ND drops two over weekend
Alex Carson | Sunday, October 12, 2014
No. 13 Notre Dame finished last at the Icebreaker Tournament this weekend at the Compton Family Ice Arena, losing 3-2 to Rensselaer on Friday night and 3-0 to Minnesota-Duluth on Sunday afternoon, marking the first 0-2 start for the Irish in nine years.
Trailing Rensselaer (1-1-0) by a goal early in the third period Friday night, Notre Dame tied the game up when freshman defender Jordan Gross buried a rebound past Engineer junior goaltender Jason Kasdorf to make it 2-2.
However, just 51 seconds later, with 4:32 to play, Rensselaer junior center Mark Miller returned the favor, putting a rebound past Irish sophomore goaltender Chad Katunar to tally the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win for the visitors.
Irish coach Jeff Jackson said he thought the Irish were unable to deal with Rensselaer’s 1-3-1 forecheck.
“The difference in the game was between the blue lines,” Jackson said. “They contested us well. They play a 1-3-1 in the neutral zone, and that’s a tough neutral zone forecheck to play against. It makes it challenging to get through.”
After 17 minutes of scoreless play to open the game, Notre Dame went ahead when junior winger Sam Herr’s shot ricocheted off of junior winger Mario Lucia’s skate and into the Engineer net for the game’s first goal. Lucia is Notre Dame’s leading returning goal-scorer from last season.
Despite going into the first intermission up a goal, the Irish lead did not last in the second period. Just 42 seconds into the stanza, Rensselaer freshman center Viktor Liljegren scored a rebound goal on a power play to tie the game. The Engineers beat Katunar again five minutes later when senior center Jacob Laliberte fired a shot over Katunar’s left shoulder to put his team 2-1 up. Katunar finished with 26 saves, a career high, in his fourth career start.
“I thought we came out strong and had a good first period and we weren’t as good in the second period,” Jackson said.
With the teams skating four-on-four, Gross buried a rebound off of a shot from senior defender Robbie Russo to tie the game at 2-2 just 3:41 into the final period. However, the Irish lead did not last long as Miller beat Katunar at the 4:32 mark to retake the lead for the Engineers — a margin that would hold for the remaining 15 minutes to hand the Irish their first loss of the season.
In Sunday’s third-place game, Minnesota Duluth (1-1-0) made use of an early Irish penalty to take a lead they would not surrender.
After Russo went off for hooking at the 6:29 mark of the first, junior center Tony Camaranesi put the Bulldogs ahead after Notre Dame was unable to clear the zone. In his first collegiate start, Irish freshman goaltender Cal Petersen made two saves on the power play but was unable to reach the third attempt, as the Bulldogs went ahead, 1-0. Petersen made 11 saves on 12 shots in the first period and finished the game with 26 saves.“I thought both goaltenders played well,” Jackson said. “I thought some our young defensemen — a little inconsistent at times — they played well in most circumstances.”
A third of the way through the second period, the Bulldogs capitalized on another power play opportunity to go 2-0 up when sophomore winger Alex Iafallo beat Petersen with a backhanded shot.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Jackson said. “We started getting a little momentum, and we gave up a goal or we start getting a little momentum and we give up a penalty. We kill ourselves. We took one offensive zone penalty, we took two power play penalties. You’re not going to win doing that.”
It appeared as if Notre Dame would get to the second intermission just two goals down. However, the Bulldogs pounced with just 35 seconds left in the stanza when sophomore center Dominic Toninato struck. Counting Notre Dame’s exhibition against Waterloo last Sunday, it marked three straight second periods where the Irish gave up two goals while failing to score.
“You never want to give up a goal in the last minute but when you score one, you carry that momentum through into the third,” Toninato said.
Despite registering 23 shots on the day, the Irish were unable to beat Duluth junior goaltender Matt McNeely, as a scoreless third period pushed Notre Dame to 0-2 for the first time since the 2005-06 season, Jackson’s first year at Notre Dame.
“Any time you lose two games at home, it’s not good,” Jackson said. “I’m going to be patient. I have to be. I have no alternative. We have some good young players but they’re young. … But the veterans have to lead the way.”
No. 1 Minnesota won the tournament after defeating Duluth, 4-2, on Friday and Rensselaer, 3-0, on Sunday.
Notre Dame is back in action next weekend when it hosts Lake Superior State for a pair of games. Puck drop for the first game is set for Friday at 7:35 p.m., while the second game will be played Saturday at 6:05 p.m.