Irish secure sweep
Casey Karnes | Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Thanks to an offensive explosion at Compton Family Ice Arena, led by senior right wing Bryan Rust and senior center T.J. Tynan, No. 15 Notre Dame outscored Alabama-Huntsville 7-1 Friday night and 5-0 Saturday for its first series sweep since October.
The Irish (12-8-1, 3-5-1 Hockey East) now have three victories against the Chargers (1-23-0, 1-13-0 WCHA) this season, with the previous win on Nov. 29 during the Shillelagh Tournament. Notre Dame’s offense shone in the matchups, notching at least five goals in each contest. Friday’s total of seven tied its highest output of the season as Rust notched Notre Dame’s first hat trick of the season.
Saturday’s loss was the eighth in a row for the Chargers as Irish senior goalie Steven Summerhays returned to goal for the Irish after sitting the previous night. Summerhays proceeded to blank the Chargers, stopping 13 shots en route to his fourth shutout of the season.
Despite Alabama-Huntsville switching to freshman goalie Carmine Guerriero after starting freshman Matt Larose on Friday, Notre Dame didn’t have difficulty finding the net. The Irish started quickly, with sophomore forward Sam Herr opening the scoring four minutes into the game off assists by Rust and Tynan. Just two minutes later, freshman center Vince Hinostroza scored his second goal of the weekend off a pretty spin pass from junior right wing Peter Schneider. Senior forward and captain Jeff Costello added his sixth and seventh goals of the season to make the margin 4-0 Irish.
“It’s always nice to contribute offensively like that,” Costello said. “I think, so far this season, I’m not up to my own expectations to how I should be producing and scoring.”
The final goal was scored midway through the second period, a backhander by Rust — his eighth of the season and fourth of the weekend — off assists from Tynan and junior defenseman Robbie Russo.
Russo opened the scoring Friday just 38 seconds into the game with a wrist shot past Larose. Rust gave the Irish a 2-0 lead at 10:53 with his first goal of the night. Tynan added an assist on the goal and then another just two minutes later when he found Herr from behind the net for Notre Dame’s third goal of the night and Herr’s ninth of the season.
Rust and Tynan followed their first period success with a pair of goals in the middle period. Rust put home a backhand shot to make it 4-0 before Tynan scored his fifth of the season on a deflection off a Russo slap shot. The Irish made it 6-0 in the final minute before intermission when Hinostroza put back the rebound of sophomore left wing Mario Lucia’s attempt.
Overshadowed by the Irish offensive explosion was a 16-save performance by Irish freshman goalie Chad Katunar in his third career start. He stopped all but one of the Chargers’ shot attempts, only losing his shutout when freshman forward Matt Salhany scored early in the third period for Alabama-Huntsville. Senior Joe Rogers replaced Katunar in goal in the game’s final minutes and made one save.
Rust put an exclamation point on his stellar performance at 6:25 of the third period with his seventh goal of the season, again assisted by Tynan, beating Larose glove side to earn his first career hat trick.
Irish coach Jeff Jackson said after Saturday’s game the weekend provided the Irish a chance to gain some comfort with their new plan for the remainder of the season.
“The best thing about it for us was just to get some line combinations to get some chemistry,” Jackson said. “I think that’s probably the most important thing. Plus, we implemented a few things about how we want to play in the second half here.”
Notre Dame returns to action Friday against Lake Superior State at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Contact Casey Karnes at firstname.lastname@example.org