BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — For the second night in a row, Notre Dame got an outstanding performance in goal by junior goaltender David Brown has he made 29 saves on Saturday night to guide the Irish to a 3-2 win over Ferris State for a weekend sweep of the Bulldogs.
Brown got offensive support from Jason Paige, Josh Sciba (a goal and an assist) and Mark Van Guilder to offset Ferris State power-play tallies by Mark Bomersback and Eric Vesely.
The sweep is the second of the season for the Irish and improves them to 11-16-3 overall and 9-12-3 in the CCHA and puts Notre Dame just one point behind seventh place Ohio State and Northern Michigan in the hunt for the final home ice playoff spot. Ferris State falls to 14-12-6 and 9-10-5 in league action.
“We’re very happy to get four points this weekend. Every point is so crucial at this time of the year,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson. “We got great goaltending from David Brown all weekend and had a lot of special teams’ situations tonight which is never fun to coach.”
For the second night in a row, the Irish scored first, wasting little time getting on the scoreboard as Jason Paige gave the Irish a 1-0 lead just 46 seconds into the game. Paige got his fourth goal of the season as he scooped up the rebound of Mike Walsh’s shot from the right wing circle and lifted it over Bulldog goaltender Mitch O’Keefe.
“The first goal is so important, especially on the road. That’s always one of our objectives to get the first goal and play with the lead,” said Jackson.
Brown would protect the lead until the Irish were able to make it 2-0 on a two-man advantage power play at 16:02. Sciba, Notre Dame’s leading goal getter, scored from the top of the crease off a great feed from Erik Condra for his 14th goal of the season. Condra extended his scoring streak to five games (2-4-6) with the assist.
The special teams’ barrage would begin in the second period as Ferris State had five power plays and scored on two of them.
Bomersback cut the Notre Dame lead to 2-1 when he tucked the rebound of Dan Reidel’s shot through Brown’s pads at 12:23 of the second period. The goal was Bomersback’s 13th of the season and came just as a 5-on-3 power play ended for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State got the equalizer at 16:21 when Vesely tied the game with his seventh goal of the season, flipping the rebound of Jeremy Scherlinck’s shot over Brown.
There would be one more special team’s goal in the period and it belonged to the Irish and proved to be the game winner. Van Guilder snuck in from the left wing boards and took a perfect centering pass from Condra (his second assist of the game) and redirected it past O’Keefe with 6.1 seconds left in the period. For Van Guilder, the goal was his fifth off the season and made it a 3-2 game.
Brown took care of the rest in the third period as Ferris State poured it on, out shooting Notre Dame by a 12-4 margin to finish with a 31-23 advantage in the game.
“I thought we held the fort pretty well tonight,” said Jackson. “Ferris State was coming at us hard in the third period, but we held on. It’s a big win for this team.”