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Hockey: Losing streak ends as Irish beat Princeton 2-0

Chris Khorey and Kyle Cassily | Monday, October 31, 2005

Jeff Jackson knew it was time to forget about the past.

The Notre Dame hockey coach had planned to keep the ashes of last year’s disastrous 5-27-6 campaign in the locker room all year, but he changed his tune during the first intermission of a 2-0 victory for the Irish over Princeton at the Joyce Center Saturday night.

“[Before the season], I had them write down everything they hated about last year on 3-by-5 cards,” Jackson said. “I made them burn them and we stored [the ashes] in the locker room in a jar. I thought it would be good to have them hanging over in there to serve as a reminder of what happens if you’re not committed.

“But in the first three games our second periods were horrible, so I decided to [get rid of them]. They laughed a little bit, but the toilet flushed and last year was behind us.”

The motivation worked. The Irish scored two second-period goals and broke their 12-game losing streak and a 22-game winless streak. Both streaks dated back to Jan. 2, when the Irish defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic 2-1.

Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Pearce earned his first collegiate shutout, making 27 saves in only his second career start.

“It’s good to get that monkey off my back,” Pearce said. “I haven’t had a shutout in like three years, going back to my freshman year [in high school].”

Jackson declined to say whether Pearce or junior Dave Brown, who started Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers, would start against Michigan next weekend. Both goalies have started two games so far this season.

The Irish got their first goal 3:59 into the second period, when junior right wing Michael Bartlett stole the puck in the Princeton zone and passed to Erik Condra. Condra’s shot deflected off to the side, but freshman Garrett Regan put the rebound home.

“The guy picked up the puck and was going up the ice. I saw that I had an opportunity, so I hit him and then we got a shot on net and the freshman put in the rebound,” Bartlett said.

At the time of Regan’s goal, Notre Dame had just returned to full strength after consecutive penalties by Condra and Noah Babin left them at a two-man disadvantage. Although the Tigers peppered the Irish net with shots for nearly two minutes, Pearce and the rest of the defense did not allow a goal.

“You always give up lots of chances in 5-on-3, but we played really well in [penalty killing],” Pearce said.

Notre Dame picked up a second goal on the power play at the 16:13 mark of the second period. Barlett set up Mark Van Guilder to the left of the net. Van Guilder, shooting from a severe angle, snuck the puck behind Princeton goalie Eric Laroux.

“The seams were open because their forwards were lazy, so I found [Van Guilder] and he put it in,” Bartlett said.

The Irish outshot the Tigers 30-27, the second time in as many nights they had the advantage in shots on goal.

Princeton 5, Notre Dame 3

The Irish gave up an early lead in Friday night’s game to drop their regular season home opener decision to the Tigers.

Princeton capitalized on several Notre Dame penalties to shift a 2-1 Irish lead early in the second stanza into a 4-2 Princeton advantage by the end of the period.

A holding call on the freshman Regan at 6:50 into the second led to a Princeton power play goal by Grant Goeckner-Zoeller (2 goals), with the assist credited to Kevin Westgarth (3 assists).

Goeckner-Zoeller found plenty of space on the left side to maneuver into the Notre Dame zone and rip a shot past the goaltender Brown at the 7:06 mark for the 2-2 tie.

Notre Dame defenseman Brock Sheahan was whistled for an obstruction-hooking call at the time of the goal, and the Irish found themselves down a man once again.

Princeton struck only 21 seconds later on a Westgarth shot taken from the point that rebounded to center Patrick Neundorfer, who tucked the puck past Brown for a 3-2 Tigers lead.

The Tigers made it 4-2 on an Irish turnover. A badly timed drop pass while entering the Tigers’ zone created a Princeton 3-on-none for an Erik Pridham goal at 12:20.

“I think we did okay in the second period, but a couple of mistakes ended up in our net and we just imploded,” Jackson said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my coaching career. The whole game just turned totally around.”

The first period ended in a 1-1 tie after both teams scored within a 10-second span of each other. Princeton got on the board first on Goeckner-Zoeller and Westgarth’s first hookup of the night.

The Irish wasted no time in answering after Van Guilder drew a faceoff to winger Tim Wallace. Wallace walked in on net and roofed the puck past Tigers goalie B.J. Sklapsky for the goal.

Wallace scored his second goal of the game 5:07 into the second period to give the Irish a 2-1 lead, with an assist from Matt Amado. Wallace received a crisp cross-ice pass from Amado on a three-on-two rush to bury the goal.

“Timmy Wallace, that was his best effort so far this season,” Jackson said. “I mean not just the goals per se, but it’s good to see him have a real solid game.”

Princeton notched its last goal at 18:31 in the third period on an odd-man rush from defenseman Kyle Hagel, assisted by Pridham.

The Irish struggled on the power play, going 0-for-10 with 23 total penalty minutes on the Tigers. Princeton went 2-for-7 in similar situations.

“We were much sharper with our special teams tonight even though our power play still has the inability to finish,” Jackson said.

Brown stopped 8 of 13 shots, while Sklapsky saved 34 of 37 opportunities faced.