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Hockey: Quick work made of Nebraska-Omaha

Justin Schuver | Friday, October 31, 2003

Blink and you might have missed it.

Notre Dame took care of business at home Thursday night against Nebraska-Omaha in a game that took only a little over two hours and included only one penalty call.

The Irish took advantage of the free-flowing game by scoring two goals in the first period en route to a 4-2 win over the Mavericks.

“I thought the referee did a good job both ways of letting the play go pretty much,” Poulin said. “It’s something I like, really. I don’t like special teams. This game was designed to be played five-on-five.”

Goalie Morgan Cey was impressive in his season debut, stopping 29-of-31 shots before leaving with less than a minute left in the game after Maverick forward Andrew Wong crashed into him during a late Nebraska-Omaha goal. Irish coach Dave Poulin said that Cey was fine and was removed as a precaution.

Freshman David Brown replaced Cey and made one save in the third period while Nebraska-Omaha emptied its net to get an extra attacker.

The line of Cory McLean, Mike Walsh and Aaron Gill paced the Irish offensively. Gill collected three points on one goal and two assists, McLean had two goals and Walsh had two assists.

Notre Dame was looking to get its momentum going after winning two games over the break, including a 1-0 win over then-No. 1 Boston College Saturday.

“There’s that subconscious follow up question about what’s going to happen after a big win like that,” Poulin said.

Despite scoring two goals in the first period, the Irish were lucky to keep Nebraska-Omaha off the board. Notre Dame had several turnovers in their defensive zone, but Cey was equal to the task.

“I thought [Morgan] played very well,” Poulin said. “I would have liked to have seen him just give up one goal, but Omaha’s a good hockey team and they really battled very hard.”

McLean got the Irish on the board halfway through the first period when he followed up a rebound of a Brett Lebda shot.

Gill would increase the Irish lead to two with just eight seconds remaining in the first period. Walsh managed to get away a hard slap shot from the right side, which Haaland got a glove on, but again he dropped the rebound and Gill managed to poke the puck home.

“That was a big goal,” Poulin said. “Gill did a great job to follow the shot. McLean was just terrific in this game, and Mike Walsh might have played his best game of the season.”

Ten minutes into the second period, Nebraska-Omaha got on the board during a flurry of shots in front of Cey. The Irish goalie made several saves, but could not collect a rebound which went to forward Brent Kisio, who swept it into the empty net.

Less than two minutes after Kisio’s goal, Irish forward Michael Bartlett entered the zone on a two-on-one and made a perfect pass to forward Rob Globke, who hesitated for a moment before wristing the puck between Haaland’s pads.

Notre Dame would put the game out of reach just 30 seconds later, when McLean made a dominating one-on-one move, just getting enough on a shot while falling down to fling it through Haaland’s five-hole.