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Hockey: Experienced goalies will lead Notre Dame

By Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As the No. 7 Irish enter a tough stretch in their schedule – seven straight games against four different ranked opponents, including three top-10 teams – the man in net will become especially important. Junior goaltender Steven Summerhays will be called upon to anchor the Irish as they traverse the dangerous waters.

Summerhays has come a long way in his three years at Notre Dame. As a freshman during the 2010-11 season, Summerhays played in 12 games, starting 10 games, with a record of 5-4-1. Although the rookie saw substantial time in net during the season, senior goaltender Mike Johnson, then a sophomore, was in charge of the net.

In the 2011-2012 season, Summerhays played in 20 games, starting 17, and compiled a record of 10-8-0. Summerhays had a 2.43 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage and earned Notre Dame’s most improved player award as a sophomore.

This season Summerhays has established himself as the starting goaltender and as a dominant force between the pipes. In the five games he has started this season, he has a record of 4-1 and has amassed 122 saves with one shutout. In the 4-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 19, Summerhays saved 33 of the 34 shots on goal.

Summerhays said he credits Irish coach Jeff Jackson with his development over the years.

“I have developed into a more positional goalie since I’ve been here,” Summerhays said. “Coach Jackson has been working with me, helping me become a positional goalie and not to be all over the place.”

Summerhays said he has learned better ways to prepare himself for games and that this readiness has contributed to his success this year.

“I think I have improved most with game preparation,” Summerhays said. “Towards the end of last year, I took away some things that have helped me prepare for games and I have carried those over to this season and it has really helped.”

In preparation to take on No. 11 Western Michigan on Friday, Summerhays has already begun to develop a game plan, he said.

“We haven’t watched too much tape this week, but from playing [the Broncos] in the past, they are a very well coached team,” Summerhays said. “They like to get all kinds of pucks to the net, so I have to be ready for shots from all kinds of different angles. I need to really work on rebound control. [Northern Michigan] scored a couple of rebound goals on me last weekend … those are goals that I would like to have back, so I need to emphasize rebound control this weekend. “

Overall, Summerhays said he is pleased with how he and his teammates are playing this year, especially in that they are placing an emphasis on winning at home.

“All the guys are up in the locker room,” Summerhays said. “When you are winning it’s obviously easy to have high spirits, but it was big to show that success we’ve had on the road this year at Northern [Michigan] and in Kansas City [for the Ice Breaker Tournament on Oct. 12 and 13]. We want to have an emphasis this year on taking care of this building and winning home games. We definitely want to start the weekend off a win here and set the tone for the games in this building.”

Under the leadership of Summerhays, the Irish will face off with the Broncos this Friday at 7:35 p.m., at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Contact Isaac Lorton at