ND grabs first win in nine tries at home
Brian Plamondon | Monday, February 2, 2015
Sophomore center Vince Hinostroza tallied four points and the Irish snapped an eight-game winless streak on home ice as Notre Dame split their weekend series with New Hampshire at Compton Family Ice Arena.
New Hampshire (9-15-2, 4-9-1 Hockey East) jumped out to a 4-0 lead Friday en route to a 5-2 victory over the Irish (11-14-3, 6-5-3). Notre Dame responded with a 5-3 win Saturday night.
Saturday’s win was the first at home for the Irish since a 3-2 win over No. 15 Vermont on Oct. 31, a span that saw them go 0-5-3.
“It’s important for the morale,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said of finally breaking through at home. “Part of the reason we built this building was to create that level of excitement and energy, and we have to take advantage of that.”
After falling behind 4-0 on Friday night, Notre Dame came out with much more energy Saturday, Jackson said. Senior right wing Austin Wuthrich opened the scoring for the Irish with 2:14 left in the first period, good for his seventh goal of the season. Jackson said he stressed seizing the game early and not recoiling in the moment to his players.
“[I told them] the only way you grow is to face adversity,” Jackson said.
Notre Dame quickly added to their lead 2:32 into the second period, when Hinostroza found junior center Steven Fogarty with a beautiful backdoor feed, a power play goal Wildcats’ freshman goalie Danny Tirone had no chance on.
New Hampshire leveled the scoring, however, before the halfway mark of the period. Freshman center Warren Foegele beat Irish sophomore goalie Chad Katunar five-hole on a 2-on-1, while sophomore defenseman Matias Cleland netted a power play goal that was helped by a screen in front of the net.
Notre Dame responded in the form of sophomore right wing Ben Ostlie and freshman defenseman Tony Bretzman, both of whom scored their first collegiate goals. Ostlie’s came on a redirect that trickled past Tirone at 11:54 of the second period, while Bretzman fired a slap shot from the point at 2:06 of the third period after a stellar feed from Hinostroza.
“It’s exciting to finally see a puck go in the net for me,” Ostlie said. “I’ve been working hard and finally got some glory.”
The Irish held on to the lead, but not without a scare from the Wildcats. Just seconds after New Hampshire failed to convert on a power play, sophomore right winger Tyler Kelleher found himself wide-open on the doorstep and cut the lead to 4-3 with 2:33 to play.
Wuthrich, however, sealed the victory for the Irish with an empty net goal, and helped Katunar notch his first win since Dec. 5. Katunar stood tall when he needed to, coming up big in the third period for Notre Dame, Jackson said.
“That’s what we’ve been lacking,” Jackson said. “You have to have that ability to make that big save when it’s needed, and he made a few of those.”
The start to Friday’s game was much different for the Irish. They were victimized by odd-man rushes and a turnover behind their own net, two areas that have plagued the Irish all season. After falling behind 3-0, freshman goalie Cal Petersen was pulled in favor of Katunar.
New Hampshire would score once more before Notre Dame could get on the board. Foegele fed fellow freshman Andrew Potularski in the slot for a one-timer at the 12:11 mark of the second period.
When asked about his teams’ troubles, Jackson pointed to their turnovers and compete level.
“There are no excuses,” Jackson said. “We have to do a better job with the puck first and foremost.”
Notre Dame showed life at the end of the second period, with goals by junior left wing Mario Lucia and Hinostroza in quick succession. Lucia potted one on the power play with :44 left, where Tirone had no chance to get across to Lucia. With the period winding down, Hinostroza closed the gap to 4-2 with under :02 to go. That got the crowd at Compton energized, but it was the closest the Irish would get the rest of the way, as they eventually fell 5-2.
“After we got those two power play goals, we had a period break,” Jackson said. “It would have been nice if we could have continued playing.”
Notre Dame returns to action next weekend when they travel to Maine for a pair of tilts Friday and Saturday that both get underway at 7:05 p.m.