Notre Dame splits series with Black Bears
Alex Carson | Sunday, February 9, 2014
Senior right wing Bryan Rust scored twice in the final 70 seconds to lead No. 18 Notre Dame to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Maine on Saturday night, earning a series split after dropping a controversial 2-1 game Friday.
The Irish (16-12-1, 5-9-1 Hockey East) fell behind for the fourth straight game Saturday and left it to the bitter end to pick up a win that stopped a three-game losing streak.Notre Dame trailed the Black Bears (13-10-3, 7-5-2 Hockey East) by a goal with 1:18 to play, but then Irish senior center T.J. Tynan won a faceoff in the offensive zone to gain possession before senior defenseman Shayne Taker found Rust. Rust put a wrist shot past Maine senior goaltender Martin Ouellette’s glove side to tie the game at 2-2 with 1:08 to play.
“They’re cardiac kids,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “We’ll take it, though. Maybe tonight was [a turning point].”
Just 25 seconds later, Rust slalomed through the Maine defense and scored the game-winning goal with 43.6 seconds to play after assists from senior defenseman Stephen Johns and Taker.
“I just filled underneath their forechecker [on the game winner],” Rust said. “There was so much space there and it was lucky enough to be a good one.”
Early on, Notre Dame gave up the opening goal when Maine freshman center Cam Brown beat Irish senior goaltender Steven Summerhays on a wraparound less than nine minutes it.
But it did not take long for the Irish to answer as Tynan went top-shelf to beat Ouellette on the power play at the 13:44 mark. It was Notre Dame’s only power play goal of the weekend in nine tries.
“[Going 1-for-6 on the power play] was probably my biggest disappointment of the night,” Jackson said. “I didn’t think we were sharp on the power play.”
Maine took the lead on a two-man advantage when sophomore defenseman Ben Hutton beat Summerhays midway through the second period. But the Irish penalty kill buckled down and killed the remainder of Irish senior center Jeff Costello’s five-minute major penalty for cross-checking.
“With [senior defenseman Kevin Lind and Costello] in the box, other guys stepped up and did a really good job,” Jackson said.
During Friday night’s contest, the Black Bears took the lead in the game’s first minute when junior forward Connor Leen scored on the game’s first shot.
“We turned the puck over and the guy they used as a lock guy was open,” Jackson said.
The Irish then threw shot after shot at Ouellette — who had 36 saves Friday and 39 saves Saturday — but were unable to get the tying goal as Maine went 2-0 up when its senior captain and defenseman Brice O’Connor scored his first of the season with 6:33 left in regulation.
Notre Dame kept pushing Ouellette though and its hard work paid off when Costello was finally able to get one past the Maine goaltender with 1:23 to play. Costello thought he had tied it less than a minute later but after a lengthy review, officials waved the goal off.
“After watching it, [the official’s explanation] was a bad explanation,” Jackson said. “[The puck] was in the net before the goalie was pushed in. You can clearly see it between his legs, it was definitely over the goal line before he was pushed in. It’s a bad call, plain and simple.”
The Irish are back in action next weekend when they travel to Providence for a two-game series Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 before returning home to take on Boston University twice the following weekend.