Feb. 2, 2009

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - One streak ended on Friday night for the Notre Dame hockey team while another continued on the road at Michigan's Yost Arena.

Notre Dame, behind the stellar goaltending of All-American and Hobey Baker candidate Jordan Pearce, and goals from Billy Maday, Ryan Thang (penalty shot) and Calle Ridderwall, jumped out to a 3-0 lead at Michigan and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Wolverines in front of a sellout crowd at Yost Arena.

Michigan rallied from the three-goal deficit with two, third-period power-play goals by Aaron Palushaj and Robbie Czarnik to fall a goal short on the night.

The Irish saw their 20-game unbeaten streak end on Friday at the hands of Michigan, but on Saturday continued their 2008-09 road success as their unbeaten streak away from home went to 11 games (10-0-1). The last Notre Dame road loss came in the season opener at Denver on Oct. 11.

The Notre Dame win improved the No. 1-ranked Irish to 20-4-3 overall and 14-3-3-3 in the CCHA, good for 34 points in the standings. Michigan falls to 19-9-0 on the year and 13-7-0-0 in conference play.

The Irish scored the lone goal of the first period, with Maday scoring at the 8:15 mark in a period that featured 11 shots on goal, 10 by Notre Dame and 11 by the Wolverines.

Off a scramble in front of the Michigan net, Calle Ridderwall's shot was stopped by goaltender Bryan Hogan but the rebound caromed to the left side of the goal. Maday had the puck bounce off his skate and got his stick on it to push it past Hogan for his 10th goal of the season to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.

The Irish found the back of the net twice in the second period to build the 3-0 lead.

Thang made it 2-0 at 4:03 when he scored on a penalty shot for his ninth of the year. The junior left wing burst through the middle at the Michigan blue line and was hauled down by defenseman Steve Kampfer and with the referee awarding Thang a penalty shot.
 
Thang moved in on Hogan and made a move to his forehand, snapping the puck over the Wolverine goaltender's catching glove for the score.

The penalty shot was the first for the Irish since Oct. 27, 2006 when Kevin Deeth was stopped versus Army in the Lightning College Hockey Classic in Tampa. Fla. The goal was the first on a penalty shot for Notre Dame since Oct. 12, 2001 when Rob Globke '04 scored versus Union at the Joyce Center.

The lead would go to 3-0 at 12:50 when Ridderwall picked up his 11th of the year off assists by Maday and Deeth.

Maday carried the puck down the slot and slid it to Deeth on the right side of the goal. He was able to get Hogan to slide towards him and returned a pass across the crease where Ridderwall hammered it home for the three-goal Notre Dame lead.

As most college hockey fans know, there is no lead that's safe at Yost Arena and the Wolverines would have some say in the final score.

With Ian Cole off for holding, the Michigan power play went to work with Palushaj getting Michigan on the scoreboard at 4:27.

Defenseman Chris Summers fired a shot from the top of the left circle that Pearce stopped. The loose puck found its way to the slot where Palushaj drilled it into an open net for his ninth goal of the season.

Michigan would make it a one-goal game at 8:45 of the period on another power-play chance.

Czarnik went hard to the net, coming down the left side and Palushaj slid the puck to him. He was able to fight off the Irish defenseman and get his stick on the puck, redirecting it behind Pearce for his second goal of the season.

The Wolverines continued to pour it on, outshooting the Irish, 14-3, in the third period, but Pearce and the Notre Dame defense held off the storm. Michigan pulled Hogan with 1:13 left for a sixth attacker but could not score.

On the night, Michigan out shot Notre Dame, 38-22. Hogan finished with 19 saves in the game.

The victory was just the fourth for the Irish at Yost Arena since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93 as they are now 4-21-1, but have now won two of the last three visits.

The Irish return to action next weekend when they visit Ohio State on Friday, February 6. Game time at the Value City Arena is 8:05 p.m. with the game televised by CBS College Sports.