TROY, N.Y. — Notre Dame got single goals from Ian Cole, Ryan Thang, Ben Ryan and Kevin Deeth and freshman goaltender Brad Phillips made 13 saves to lead the Irish to a 4-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville at the Houston Field House. The contest was the opening game of the 57th Rensselaer Hockey Tournament.
The win was the first for Notre Dame in the R.P.I. Tournament
as the Irish make their third-ever appearance, having played here in 1988-89 and 2000-01.
For two periods, the game had quite a resemblance to last
seasons NCAA first round game, when the Chargers extended
Notre Dame to double overtime in a 3-2 Irish win. On Friday
night, the Irish out shot UAH by a 27-10 margin but led just 1-0.
This time the culprit was freshman goaltender Cameron Talbot
who held the Irish at bay until the 17:36 mark of the second
period when Ian Cole found the back of the net with his first
goal of the season.
On the night, the Irish would out shoot Alabama-Huntsville by
a 41-14 margin to improve their record to 11-4-0 overall and
advance to the championship game of the tournament on
Saturday. The Chargers fell to 1-7-1 on the year and will
play for third place on Saturday.
When you run into a really good goaltender, you just cant
lose your patience, said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.
Thats what I stressed between periods, to be patient and
just play our game. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your ego
and just go win the hockey game.
Jackson also didnt believe the game resembled last years
tournament game. Its two different teams; Danton Cole is a
new coach. That really wasnt a point of emphasis, said
Notre Dame dominated play in the first, out shooting the
Chargers by a 16-3 margin. The second saw UAH take more of
the play to the Irish , getting seven shots in the period only
to be stopped by Phillips who was making his second career
Weve worked hard on protecting the puck and supporting play
in the neutral zone and we did that well in the first period,
commented Jackson. I thought we showed good patience with
Cole would be the first to find a dent in Talbots armor when
he got his first collegiate goal late in the second period.
He benefited from some strong work behind the net by Mark Van
Guilder and Ben Ryan to control the puck.
Van Guilder would find Cole coming down the slot and the
freshmen defenseman unleashed a slap shot from the hash marks
that found its way through Talbots pads for the 1-0 lead
after two periods.
I think last year was in the back of our minds a little bit
before Ian (Cole) scored, said sophomore center Kevin Deeth.
Credit their goalie, he really played well. Coach just kept
telling us to be patient.
The offense got rolling in the third period as the Irish
scored twice in a 2:06 span.
Thang got his eighth of the season as he followed Erik Condra
on a shot at 2:13, tapping a rebound past Talbot in the
crease. Condra carried the puck around the Charger defense
and slid a shot on goal that Talbot lost control of and Thang
banged it home for a 2-0 lead.
Ryan got his second point of the night and fourth goal of the
season at 4:19 when Van Guilder found him at the bottom of the
left wing circle and he tucked it under the cross bar for the
Phillips, making his second career start, saw his shutout bid
snapped just 31 seconds after Ryans goal when the Chargers
Joe Federoff fired a shot from the right boards that Notre
Dames freshman goaltender appeared to stop. The puck
squeezed between Phillips pads and the right post for
Federoffs third goal of the season.
The Irish closed out the scoring on a Deeth power-play goal at
14:47, his first goal of the season. Defenseman Kyle Lawson
kept the puck in at the right point and moved it to Thang in
the right corner. Thang found Deeth in the slot and he
one-timed a shot past Talbot for the 4-1 final score.
It was nice to finally get the monkey off my back, said
Deeth who scored his first goal of the season and first in 19
games dating back to last years CCHA playoffs. Ive hit the
post, missed open nets and finally got one. I dont think
Ive played bad, the puck just hasnt gone in.
Talbot finished the game with 37 saves while Phillips had 13
on the night.