SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Yale freshman goaltender Josh Gartner, making just his third career start, made 24 saves and got goals from four different teammates to lead the visiting Bulldogs to a 4-1 win over Notre Dame Friday night in front of a sellout crowd at the Joyce Center.
On the night, the Irish, playing their first home game since Dec. 8 (seven consecutive road games), just never got their offense going against Gartner, who improved his record to 2-1-0 on the year.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by junior right wing Vin Hellemeyer, who set up three of Yale’s four goals. Sophomore Chris Higgins added a goal and an assist for two points and defenseman Jeff Dwyer had a hand in two goals. Nick Deschenes, Joe Zappala and Stacey Bauman scored Yale’s other goals.
Notre Dame’s lone goal came at the 4:55 mark of the third period when defenseman Evan Nielsen picked off an errant pass at the Yale blue line, skated to the top of the right-wing circle and whipped a shot over Gartner’s glove for his third goal of the game.
“We got outplayed tonight, we got out hustled, we got beat,” said head coach Dave Poulin following the game.
“I thought we started strong for the first five or six minutes of the first period, then their first goal seemed to deflate us.”
That goal came off the stick of Higgins, a first round choice in last June’s NHL Draft by Montreal, at 8:51 of the first period.
The Irish turned the puck over along the left-wing boards, where Hellemeyer fed it to Dwyer on the left point. Dwyer found Higgins all alone in front, and he slid it along the ice on Morgan Cey’s stick side for his 12th goal of the season.
That would be the lone goal of the period as the Irish were outshot 11-7 in the stanza.
Yale came out fast and put the game away in the first 2:21 of the second period.
Nick Deschenes converted a pass from Hellemeyer just 30 seconds into the period for his fourth of the year. The back breaker came 1:51 later off a faceoff to the left of Cey.
Zappala won the draw back to Mike Klema. The junior forward slid it to Dwyer, who let a slapshot go from the left point. Cey made the initial stop but the rebound went high in the air over his head and landed behind him. Before he could get to the puck Zappala cut in and steered the bouncing puck into the goal for his fifth of the year at 2:21.
The score would stay 3-0 before Nielsen broke Gartner’s shutout bid with an unassisted goal at 4:55.
“We really didn’t generate anything on the goaltender all night and had some great chances,” said Poulin. “We talked before the game about it being just his third start and not to pass up shots. Not only did we pass them up, we were too fine, we tried to make the perfect play and didn’t get many quality shots.
Yale closed the scoring with a power-play goal by Bauman, who picked up his first career goal at 15:07 for the 4-1 win.
The Bulldogs outshot the Irish 34-25 in the game. Cey made 30 saves in the game.
The Irish are 0-3-1 in their last four games and fall below .500 for the season at 9-10-4 overall. Yale is now 9-8-0 on the year.
The two teams take the series to Chicago on Saturday when they meet in the second game at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Saturday’s game will start at 7:05 p.m Central time.