NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame opened the 2001-02 season on Friday night with a 4-2 preseason win over the University of Toronto at the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame got three of its four goals from defenseman as the Irish peppered Blues goaltender Jamie Bruno with 53 shots on the way to the victory. Sophomore defenseman T.J. Mathieson paced the attack with a goal and an assist while fellow sophomores Brett Lebda and Tom Galvin each scored. Freshman Yan Stastny scored the insurance goal at 17:37 to seal the win.
“Overall I was pretty happy with the way we played,” said Irish coach Dave Poulin. “We had a lot of shots on goal and really created chances off those shots. We moved the puck well and made some nice plays. We had some real quality shots, that we’ll learn how to convert.”
The Irish fell behind just 5:33 into the game as Ian Malcolm took advantage of a Notre Dame turnover at the blue line and beat freshman goaltender Morgan Cey on a breakaway.
Mathieson tied the game at 14:03 when he fired the rebound of an Aaron Gill shot over Bruno.
“T.J. was terrific Friday night. He really played with confidence,” said Poulin.
Mathieson was all smiles in the locker room following the game. “I’ve been looking forward to this game since the last game of last season,” said Mathieson. “I put on about 20 pounds over the summer and really felt good playing out there Friday night.”
Lebda put the Irish ahead to stay at 1:06 of the third period after David Inman made a nice move to get a shot off on Bruno. Lebda closed from the point and fired the puck home to make it 2-1.
Galvin got the eventual game-winner as his quick wrister of a faceoff win from Michael Chin snuck between Bruno’s pads for a 3-1 lead.
Toronto cut the lead to 3-2 at 9:29 of the third period. Tristan Senior converted another Irish turnover as he picked up a loose puck in the slot and snapped it past Cey.
Stastny closed out the scoring as he pounced on the rebound of a Cory McLean shot. Mathieson led the rush on the play, feeding McLean as he cruised down the right side.
Cey held the Varsity Blues off the rest of the way as he finished with 19 saves in the game. Notre Dame outshot Toronto, 53-21 in the game.
“Morgan didn’t see a lot of action, but he made some big saves off turnovers in our zone. That’s something we will have to work on. He was aggressive, though, and broke up some plays before they could become scoring chances,” said Poulin.
The Irish are 1-0 on the preseason and will now prepare for the regular-season opener on Thursday, Oct. 11 versus Union at 7:05 p.m. The two teams will also play on Friday night.
Toronto falls to 0-2 on the preseason and plays at Western Michigan on Sunday.