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Petersen leads to three points

| Sunday, November 2, 2014

After notching a 3-2 win Friday night, No. 20 Notre Dame was within a minute of securing a weekend sweep of No. 13 Vermont on Saturday. A last-minute goal by Catamounts senior forward Colin Markison, however, meant the Irish had to settle for three points and a 2-2 tie in the series finale.

Freshman goaltender Cal Petersen stopped 34 of 36 shots Friday and 42 of 44 on Saturday in his first career two-start weekend for the Irish (5-2-1, 1-0-1 Hockey East) as they played previously-unbeaten Vermont (4-1-1, 2-1-1) to open their conference slate.

“It’s disappointing [to not get the sweep], but it’s a three-point weekend, so we certainly can’t complain about that,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said.

After laboring through most of the first period Friday against the Catamounts — the Irish had just four shots on goal in the game’s first 17 minutes — Notre Dame struck quickly to build a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.

With fewer than three minutes remaining in the period, junior forward Thomas DiPauli skated in from the point and fired a wrist shot toward Vermont sophomore goaltender Mike Santaguida. The initial shot was saved, but Santaguida was unable to prevent a rebound, and DiPauli scored on the second effort. Irish junior defenseman Andy Ryan tallied an assist on the goal, which was DiPauli’s second of the year.

“You shoot the puck, and you’re just trying to get a shot on net, and it comes out like a juicy rebound like that, and it’s exactly what you want to see,” DiPauli said. “It lands on my tape, and it’s pretty easy from there.”

It took just 70 seconds for Notre Dame to double its lead. Coming off a week in which he traveled back to his native Austria to attend his grandmother’s funeral, senior forward Peter Schneider fed the puck to the team’s leading scorer, junior forward Mario Lucia, to bury in the back of the net. Sophomore center Vince Hinostroza also was credited with an assist on the play, one that extended the Irish advantage with 1:33 to play in the first period.

“We needed [Peter],” Jackson said. “We really needed to have him back. It says a lot about his character — he wanted to be in the lineup. … For him to go all the way to Vienna and back in three days … that’s why he’s a captain.”

Notre Dame, however, found the second period difficult once again and gave up a pair of goals in the middle stanza’s final five minutes. Petersen was unable to find the puck after making his 18th save of the night and with five minutes to play in the period, Vermont freshman forward Jarrid Privitera put the puck past the Irish goalie for his first collegiate goal. Then, with 1:51 to play, the Catamounts tied the game when senior forward Kyle Reynolds bagged his first goal of the year.

“A two-goal lead’s the worst lead in hockey,” Jackson said. “There’s always a letdown, and the other team always elevates, and [Vermont] did — they had a really good second period, and we didn’t match it. … They were a lot stronger on their forecheck and caused a lot of turnovers.”

Seven and a half minutes into the third period, however, DiPauli produced the game’s final entry on the scoresheet. DiPauli carried the puck in along the boards and got around the defender to the middle of the ice before firing a top-shelf, glove-side wrister past Santaguida to give the Irish a 3-2 lead. Freshman forward Anders Bjork and senior defenseman Robbie Russo had assists on the play, but it was DiPauli who carried the puck into the attacking zone himself.

“All of our goals started in our [defensive] zone, so that has a lot to say,” DiPauli said. “Bjorky made a nice play out of the zone, and I just came down and shot it.”

With the Vermont net empty and the Catamounts pushing for a tying goal, Petersen stood strong and finished the evening with a 32-save performance to help the Irish hold on for the win.

“I thought [Petersen] played well,” Jackson said. “He made some big saves for us.”

Saturday saw Notre Dame grab a 2-0 lead for the second consecutive night. After a scoreless first period, the Irish did not waste time getting on the board when freshman forward Jake Evans scored an unassisted goal just more than a minute into the period. The goal came after a botched clearance attempt by the Vermont defense that sent the puck straight to Evans.

It was 2-0 just a few minutes later when Lucia stayed hot, scoring his eighth goal in as many games, converting a tic-tac-toe goal into a mostly-open net. Hinostroza was the ‘tic’ along the boards, Schneider the ‘tac’ to the goalie’s right and Lucia the ‘toe’ in front of the net as the Irish doubled their advantage seven minutes into the period.

“[I’m] just getting myself in the right areas,” Lucia said. “Tonight, I was the beneficiary of an incredible play by both Vince and Schneids, and I just had to put it in the back of the net.”

Late in the period, Hinostroza and freshman defenseman Luke Ripley each took penalties that gave the Catamounts a 100-second-long, 5-on-3 advantage, one that Notre Dame killed to get into the second intermission up 2-0.

However, coming out of the intermission, the ice remained tilted towards Petersen’s net — the Catamounts fired 17 shots on goal in the third period — and eventually, the visitors got a breakthrough. Petersen was drawn out of the crease to make an initial save but could not control the rebound, which allowed Catamounts sophomore forward Brady Shaw to poke the puck home and close Vermont’s deficit to 2-1.

Until the Catamounts pulled junior goaltender Brody Hoffman — who made a few key saves down the stretch on Irish odd-man rushes — it appeared Notre Dame would hold on to its lead and secure the series sweep. However, with 41 seconds remaining, Petersen’s save left a rebound, and senior forward Colin Markison hacked it home to level the scores.

“We went much more aggressive on the forecheck at the end of the game, and I think that was really the difference,” Catamounts coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We were able to put ND on the back of their heels a little bit.”

Each goaltender was forced to make a few saves in the ensuing overtime period, but neither team could land one more blow, and the teams split the points.

For Notre Dame, it was a three-point weekend to start conference play, an improvement on last year’s split series in Burlington.

“It’s frustrating [to lose the lead], but in the grand scheme, we got three out of four points,” Lucia said. “On the bright side, it was a good weekend for our team, and I’m sure we made a lot of strides in the last couple of weeks.”

The Irish will travel to No. 1 Minnesota this weekend for a two-game series. Puck drops are 8 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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