SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The luck of the Irish was strong in Friday night’s contest between the Notre Dame and Ferris State.
Lady Luck was definitely not sitting on Bulldog junior goaltender Mike Brown’s shoulder when a clearing shot hit a pylon and bounced behind him to give the Irish their final lead of the game early in the third period, on the way to a 4-2 win.
The Bulldogs held their own in the first period, with the score at the end of the first only 2-1, despite the fact that the Irish took 11 more shots at Bulldog goalie Brown than Ferris registered on freshman Irish netminder David Brown.
Before you ask, no, there is no relation between the two ‘tenders, and the only similarities between them are their positions (goaltender) and their country of origin (Canada).
In the second period, the only goal was scored by the Bulldog senior forward Trevor Large off a rebound in the high slot, as he caught David Brown out of position long enough to rifle it over Brown’s shoulder.
That goal tied the game at two going into the second intermission, despite the fact that Bulldog netminder Brown had saved twice as many shots as his Irish counterpart, and the Bulldogs had the momentum going into the locker room.
The Bulldogs’ euphoria didn’t last long once the puck was dropped to start the third.
Just 2:03 into the final session, Fighting Irish freshman forward T.J. Jindra sent a shot into the Bulldog zone with his team down a man. His shot is the infamous shot that hit the pylon and trickled behind Bulldog Brown.
“I didn’t see it,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said of Jindra’s goal. “A fortuitous bounce, obviously, but we took advantage of that.”
Forty-nine seconds later, Jindra’s freshman team mate Josh Sciba, who had been serving two minutes for crosschecking, came flying out of the penalty box and scooped up the pass from Irish senior defenseman Brett Lebda to end up with the breakaway and managed to put the Irish up by two.
Then the Irish weathered the storm that followed, including 43 seconds that saw the Bulldogs pull Brown for the sixth attacker, and managed to come up with the ‘W’.
“It’s disappointing, but that happens. I thought Mike Brown played very well for us, there’s nothing he can do — it was kind of a bad deflection off the glass. We probably should have been a little bit more aware of the guy coming out of the box, so obviously disappointing but I thought our kids played pretty well,” Ferris coach Bob Daniels said.
“A lot of our injuries are on defense, and I thought our defense as a whole played pretty well. We knew we were going to probably give up quite a few shots because of the number of guys hurt.
“We don’t have a lot of changes we can make, so we’ll just go through the roster, see who’s healthy and dress ‘em.”
“I thought both goalies played pretty well,” Poulin said. “Obviously, we got a bounce, and that hasn’t happened a lot this year.
“Mike was real good in their net, Dave was real good in our net. We had a lot of chances, too. Our power play was real good, executed well and didn’t score, so that’s a scary type of game, and you’d like to put that game away earlier, but Ferris is a really good hockey team.
“We needed to win the game tonight. At this point in the season, with the way the standings are, you can jump two spots in the standings in two hours. It’s so tight right now, and wins are so precious and so valuable.”
Sophomore forward Matt Amado and senior captain Aaron Gill had the first two Irish goals, while junior forward Derek Nesbitt had the Bulldogs’ first tally.
The teams will close out the series Saturday night in South Bend at the Joyce Center, with faceoff set for 7:35 p.m. The game will also be televised on Fox Sports Detroit.