SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Vic Pereira snapped a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the season just 1:49 into the third period and Kirk McDonald scored into an open net to give the Rensselaer Engineers a 3-1 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night at the Joyce Center.
Freshman goaltender Jordan Alford held the Irish to just a second-period goal by Josh Sciba as he stopped 30 of 31 shots on the night. Notre Dame’s Morgan Cey made 33 saves while surrendering two goals in the loss.
The loss drops the Irish to 4-10-4 on the season while Rensselaer evens its record at 9-9-2 for the year.
Both teams came into the game off a 20-day break for finals and the Christmas holidays and were playing their first games in the 2005 portion of the schedule.
“I thought that everybody played a great game tonight,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “From the forwards to the defense, from the penalty kill to Alfie (Alford). It was a complete effort by everybody.”
The Engineers carried the play early, outshooting the Irish 11-3 before Notre Dame found its legs on a late five-on-three power-play chance.
Rensselaer broke the scoreless tie just as an Irish penalty was expiring. Defenseman Matt McNeely moved the puck from the right point to the left side where Kevin Broad fired a shot at the Irish goal. Freshman left wing Jonathan Ornelas was parked in front of the goal and managed to redirect the puck behind Cey at 18:10 of the opening stanza. The goal was his second of the season.
Notre Dame evened the score just 2:58 into the second period when Sciba cashed in with his fifth of the season on a play that started deep in the Irish defensive zone. Tim Wallace controlled the draw to the right of Cey to Michael Bartlett who banked the puck of the boards to beat the RPI defense and give the Irish a two-on-one break through center ice. Bartlett fed the puck to Sciba on the left side and the sophomore left wing whipped a shot past Alford over his left shoulder to tie the game at 1-1.
The score would stay that way until the third period when Andrew Lord intercepted a clearing attempt by the Irish and then took a shot. The shot was redirected by Pereira between Cey’s pads and the left post for a 2-1 Engineer lead.
Cey was pulled for a sixth attacker with 1:22 left in the game. With the Irish pressing the attack in the final minute, Lord held Notre Dame off the scoreboard as time wound down. McDonald intercepted a pass along the right wing boards and banked it to center ice where he picked it up and slid it into the empty net with just one second left in the game for the 3-1 final score.
Rensselaer outshot Notre Dame, 36-31, in the game. The Engineers were 0-for-7 on the power play while the Irish were 0-for-9.
The two teams close out the weekend series on Sunday afternoon at 5:05 p.m. at the Joyce Center.