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Hockey: UMD sink Irish

Casey Karnes | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

 

No. 2 Notre Dame lost its first game of the season last weekend, as Minnesota-Duluth recovered from a 3-2 loss to the Irish on Friday night to claim a 4-1 victory in the second game of the series.

Before the loss, Notre Dame’s 5-0 start was the best for the Irish (5-1) under Coach Jeff Jackson, and their best since starting 6-0 in the 1998-99 season. Coach Jackson said he doubts the loss will have any lingering effects.

“We’ve had a pretty good team response to the loss,” Jackson said. “We practiced today and were sharp, so I assume that we’re already focused on the next game.”

The Irish were able to top Minnesota-Duluth (3-2-1) in Game One behind strong performances from senior goaltender Stephen Summerhays and freshman goaltender Chad Katunar, who was forced into action following Summerhays’ third-period ejection. Notre Dame scored a trio of goals in the second period. Senior captain and left wing Jeff Costello scored first for the Irish on an assist from junior defenseman Robbie Russo, squeezing a wrist shot past Bulldogs senior goalie Aaron Crandall for his third goal of the season. The Bulldogs fired back when sophomore forward Cal Decowski slipped the rebound of junior forward Adam Krause’s shot past Summerhays.

The Irish regained the lead when Russo and senior center T.J. Tynan assisted sophomore left wing Mario Lucia on his third goal of the season. The power play goal gave the Irish a 2-1 lead that they soon extended, as junior right wing Peter Schneider put away a rebound of freshman center Vince Hinostroza’s shot for his first goal of the season less than two minutes later.

As the third period began and time for a Bulldogs comeback ticked away, the Bulldogs upped the physicality. Just over five minutes into the final period, with the Bulldogs attempting to close the gap, Krause crashed into Summerhays, knocking the goalie and the goal to the ice. After no penalty was called on Krause, Summerhays retaliated, grabbing Krause’s facemask. 

 

The response prompted officials to give the goalie a game misconduct and the Irish a five-minute major penalty. While the Irish killed the penalty and eventually won the game, Jackson said Summerhays must understand the Irish need him to be a stable presence this season.

“He responded poorly, he understands that,” Jackson said. “We need him to be composed, because he’s the guy that has to take us to the promised land. He’s got to play with emotional control and not lose his temper because we can’t afford to lose him in a game like that.”

Summerhays saved 14 shots before his ejection and left the Irish with a 3-1 lead, but the Irish faced a dangerous situation following his exit. Katunar entered the game for his first action all season and immediately found himself helping kill a five-on-three Bulldog power play due to the penalty. While the Bulldogs did take advantage with a goal by sophomore defenseman Andy Welinski, Katunar saved the other five shots he faced and preserved the 3-2 lead through the final horn. Jackson said he was impressed with the freshman’s perseverance, especially considering the difficult situation he faced in his debut.

“It’s unfortunate that he had to be put in that situation, but I actually felt he handled it pretty well,” Jackson said. “He gave up the five-on-three goal, which he didn’t have much chance to stop, and after that he shut the door. He did a good job winning that game at the end for us.”

Jackson said he wanted to get Katunar more experience following his debut, resulting in the freshman starting Game Two of the series. Midway through the first period, Bulldogs senior forward Joe Basaraba snuck a backhand past Katunar from the slot, opening the floodgates for Minnesota-Duluth’s offense. The Bulldogs scored twice more within the next three-and-a-half minutes, with goals from junior forward Caleb Hebert and freshman forward Dominic Toninato. All three goals came from up close, and Jackson said the Irish defense should have done a better job protecting the front of the net and its goaltender.

“In all reality, all three goals were a direct result poor play by us in front of [Katunar],” Jackson said. “Regardless of whether he could have stopped any of those three shots, they were all dangerous scoring chances…”

The first period ended with the Irish outshot 14-, and facing a 3-0 deficit that proved too much to overcome. Jackson reinserted Summerhaes for the final two periods, but the Bulldogs expanded their lead to 4-0 on freshman forward Kyle Osterberg’s goal in the second period. The Irish finally broke Crandall’s shutout in the third period with a power play goal by junior right wing Austin Wuthrich off assists from Tynan and Hinostroza, but the final margin would remain 4-1.

The Irish will try to recover when they go back on the road against Vermont for a pair of games this weekend.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu