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Hockey: Summerhays posts first ND shutout in two years

Matthew DeFranks | Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just when it seemed like No. 18 Notre Dame had finally scrapped its recent struggles following a 2-0 win over No. 13 Michigan State on Friday, the Irish dropped a 4-2 decision to the Spartans on Saturday night, marking the team’s sixth loss in seven games.

With the split over the weekend, the Irish (17-16-3, 12-13-3-0 CCHA) will host No. 17 Ohio State next weekend in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

“I’m glad we’re getting a chance to play at home,” Jackson said. “It gives you the opportunity to play in front of your own fans. Our crowds have been great. There’s an advantage to playing at home, and we need to take advantage of it.”

On Friday night, Irish sophomore goaltender Steven Summerhays earned the start between the pipes and posted the first Notre Dame shutout in more than two years in the 2-0 victory.

Less than 15 seconds after Irish sophomore left wing Anders Lee hit the post on a shot, Spartans junior left wing Chris Forfar forced an Irish turnover in the neutral zone and created a breakaway opportunity. Summerhays was up to the task, snatching the wrist shot with a smooth glove save.

“No question [the save was a turning point],” Jackson said. “Goaltending is such a key element to a winning team, and when we get goaltending like that, it gives us a great chance to win.”

After a tripping penalty on Forfar, Irish sophomore left wing Jeff Costello cashed for Notre Dame, banging home Irish sophomore defenseman Shayne Taker’s rebound. Costello returned to the line-up after missing the previous seven games, five of which were Notre Dame losses.

“It was something to look forward to,” Costello said. “There’s nothing like getting back on the ice in front of your home crowd for your first game back.”

The goal gave Notre Dame its first lead since Feb. 4, when the Irish couldn’t hold a third period lead in a 3-2 loss to Bowling Green.

Summerhays came up big again in the second period, when he stopped a two-on-one Michigan State opportunity. Spartans freshman center Brent Darnell sent a pass over to junior left wing Kevin Walrod, who one-timed the puck on net. Summerhays dove back to the left and made a sprawling stop with his stick.

Notre Dame struck again when freshman right wing Peter Scheider roofed a pass from junior left wing Kevin Nugent past Spartan goaltender sophomore Will Yanakeff. Yanakeff misplayed the puck into the boards, and Nugent found Schneider streaking down the middle of the ice to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.

It was the first even strength goal for Notre Dame in more than 363 minutes of play and the first since Feb. 3.

On Saturday night, Jackson elected to start Irish junior goaltender Mike Johnson instead of the hot Summerhays.

“I told [Johnson] he was playing Thursday,” Jackson said. “I told Summerhays and Johnson together I was going to play one one night and the other the next night.”

Johnson collected 15 saves on the night, but the Irish fell 4-2.

Lee put the Irish up 1-0 when he capitalized on a Michigan State penalty 4:37 through the first period, scoring his seventh power play goal of the year. Irish senior center Billy Maday earned an assist on the play, his 100th career point in a Notre Dame uniform.

“I was conscious of [scoring my 100th point], but I would trade it for a win,” Maday said.

Spartan junior left wing Kevin Walrod struck for Michigan State with less than three minutes left in the first period. The Spartans (19-13-4, 14-11-3-2) caught Notre Dame changing lines and short a defenseman and took advantage with their first goal of the weekend, beating Johnson glove-side.

Irish sophomore center T.J. Tynan tallied his 13th goal of the year at 10:57 of the second period. Tynan, with the Irish shorthanded, forced a turnover in the Spartan defensive zone and punched a backhand past Yanakeff.

Saturday’s game marked the first time since Nov. 12 that Tynan and Lee, Notre Dame’s top two scorers, scored in the same game.

Michigan State responded with a short-handed goal of their own when Forfar trailed an odd-man rush and banged the tying goal past Johnson. Later in the period, Spartans junior defenseman Torey Krug, the CCHA’s top scoring defenseman, blasted a shot from the point to push Michigan State ahead, 3-2.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times tonight,” Jackson said after Saturday’s game.

The Spartans added an insurance goal from junior left wing Dean Chelios in the third period to open up a two-goal advantage.

“This is what you wait for all season long ⎯ to play in the playoffs,” Jackson said. “We [have to] take care of business next week, nothing else matters.”

Notre Dame and Ohio State will square off in a best two-of-three playoff series beginning Friday at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

 

 

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu