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Hockey: Squad dominates in exhibition

Casey Karnes | Monday, October 7, 2013

The Irish dominated wire-to-wire in their return to Compton Family Ice Arena against visiting Guelph, winning 5-2 in the opening exhibition of the 2013-14 season.

It was the Gryphon’s second exhibition loss and Notre Dame’s only preseason tilt before its opener Friday against Western Michigan. The Irish came out aggressive from the start, outshooting the Gryphons, with 20 shots on goal against 11 for the opposition.

Irish senior goaltender Steven Summerhays showed little rust, stopping all 15 shots launched by Guelph and making quick recoveries to prevent the Gryphons from capitalizing on rebounds.

Offensively, a pair of returnees got the Irish on the board in the first period, as junior right wing Mike Voran and sophomore left wing Mario Lucia both drove the puck past Gryphons’ senior goalie Andrew Loverock. Even though it was an exhibition, Voran, who scored again in the third period, said it felt good to start the season strong on offense.

“Scoring goals never gets old,” Voran said. “It definitely felt good to get on the score sheet. It was nice. Everyone was involved tonight; everyone was contributing. That was great to see.”

Lucia’s goal came on a power play in the 13th minute, one of the seven the Irish gained an advantage on during the night. The game was very physical, with 16 penalties called and two Guelph players, sophomore Brett Appio and freshman Kyle Neuber, being served with game misconducts and receiving ejections. After his team only capitalized on two of their seven chances, Irish coach Jeff Jackson said special teams was an area Notre Dame must improve in as the season progresses.

“Special teams are still a work in progress,” Jackson said. “We haven’t spent a ton of time [in] power play yet. We experimented with a few things and a few people, and I think we had some really good chances that we didn’t finish on, too. Special teams have got to be a focal point for us this year. We’ve got the personnel; it’s just a matter of inserting the right people.”

Even without taking full advantage of their power plays, the Irish still had more than enough offense to secure a win. Freshman center Vince Hinostroza, who assisted Voran on his first goal, notched Notre Dame’s first goal in the second period, assisted by junior right wing Austin Wuthrich and sophomore center Steven Fogarty. Senior center T.J. Tynan put the Irish up 4-0 after putting home an assist from a fellow senior, defenseman Stephen Johns.

While at one point in the first period the Irish and Gryphons had 10 shots apiece, by the period’s end, the ratio was 20-11 in favor of the Irish.

The Gryphons offense came alive in the third period, however, as they outscored the Irish 2-1. Their first goal came on a power play when junior forward Jordan Mock knocked a rebound out of the air and past Irish freshman goalie Chad Katunar, who replaced Summerhays midway through the second period. Voran’s second goal, a point-blank rocket assisted by sophomore left wing Sam Herr and senior center David Gerths, acted as an immediate response by the Irish, eliminating the Gryphons’ momentum just 22 seconds after their first goal. Guelph would score again in the final two minutes when junior forward Michael Charbonneau knocked it past Katuner from up close, but it was too late to affect the outcome.

Despite his own two goals, Voran said he was most impressed with the newcomer Hinostroza.

“I know [Hinostroza] is just a freshman, but just watching him you can see the poise with the puck he has,” Voran said.

Jackson also said he saw a lot of potential in Hinostroza.

“I thought he played very well at times,” Jackson said. “He does a lot of neat things with the puck – very skilled, very dynamic player. He’s a guy that’s got a real bright future.”

Seeing how newcomers like Hinostroza fit in with the returnees in game action was just as important for the Irish as actually winning the exhibition, according to Jackson.

“The chemistry on lines is really what we’re looking for right now,” Jackson said. “I was experimenting with different people on lines. I thought we found some good combinations.”

Now with a better idea of their rotations, the Irish will host Western Michigan on Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena in their season opener.