SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame freshman goaltender David Brown continued to display his red-hot goaltending on Friday night as he stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 2-0 win over Nebraska-Omaha. The shutout was his third in a row and gives him the most by a Notre Dame goaltender in a season (3) in just his first four career starts. The Stoney Creek, Ont., native ran his consecutive shutout minutes streak to 186:15 versus the Mavericks.
Brown got all the offensive help he would need in the first period when Mike Bartlett and Neil Komadoski scored the game’s only goals.
The victory gives the Irish a four-game winning streak, matching their longest streak from last season. The last time the Irish won five in a row was between Feb. 9 and March 2, 2002.
The win improves the Irish to 5-2-0 overall and 4-2-0 in CCHA play. The Mavericks fall to 0-5-1 on the year and 0-3-1 in conference play. The 5-2-0 start is the best for Notre Dame since the 1998-99 season when that team got off to a 6-1-0 start.
Notre Dame’s game plan was to get off to a fast start in the first period and the Irish did that by out shooting Nebraska-Omaha 18-4 in the stanza.
“I thought our first period was one of the best we played all year,” said head coach Dave Poulin. “We did all the little things that we talk about well. I really was as well as we could play.”
Bartlett put the Irish ahead at 2:11 of the opening period as he teamed with linemate T.J. Jindra to beat Maverick goaltender Chris Holt.
Jindra broke up a UNO clearing attempt at the blue line and carried into the offensive zone with Bartlett. He left the puck for the freshman from Morton Grove, Ill., who ripped it past Holt for his second goal of the season.
The Irish power play, which has struggled all season long, came to life at 12:51, snapping an 0-for-14 streak with the extra man. Neil Komadoski blasted a shot from high in the slot on a five-on-three power play that beat Holt low to the ice on his stick side. The goal was the senior defenseman’s first of the year and came off some nice puck handling by Brett Lebda and Rob Globke.
“We talked about winning the game in the first period,” said Poulin. “At Ohio State, in the second game, we played a tentative first period and were tied 0-0 and went on to lose 3-1. Tonight some players even talked about the Ohio State game and not playing tentative. We won this game in the first period.”
It helped to have a goaltender that continues to put up zeroes.
“It’s really remarkable what David (Brown) has done. Three shutouts in four starts. He just always seems to make the critical save. He doesn’t give up many rebounds. He just swallows the puck,” said Poulin.
Brown credited his defense for making it look easy.
“This was a total team effort. The defense was great again tonight,” said Brown. “They let me see the shots and cleared the rebounds when they were there. We really wanted to sweep our first series of the year and our defense really played well. I just tried to stay focused and stop the puck.”
Notes: Brown’s streak of 186:15 minutes of shutout hockey passes the previous mark of 147:19 set last season by Morgan Cey during the CCHA playoffs. The Notre Dame career mark for shutouts is four and is held by Cey and Mark Kronholm. In the first 35 years of hockey at Notre Dame, the Irish recorded 28 shutouts. Since last year’s CCHA playoffs, Notre Dame has recorded five shutouts in the last 10 games.