Friday, January 22, 2010

Notre Dame Tops #18 Lakers

Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson watches a blocked shot bounce away during Friday's game against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Coming off a good showing against now tenth in the nation Michigan State last weekend the Notre Dame mens ice hockey team delivered the message that they are not out for the count as they captured an important road win against their CCHA rival Lake Superior State Lakers. The six to one victory moves the Irish three points closer to the top of the CCHA standings and what could be a much needed first round playoff bye.

"I was kind of surprised" said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson after the Friday night game "its been such a long first half as far as scoring goals, for us to score goals is a good thing." "We just needed to be patient, we had to play a good road game and I thought we did."

The Lakers Steven Kaunisto started the scoring when he beat Notre Dame starting goalie Mike Johnson from just inside the blue line one second past the two minute mark of the first. Notre Dame's Ryan Thang evened the score at one at 13:41 to close out the periods scoring.

Lake Superior State goaltender Pat Inglis stares down a shot from Notre Dame's Riley Sheahan Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie.

The second period was all Notre Dame as the Lakers where unable to slow down the Irish offensive pressure. Irish junior Ben Ryan and sophomore Patrick Gaul both scored within the first seven minutes of the period upping the score to 3 - 1. Less than two minutes later junior Calle Ridderwall beat LSSU starting goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson for Notre Dame's fourth score sending him to the bench. Ridderwall didn't do much for replacement goalie Pat Inglis' stats beating him twice before the end of the period to raise the Irish lead to five and complete a single period hat trick.

Neither team managed to find the back of the net in the third making Ridderwall's final goal the end of the evenings scoring. "We had a bad second period." said Lakers head coach Jim Roque. "They were way more desparate and hungry for the puck. We need a great effort tomorrow night to get a split." "We've got to play with more energy."

The one bright spot for the Lakers was their power play kill. Even with several opportunities the Irish's tied for best in the CCHA power play managed only one goal on a five on three chance in the second.

Notre Dame's Ian Cole lays on the ice after a hard check during the Irish's Friday night game against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Already paying without several of their key players the Irish suffered yet another lose to their line up when junior Ian Cole was forced to leave the game with a possible concussion. "We lost Cole, again with another high hit, that's concussion number seven this year." said coach Jackson. "Its been tough on us." "Frankly I'm getting really tired of the high hits and checks from behind." "Its really become an issue and someone needs to do something about it."

The Lakers and Irish will face off for the final game of their weekend series tomorrow at 7:05 at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

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