that had scored at least two goals in each of its last seven games.

“We were going to the net well, but Caruso didn’t give up any rebounds,” Jackson said. “Even if you go to the net well, if there are no rebounds it doesn’t matter.”

Buckeye right wing Mathieu Beaudoin scored the game’s only goal at 14:28 of the second period when he blasted a shot past Brown from the right face-off circle.

Saturday night, it was Notre Dame’s turn to post a shutout victory. Senior left wing Mike Walsh scored the third game-winner of his career on the power play 3:48 into the second period.

The Buckeyes had a chance to tie as Beaudoin intercepted a pass and skated unchecked towards Brown. The Irish goalie made the save, however, ensuring a Notre Dame victory.

The games were both relatively penalty-free, with only seven power plays Friday and six Saturday between both teams. Jackson said the lack of whistles contributed to a more open, exciting game.

“We had a veteran referee in Steve Piotrowski,” Jackson said. “He knows what’s a penalty and what’s obstruction and what’s not.”

The weekend moved Notre Dame’s record to 9-14-3, 7-10-3 and 10th in the CCHA. Although the Irish ended their seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes, Ohio State still leads the all-time series 25-22-6.

Notre Dame will next be in action Friday against Michigan State at the Joyce Center at 7:35 p.m.