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Hockey: Team gets three goals from 71 shots in weekend series

Sam Werner | Monday, February 18, 2008

Notre Dame got in its shots against Alaska this weekend. Unfortunately, only a few of them managed to get in the net.

The Irish (21-10-3, 14-7-3 CCHA) unleashed a combined total of 71 shots, including a whopping 41 Saturday night, in two games against the Nanooks (8-17-5, 8-14-5 CCHA), but netted only three goals in a 2-1 win and 1-1 tie.

Notre Dame scored late goals in both games, including a Ryan Thang game-winner with 5:11 left in the third period Friday night. Thang received a backhand pass in the slot from defenseman Kyle Lawson and launched a one-timer past Alaska goalie Wylie Rogers, who made 28 saves on the night.

Garrett Regan got the Irish on the board first Friday night, notching his seventh goal of the season on the power play at 15:19 of the first period. Forward Evan Rankin fed the puck to Regan, who was positioned at the bottom of the left circle. Regan fired a low shot that beat Rogers just inside the far post.

Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce managed to keep the Nanooks scoreless until 10:19 of the third period, when Alaska forward Nathan Lawrence tied the score at 1-1. Lawrence pushed a rebound past Pearce, who totaled 32 saves in the contest. The score would remain tied until Thang’s winner.

The Irish kept the momentum up Saturday night, ripping off a season-high 20 shots in the first period. None of them got past Rogers, though, and the senior finished with 40 saves.

While Notre Dame was busy shooting, the Nanooks were busy scoring in the first period Saturday. After an apparent Adam Lee goal at 6:22 of the period was wiped off due to interference on Pearce, Alaska made its next chance count.

On a power play, defenseman Tyler Eckford found freshman Landon Novotney alone in the slot, and Novotney unleashed a backhand that beat Pearce between the legs at 8:24 of the period.

Rogers’ stellar net-minding ensured that the score remained 1-0 until 9:55 into the third period, when senior Mark Van Guilder tied the game on Notre Dame’s seventh power-play chance of the night. Van Guilder carried the puck down the left boards and fired a shot from the left circle that deflected off an Alaska defenseman and past Rogers.

Irish coach Jeff Jackson was traveling back from Fairbanks, Alaska, and could not be reached for comment.

The three points give the Irish 31 on the season, only four points behind second-place Miami (Ohio) and Michigan State with four games remaining in the season. Notre Dame only needs two points next weekend in two games against Ohio State to secure a top-four seed and first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs. The Irish take on the Buckeyes at 7:35 on Friday night and 7:05 on Saturday night at the JACC.