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Hockey: Irish make last trip to Goggin

Chris Khorey | Monday, November 21, 2005

The Miami University hockey arena in Oxford, Ohio, which had been a house of horrors for the Irish in recent years, played host to a two-game series this weekend between Notre Dame and the No. 11 Redhawks. The two teams played to a 2-2 tie Friday night before Miami shut out the Irish 3-0 Saturday.

Miami will be tearing down Goggin Arena after this season in favor of a more modern arena. The Irish were 7-15-2 in the arena all time, including 0-5-1 there in the last three seasons.

Irish defenseman Noah Babin said a raucous home crowd gave the Redhawks a unique home ice advantage.

“[Friday night] there was a fan sitting right next to the benches, yelling in our faces,” he said.

Babin also said despite the hecklers and Notre Dame’s poor record, he will miss playing at Goggin.

“It was an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “I hope they can translate that atmosphere to their new place, because Goggin was really fun to play at.”

Junior goaltender Dave Brown started both games for the Irish, his second and third straight starts after alternating with freshman Jordan Pearce for much of the season.

“I think his performance last Saturday night against Bowling Green was a really positive step in his performance, so I came back with him Friday, and I wanted to see how he would play back-to-back nights,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “I think he played pretty well Saturday.”

Babin said Brown provided a steady hand in net for both games, even though the rest of the team didn’t play as well as they would have liked.

“[Brown] played really, really well both Friday and Saturday night,” Babin said. “He made some huge saves. It’s a shame we couldn’t play well enough in front of him to get him a win.”

The Irish and Redhawks played to a standstill through the first period and most of the second Saturday before Ryan Jones deflected a Nathan Davis shot past Brown at 17:24 of the period.

“We played well in the first period and the beginning of the second period, but then we gave up a goal and we didn’t respond,” Babin said.

The Redhawks scored again at 12:57 of the third period as Jones knocked in the rebound of another Davis shot.

Notre Dame got a chance to respond after Davis was called for roughing at the 13:53 mark of the third period, giving the Irish a two minute power play. Unfortunately for the Irish, a little over a minute later, Miami defenseman Matt Christie stole the puck in the neutral zone and dashed down the ice, beating Brown stickside to ice the game for the Redhawks.

Notre Dame 2, Miami (OH) 2

The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead Friday night before allowing two third period goals and having to settle for a tie.

Sophomore forward Mark Van Guilder opened the scoring 3:48 into the second period when he took a pass from junior defenseman Wes O’Neill at the left face of circle and blasted it past Miami goalie Charlie Effinger.

Barely a minute later, after a Miami penalty, Josh Sciba, Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer, took a pass from senior forward Tim Wallace and scored his seventh goal of the season.

The two goal lead would not hold up.

A pass by Miami center Andy Greene hit Christie in the skate and slipped past brown to cut the lead to one at 6:36 of the third period.

With less than three minutes left in the game, Redhawks defenseman Mitch Ganzak intercepted a Notre Dame pass and passed to Marty Guerin for a breakaway goal to tie the game.

“The first goal was off a break, and the puck kind of bounced in off a skate,” Babin said. “We didn’t respond very well to it and gave up another goal. It was a bad third period.”

Jackson was disappointed that a solid outing by the Irish didn’t turn into a win.

“It was two cheap goals, which is unfortunate because we played pretty well,” he said. “We didn’t turn the puck over much, but when we did it turned into goals.”

Sciba was also the leading scorer for the Irish last season despite netting just six goals all season.

“[The coaching staff is] preaching to pay the price more this year,” Babin said of the offensive improvement. “Last year we were trying to score pretty goals or perimeter goals, but this year we’re trying to be grinders in front of the net.”

The Irish will be back in action Friday and Saturday against Ohio State in the Joyce Center.

Contact Chris Khorey at [email protected]