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Hockey: Icers scrimmage for final time

Kyle Cassily and Dan Murphy | Thursday, October 11, 2007

Notre Dame shook the rust off its skates last night in the annual Blue Gold showdown at the Joyce Center. The Irish – who add seven freshmen to their roster this season – looked a little bit slow out of the gates, struggling to show that puck control was their team strength last season.”It’s not drills anymore, it’s real hockey, a scrimmage, so I’m sure that there is some nervousness out there,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “That’s the one thing that we all need to recognize is that there are different lines out there – different line combinations.” The split-squad played one 20-minute period of five-on-five followed by 12 minutes of special teams work. The most intriguing story of the night was the battle to replace last year’s CCHA MVP Dave Brown between the pipes. All three goaltenders saw equal time in net and looked sharp, allowing no goals in even strength play. Junior Jordan Pearce, who will start Notre Dame’s first game against No. 15 Wisconsin this Friday, made three saves in his 20 minutes of work for the Blue squad. He also stopped penalty shots from junior left wing Justin White and sophomore right wing Ryan Thang. All penalties in the first period were awarded penalty shots rather than sending anyone to the box. Freshman Brad Phillips made his Notre Dame debut midway through the first period. He finished with 11 saves, two coming on penalty shot attempts. Phillips gave up one goal on a penalty shot to senior Evan Rankin and another shortly after on a Brock Sheahan shot from the point. Sophomore Tom O’Brien started in net for the Gold team and had nine saves. He switched to Blue for the special teams period and gave up three goals against the Gold team’s power play. “Tommy didn’t have much chance on a couple of those goals late – they were pretty nice goals,” Jackson said. “Brad gave up one soft goal but other than that I thought he was OK.”All three power play goals came from what will most likely be the team’s top unit. Junior Erik Condra and sophomore Kyle Lawson worked the points as sophomores Kevin Deeth and Ryan Thang played down low along with freshman Calle Ridderwall. Ridderwall picked up two assists along with the game’s MVP award.”We’re playing that as our top unit. We wanted to see how Calle would fit with those two guys. So far it looks fairly good. It’s got the potential to be our number one line,” Jackson said. Condra also had two assists, the final one coming with less than a second remaining on the clock. He shot from the top of the circles, and O’Brien kicked a rebound out to the far side of the crease. Junior Justin White stuffed in the rebound to end the game with a 3-2 Gold victory. The freshmen saw a lot of ice time in their debut, and Jackson was pleased with how they looked. “That’s the biggest thing for us – we could have a freshman on every line,” he said. “It may hurt us in some ways but I think it’s going to help us in the long run.”