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Irish put up 14 goals in weekend sweep

Sam Werner and Dan Murphy | Monday, November 24, 2008

The Irish extended their winning streak to eight games, and did so in convincing fashion, beating Bowling Green 5-1 and 9-1 this weekend.

Friday night in the Joyce Center, Notre Dame (8-3-1, 4-2-1-1 CCHA) took advantage of two goals and an assist from senior Christian Hanson and cruised to victory over the Falcons (5-6-2, 4-4-1-0).

Hanson got the Irish on the board first at 16:04 of the first period. With the Irish on the powerplay, Hanson found himself all alone in the low slot and pounded Kevin Deeth’s centering pass past Bowling Green goalie Jimmy Spratt to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.

A Justin White goal gave the Irish a 2-0 lead, but the Falcons responded with a short-handed goal of their own to cut the lead to 2-1 and swing the momentum in their favor. The Bowling Green rally was short-lived, though, as freshman Billy Maday gave the Irish a two-goal lead 1:03 later.

“That goal was huge for us,” Hanson said. “Especially after giving up a short-handed goal. It’s a momentum goal after we gave up the goal and came back to score on the same power play. Coach always talks about getting a momentum goal and that was one that changed things for us.”

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson also emphasized the importance of responding to Bowling Green’s goal.

“Those next few shifts [after a goal] are always crucial,” he said. “I think our depth has helped us be successful with that because right now I can trust pretty much anybody on the ice in those situations.”

The Irish added another goal at 17:49, when junior Christiaan Minella hammered a Hanson rebound past Spratt.

“The puck was bouncing around and I could see out of the corner of my eye Spratt coming over so I knew I had to either tuck it in the post or bank it off his leg,” Minella said. “It kind of hung up there but then it trickled in.”

Hanson notched his second goal with less than a second left in the period. After breaking his stick, Hanson went back to the bench and picked up a stick from teammate Teddy Ruth, who plays with a heavier stick than Hanson. Skating into the offensive zone, Hanson was blocked twice at the top of the left circle, Hanson took a third swipe at the puck and this time slammed it past Spratt.

“I looked up and saw there was about five seconds left, so I tried to just get a shot on goal,” Hanson said. “The first one got blocked, but I think the momentum from the 10-pound Ted Ruth stick continued and I got a second and third whack at it.”

Jackson praised Hanson after the game, and said he was proud of the way the senior has worked and improved since his freshman year.

“I used to tell him, ‘Kevin Deeth’s 5’8″ and he plays with all kinds of jam, imagine what you could do if you were playing with that same level of intensity,’ and he does that now,” Jackson said. “He’s a much more effective player.”

Jackson also said he was pleased with his team’s physicality and aggressive play against the Falcons.

“We have to always remember that you always have to get a little gritty around the net if you’re going to score goals,” he said. Most goals aren’t pretty.”

Saturday night the Irish continued their offensive explosion by putting up nine goals – six in the final period – to finish the weekend sweep of the Falcons with a 9-1 win.

Notre Dame scored six of its goals on the powerplay and added another one short-handed in what quickly became a very physical game. Bowling Green collected a total of 46 penalty minutes on the night, leaving them shorthanded for more than two periods of the game.

Sophomore forward Calle Ridderwall continued his recent hot streak to lead the Irish with a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Ridderwall has now picked up a point in five straight games, he has a total off 11 points during the stretch. Last week the Swedish sophomore scored a goal in a sudden death shootout to give Notre Dame a win over Lake Superior State.

Ridderwall wasn’t alone on Saturday. Six different skaters found the back of the net against Bowling Green and 14 of the 18 players who made the trip picked up at least a point.

Hanson also had two goals to push his season total to a team-leading eight. Coming in just behind Hanson with seven is Maday. He started the scoring Saturday night with a power-play goal ten minutes into the game.

Ben Ryan, Ryan Guentzel, Erik Condra and White all added goals as well.

This weekend the team will be sticking around for Thanksgiving to take on Western Michigan at home Friday and Saturday night.