COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senior Dave Caruso tied his former teammate Mike Betz for the Ohio State season shutout record with five and team all-time shutout record with 11, as the Buckeyes beat visiting Notre Dame, 1-0.
Junior Mathieu Beaudoin had the only goal at 14:24 of the second, on which Caruso earned the second assist.
Caruso, who made 28 saves in the game, said that he was just happy with the win and credited his teammates with his success.
“The defense played really well in front of me,” said Caruso. “Sam Campbell had some pretty good back-checking so I got a lot of help from the guys out front. It was just nice to get the win because these are all big games.”
OSU head coach John Markell said that Caruso is playing with the intensity of a senior and the steadiness of a team player. “He’s played well. He’s digging in. He knows what this is about.
“You didn’t hear him complaining when we’re losing 1-0. He comes right back in and starts to work. He knows the guys in front of him are trying and I think that’s the type of player he is, a character kid.”
The Buckeye offense has been struggling this season, on the losing end of four shutouts, and tonight’s one-goal performance was a combination of Notre Dame’s man-to-man defense and the recent trip to Alaska, said Markell.
“That was a game won by your defense and your wingers,” said Markell. “You have to grind it along the boards with them, be able to cover the right areas. Both teams were finding the back of the net as far as trying to create offense. There were a few odd-man rushes but not that many. It was a pretty tight game.”
The Irish outshot the Buckeyes, 10-4, in the scoreless first period, during which Notre Dame had a nearly four-minute man advantage with briefly overlapping OSU penalties. In the second, the Buckeyes seemed to adjust to the lack of breathing room and create more chances, including the opportunity that led to Beaudoin’s goal.
Caruso saved Evan Rankin’s one-timer from the bottom of the right circle and directed the rebound to Tom Fritsche, who touched it long across the zone to the streaking Beaudoin. Beaudoin flew up the right wing and fired hard from the far side of the circle, sending the puck high between David Brown and the near post to the opposite side of the net.
“I’ve been struggling lately and I just figured that I’d shoot the puck more,” said Beaudoin. “I got on net and I got lucky. Usually when I go from this side, I go high glove.”
Neither team capitalized on the power play, with OSU going 0-for-3 and Notre Dame 0-for-4. Brown finished with 21 saves on the night.
“We played well tonight,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. “We had some scoring chances. We had some open nets that we missed. That’s been a weakness on our team, [not] having someone to finish on a regular basis.
“We need to generate offense almost any way we can because we don’t have a big-time goal scorer on our team.”
“Obviously they were struggling to score goals,” said Markell. “They work hard, they play the body, they protect the puck, they stick to their systems. Both teams were kind of jockeying and waiting for opportunities, and both teams created opportunities. Both goalies played well.”
The Buckeyes (13-10-4, 9-8-2 CCHA) are now 3-0-0 on the season against the Irish (8-14-3, 6-10-3). The clustermates meet for their final regular-season game Saturday night in Value City Arena, a CSTV televised game that begins at 8:05 p.m.