Irish sweep weekend series on road against Vermont
Kit Loughran | Monday, February 8, 2016
Sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen and his 38 saves Saturday night led Notre Dame’s sweep over Vermont this weekend.
No. 10 Notre Dame (16-5-7, 12-2-2 Hockey East) kicked off the road series with a 2-1 win over Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse and responded the following night with a 3-1 victory. Petersen made 38 saves in his 28th-consecutive start this season to solidify the sweep. After the two wins, the Irish stand tied with Boston College for first in the league standings.
“Cal did a great job,” Irish head coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was his first time playing in Vermont, and [Gutterson Fieldhouse] is a tough building. Our defense did a great job not giving up a lot of second shots, but Cal was responsible for controlling his rebounds. He’s been consistently good over the last couple months. Some nights he has to play in order for us to win.
“Vermont was tough [Saturday] night, and he was the difference maker.”
Petersen halted all 20 shots Vermont put on net in the first two periods Saturday night, but the contest took off in the third period. Sophomore center Jake Evans put the Irish up, 2-0, during the 10th minute of the period when he tipped in a shot from the point by sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross.
The Catamounts responded with a goal from sophomore forward Anthony Petruzzelli who tipped in a teammate’s shot from the point with 6:24 remaining in the period, the only one of Vermont’s 18 third period shots that found the net.
The Irish opened the scoring in the first period when Gross blasted home a shot off a faceoff win by sophomore center Connor Hurley. Senior left wing Sam Herr snapped a wrist shot into Vermont’s empty net late in the third to secure the 3-1 Irish victory.
“Our guys have done a good job when games are on the line,” Jackson said. “We’ve had big games that we had with two goal leads and given it up. We scored the second goal and then [Vermont] scored with seven minutes left, and for us to hang on and score the empty netter was good for our confidence.
“We faced a little adversary but definitely played our best period [in the third period].”
Notre Dame also found success in its penalty-killing unit against Vermont, holding the Vermont power play scoreless in six chances on Saturday night and two on Friday.
“We’ve done a great job over the past weeks [with our penalty-killing unit],” Jackson said. “We have three and even a fourth pair of forwards and the defensemen have done a great job in front of Cal.
“Since we’ve settled down into pairs we’ve gotten better and better. We minimize the penalties we take, especially in third period in games when they’re close.”
Friday night, senior centers Steven Fogarty and Thomas DiPauli each netted a goal for the Irish, as they helped Notre Dame improve to 7-1-1 in road/neutral site Hockey East games this season. Now the Irish look to add to their home record as they return home to host Maine next weekend at Compton Family Ice Arena.
“We need to out work our opponent,” Jackson said. “Maine is one of hardest working teams in conference. … They’re playing hard right now.
“Their goaltender has solidified their game, and they have guys that can skate. I hope our guys can take advantage of being at home.”
Notre Dame hosts conference opponent Maine at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Friday’s series-opening game will start at 6:40 p.m.