IRISH BLANK ARMY 3-0 TO IMPROVE TO 4-1-0
Tampa, Fla. - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish got solo goals from Ryan Thang, Christian Hanson and Garrett Regan and sophomore goaltender Jordan Pearce stopped all seven shots as the Irish shutout Army, 3-0, Friday night in front of 6,772 fans at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
The win improved the Irish to 4-1-0 on the season while Army falls to 3-1-1. Notre Dame will face Air Force in the championship game of the Lightning College Hockey Classic at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday night. Air Force defeated Alabama-Huntsville, 7-5, in the opening game.
The Notre Dame win gives Irish head coach Jeff Jackson his 199th career victory and the 4-1-0 start is the best for the Irish since starting the 1998-99 campaign with a 5-0 record. Notre Dame has not won any tournament they have participated in since the 1981 Great Lakes Invitational.
The Irish held the Black Knights to just one shot in the first period and took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Thang at 10:58. The freshman redirected a centering pass from defenseman Kyle Lawson through the pads of Army goaltender Josh Kassel.
Kassel held the Irish at bay through most of the second period until Hanson broke through on the sophomore goaltender. Michael Bartlett fed the puck to Hanson at the top of the left wing circle and he drilled a wrist shot over Kassel's glove at 17:17 for his first of the season.
Pearce faced four shots in the middle period, stopping all of them.
In the final stanza, the Irish looked to build the lead to 3-0 at 6:16 when freshman Kevin Deeth was pulled down on a breakaway. He was awarded a penalty shot that Kassel stopped to keep the game close.
Regan then closed out the scoring at 18:06 of the final period when he and Jason Paige combined on a 2-on-1 with Regan firing a shot from the slot to beat Kassel for the final of 3-0.
On the night, the Irish outshot Army by a 30-7 margin. Kassel finished the night with 27 saves.
In the opening game of the tournament, Air Force center Eric Ehn had two goals and four assists and Andrew Ramsey scored twice with an assist to lead the Falcons to a 7-5 win over Alabama-Huntsville.
In a wild first period, Air Force scored twice on the power play while the Chargers scored three power-play tallies only to trail the Falcons, 4-3.
Air Force led 5-4 after two periods only to see UAH's Andy Hilbert even the score at 15:48 of the third. Ramsey ended any thoughts of overtime at 18:33 off an Ehn assist and Matt Fairchild scored into an empty net for the final of 7-5. Army will face Alabama-Huntsville at 5:05 on Saturday in the third-place game.