SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame hockey fans saw something they haven’t seen in a long time on Thursday night at the Joyce Center as the Irish exploded for nine goals (four on the power play and one shorthanded) to pick up their first CCHA win of the season, a 9-4 victory over the Bowling Green Falcons.
Junior center Josh Sciba led the way for Notre Dame as he picked up the first hat trick of his career, getting two on power-play goals and one shorthanded. Tim Wallace (ppg), Matt Amado, Mike Walsh (gwg) Christian Hanson and Victor Oreskovich (ppg) all scored for the Irish and only defenseman Dan VeNard and center Jason Paige failed to record a point in the nine-goal outburst.
Jonathan Matsumoto led Bowling Green with a goal and two assists on the night. The Falcons also got goals from Mike Falk, Brett Pilkington and Ben Geelan on the night.
The last time Notre Dame scored nine goals in a game came on Nov. 20, 1998, a 9-5 home win over Western Michigan. Sciba’s hat trick was the first by an Irish player since Aaron Gill scored three on March 18, 2004 in the CCHA Super Six versus Ohio State. Notre Dame’s four power-play tallies were the most since Dec. 7, 2002 when the Irish had four in a 6-2 home win versus Bowling Green.
The win improves the Irish to 2-5-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the CCHA. Bowling Green goes to 2-5-1 on the season and 2-3-1 in league action.
The Falcons scored the opening goal of the game at 9:19 of the first period when Pilkington broke into the Irish zone on a two-on-one with Geelan. He used his left wing as a decoy and snapped a wrist shot over Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce for his first of the season.
Notre Dame then took advantage of a five-minute power play to score two goals after Derek Whitmore was called for checking from behind at 14:20 of the first period.
Sciba evened the score at 1-1 at the 14:56 mark when he took a feed from Mark Van Guilder on the right side of the net and flipped a shot over Bowling Green’s Jimmy Spratt for his third of the season.
Wallace gave the Irish the lead for good at 18:58 when he fired a low shot from the left wing circle inside the left post that Spratt appeared to stumble on getting to. The goal was the fourth of the season for Wallace and gave the Irish a season-high two power-play goals and the 2-1 lead after one period of play.
The lead would go to 3-1 at 8:57 of the second courtesy of a Sciba power-play goal. Erik Condra (three assists) slipped a pass from the left wing circle to Sciba on the right post. The Westland, Mich., native knocked the pass out of the air took one shot that Spratt stopped and flipped a back-hander over the fallen goaltender for his second of the night and fourth of the season.
Amado gave the Irish a 4-1 lead at 9:21 when he fired the rebound of a Jindra deflection past Spratt for his third goal of the season and his third in as many games.
Bowling Green would cut the lead to 4-2 on a power-play tally by Matsamuto that came off a Notre Dame turnover in front of Pearce. Matsamuto stripped an Irish defender and made a nice move to slide the puck under Pearce for his sixth of the year at 11:50.
The third period would see the two teams combine for seven goals with the Irish getting five of them on just six shots. In 2004-05, Notre Dame scored four goals in a game just once all season and on this night they would get one more in a single period.
Walsh got what proved to be the game winner at 4:56 when he took a feed from Oreskovich at the Falcon blue line and got around the defense to fire a shot from the bottom of the left-wing circle for his second of the year and a 5-2 Irish lead.
Jindra, who returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury, picked up his first of the season at 5:51 to make it a 6-2 game before Sciba closed out his hat trick just 1:16 later.
With the Irish killing a penalty, Condra broke up a play near the Notre Dame blue line and found Sciba behind the Bowling Green defense. Sciba raced in on Spratt and deposited the puck behind him for his first career short-handed goal.
The Falcons never quit and Falk made it 7-3 when he scored their second power-play goal of the night and his sixth goal of the year at 10:13.
Hanson answered back just 1:31 later with his first career goal at 11:44. Michael Bartlett worked the puck loose to Garrett Regan in the left-wing corner. Regan carried behind the net and tried to tuck it inside the left post. Spratt was there for the save, but Hanson pounced on the rebound to give the Irish a five-goal lead at 8-3.
Oreskovich closed the Notre Dame scoring four minutes later when he deflected a Noah Babin shot from the high slot for his second goal of the year at 15:44.
Geelan then closed the scoring at 17:20 when he fired the rebound of a Matsumoto shot past Pearce for his second of the season and a 9-4 final score.
On the night, Bowling Green outshot Notre Dame by a 33-28 margin. Pearce finished with 29 saves for the Irish while Spratt had 19. The Irish were 4-for-10 on the power play after going 4-for-45 in the first six games. Bowling Green was 2-for-7.
The two teams will meet again on Friday night at the Joyce Center with face off set for 7:35 p.m.