SOUTH BEND, Ind. — No. 1 Notre Dame continued their dominance over Bowling Green Saturday night, holding on to beat the Falcons 4-3 at the Joyce Center.
The win extended Notre Dame’s unbeaten streak against Bowling Green to 16 games, dating back to Jan. 29, 2005.
After a closely contested first period, Notre Dame was able to get on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining when Dan Kissel beat Falcons’ goalie Jimmy Spratt on a backhand shot after driving hard to the net.
For the Falcons, it was almost a back-breaker after playing even with the Irish the whole first period.
“That was a tough goal to give up,” Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch said.
After the late first period goal the Irish took control of the game in the second period as the No. 2 nationally ranked power play delivered twice on four chances in the period.
Calle Ridderwall extended Notre Dame’s lead to two during a five-on-three power play when he collected a rebound on a shot by Kevin Deeth and quickly banged the puck home.
Sandwiched between a pair of Irish power-play goals, the Falcons were able to strike when Dan Sexton found line mate David Solway, who quickly one-timed the puck over Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce’s right pad and arm.
Christian Hanson continued the Irish’s power play excellence almost two minutes later when his wrist shot from between the circles fooled Spratt and beat the junior goaltender over the glove. For the Irish, the quick strike after Solway’s goal was important to regaining momentum.
“When another team scores, we generally have the ability to come back; that’s a tribute to our depth up front,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson.
After Hanson’s first goal, the Irish were able to add to their lead another six minutes later.
An Ian Cole shot at the 15:34 mark proved too much for Spratt to handle, as Hanson was waiting on the doorstep and slammed the puck home after it deflected off of Spratt’s right pad.
“Christian was good; he’s been a factor for us the whole first half,” Jackson said of Hanson, “He’s been getting those dirty goals for three years now, he’s going to the net hard and fighting in front of the net hard.”
Despite the deficit, the Falcons were able to battle back and control the third period as they picked up two power-play goals of their own.
The first power-play marker came at the 4:23 mark when captain Kyle Page’s shot was able to just sneak through Pearce’s five-hole. For Bowling Green, Page’s power-play tally was the team’s first since November 28 against Minnesota State.
The Falcons picked up another power-play tally late in the third when Tommy Dee skated in the zone and fired a wrist shot that once again beat Pearce through the five-hole.
“I’m not even a power play guy, [so I] didn’t really think of it in that kind of way,” Tommy Dee said of the power play success, “Our power play and penalty kill has been struggling as of late and hopefully this can get us going.”
Bowling Green had a chance to tie the game with 7 seconds remaining, as Pearce was on his back and Page had a seemingly empty net to shoot at but a strong Irish defensive effort was able to clear the zone.
The win improves the Irish to 10-2-2 in the CCHA this season and drops the Falcons to 3-7-1 in league play.