Notre Dame splits series with No. 10 Providence
Alex Carson | Monday, February 16, 2015
In its penultimate home series of the season, Notre Dame settled for a split with No. 10 Providence, winning Friday’s game, 2-0, before falling to the Friars, 3-2, on Saturday.
Despite being outshot 10-1 in the early stages of Friday’s game, the Irish (13-15-4, 8-6-4 Hockey East) took the lead just past the midway point of the first period when junior center Thomas DiPauli fired a shot from the slot past Providence junior goaltender Jon Gillies for a power-play goal. After freshman defenseman Jordan Gross fed sophomore forward Vince Hinostroza, he set DiPauli up with the scoring chance. The assists — Gross’ 19th and Hinostroza’s 26th — continued points streaks for both players.
But despite Notre Dame’s early lead, it was freshman goaltender Cal Petersen’s night to shine. He made 38 saves en route to his third shutout of the year.
“[Cal’s] feeling pretty good right now, and he’s seeing the puck pretty well, and that’s half the battle,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “I’m sure we were fortunate with bounces at times but … he made some big saves.”
Petersen successfully weathered a barrage of last-minute efforts from Providence (18-10-2, 10-7-1). After the game, Friars coach Nate Leaman praised the Irish defensive unit.
“I thought it was a good team shutout [for Notre Dame],” Leaman said. “I thought they did a better job around their net with their sticks, winning a lot of battles.”
Hinostroza put the game on ice for the Irish in the final two minutes, scoring an insurance goal off a rebound. Freshman forward Anders Bjork’s shot was saved by Gillies, but the puck bounced back out to Hinostroza, who put it past the Friars goaltender for the 2-0 lead.
The Irish took Friday’s game despite being outshot by a 38-19 margin.
Saturday was another solid night for the Notre Dame power play — the unit is 13-for-40 in its last 11 outings — however, its two goals with a man advantage were not enough to push the Irish past Providence.
After a scoreless first period where the teams combined for 27 shots, the second stanza saw five goals go on the board.
The Friars got on the scoresheet first, as junior forward Kevin Rooney ended Petersen’s 137 minute, 53 second-long shutout streak by redirecting a shot past him at the 5:16 mark.
But just 2:16 later, senior defenseman Robbie Russo tied the game up. The goal was Russo’s 12th of the season, a mark that leads all NCAA defensemen.
The deadlock did not last long, however, as the Friars re-took the lead just 1:49 later when senior forward Ross Mauermann tapped the puck into a mostly-empty net. Rooney then doubled the lead a few minutes later, scoring the eventual game-winner to put Providence up 3-1.
“At the end of the day, we’re a team that scores at the net more than we do at the perimeter,” Leaman said. “I thought last night we didn’t win any of those battles around their net and tonight, we won three.”
The Irish made things interesting in the second period when senior forward Sam Herr scored a fluke power-play goal with two seconds remaining. Right when it looked as though the second period would end quietly, Herr got around a defender to gain the zone. With time dwindling, he threw a centering pass towards Hinostroza. However, the puck hit a Providence defender’s stick and beat Gillies to cut the deficit to one.
However, none of Notre Dame’s momentum carried over into the third — the offense managed just five shots and was unable to find a tying goal.
“This one hurts real bad,” Russo said. “A lot of guys worked hard, a lot of guys did their job and usually when that happens, we’re a good team and we’ll come out on top, and that didn’t happen tonight.”
The Irish took three penalties in the third period, including two in the final 10 minutes, but Jackson said he was fine with his team’s discipline.
“I’d probably rather talk to the Supervisor of Officials,” Jackson said.
The split left Notre Dame tied with Northeastern for fifth in Hockey East with four games left to play. The top four teams at the end of the season receive a bye and will host a quarterfinal series, while the fifth- through eighth-seeded teams will host a first-round series.
The Irish head east to take on No. 3 Boston University next weekend in a pair of games Friday and Saturday.