SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Notre Dame Fighting Irish started and ended their preseason with a 5-3 win over the Western Ontario Mustangs Friday night at the Joyce Center.
The Irish got goals from five different players in the victory and solid goaltending from sophomore Rory Walsh and freshman David Brown as the duo combined to turn away 33 of 36 Western Ontario shots in the game. Senior right wing Rob Globke scored the game-winning goal just 15 seconds into the third period when he deflected a Neil Komadoski shot past Mustangs’ goaltender Mike D’Alessandro to give the Irish a 4-2 lead on the way to the 5-3 win.
“All in all, this was a good game to get over with,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin.
“Western Ontario is a veteran team. Most of their players have played major junior hockey. When you get a chance to schedule a strong team like this it gives you an opportunity to see your team perform. I thought we played a strong game tonight and each time they cut the lead to one, we were able to refocus and get back to playing the way we were earlier.”
The Irish came out strong, outshooting the Mustangs, 17-11, in the first while taking a 3-1 lead. Brad Wanchulak started the scoring when he tucked a rebound of Chris Trick’s point shot under D’Alessandro at 3:55 of the first period.
Western tied the game at 5:01 when Mike Rice controlled a rebound in front and flipped the puck past Rory Walsh to even the score.
Notre Dame would get the lead back just 29 seconds later when Mike Walsh steered a Brett Lebda shot past D’Alessandro for his first of two points on the night. The Irish would get their lone power-play goal (in 10 chances) of the night at 16:39 with Tim Wallace cashing in off assists from Mike Walsh and Brett Lebda for a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.
The Mustangs cut the lead to 3-2 with the lone goal of the second period as Jeff Martin beat Brown at 19:01 on just the third shot he faced in the period after replacing Rory Walsh with 9:51 left in the middle stanza.
Globke, who along with Neil Komadoski was selected alternate team captains on Thursday, gave the Irish their two-goal cushion just 15 seconds into the third period. Parked about 10 feet in front of D’Alessandro, Globke deflected a Komadoski shot from the center point to make it 4-2.
An Irish turnover led to Western Ontario’s third goal. Ryan Held knocked down Brown’s clearing attempt on the right wing boards and was able to get a shot on goal before Brown could reposition himself. Held’s shot got between Brown and the near post at 10:36.
Freshman T.J. Jindra then got the insurance goal for the Irish when he and Tony Gill combined on a two-on-one at 13:28 for the 5-3 final score.
“We really played hard and that’s what I want to see,” said Poulin. “We made a conscious effort to bring in gritty, tough, in-your-face players. Kids like T.J. Jindra, Jason Paige and Matt Williams-Kovacs are those kinds of players. They bring that style to the rink every day.”
The two teams combined for 42 penalties for 95 penalty minutes. Western Ontario was 0-for-9 on the power play while Notre Dame was 1-for-10.
The Mustangs outshot the Irish, 36-35, on the night. Rory Walsh made 15 saves in picking up the win in his first collegiate start. Brown had 18 saves, including 16 in the third period. D’Alessandro made 30 saves for Western Ontario.
Notre Dame will now begin preparations for the season-opening weekend, Oct. 10-11, at Ohio State. Friday’s game will be televised by College Sports Television (CSTV) as part of their national game of the week package. Faceoff is set for 8:05 p.m. EDT.