March 12, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Northeastern scored four goals in a span of 6:56 between the end of the first period and start of the second period en route to a 6-4 victory on Saturday night over tenth-ranked and third-seeded Notre Dame, knocking the Irish out of the Hockey East title hunt in the second game of a best-of-three quarterfinal series at the Compton Family Ice Arena (4,200).
Sophomore defenseman Luke Ripley scored the game’s first goal at 14:38 of the first period, but it would mark Notre Dame’s only lead of the game as the Huskies scored four unanswered goals in a flurry of offense between the first and second stanzas. The Irish also got a pair of third-period goals from senior forward Mario Lucia and another from senior forward Thomas DiPauli.
“When you play good teams like Northeastern you have to play 60 minutes,” DiPauli said. “You can’t make little mistakes. You can’t get lazy for one shift. They’re good players, and they’re a hard-working team; they’ll make you pay for it. I think we just have to learn from that and move forward the best we can.”
Ripley’s goal was followed by four straight goals from Northeastern. The Huskies got a power play goal with 1:10 left in the first period to take a 1-1 tie into the first intermission, then scored three goals within the first six minutes of the second period to grab a commanding lead.
“First of all, I thought the whole momentum of the game changed when we took that penalty at the end of the first,” Irish head coach Jeff Jackson stated. “I thought we were playing really well up to that point. That late goal in the period definitely had an impact on the momentum of the game. We got sloppy, especially coming out of our zone with the puck.”
Lucia cut the lead to 4-2 with five seconds to play in the second, but the Huskies scored the next two goals to effectively put the game away. DiPauli and Lucia answered with goals in the last four minutes of regulation before the final horn blared.
The power play was fruitful for both teams with the Irish converting 1-of-4 chances while the Huskies made good on 2-of-5 opportunities.
Notre Dame (19-10-7, 15-5-2 HEA) sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen made 28 saves. Northeastern (20-13-5, 10-8-4 HEA) goaltender Ryan Ruck finished with 25 saves.
The Irish will learn their NCAA tournament fate on March 20 when the national championship field is announced.
“We’ve never played three opponents like we have in the last three weeks all season,” Jackson said. “Some of our deficiencies have shown up. It’s just a matter of us, as coaches, and our team getting together and coming up with the best solution to deal with it. I’m not going to say that we’re locked into the NCAA tournament yet; we have to hope that we’re still playing. If we get that opportunity, its going to be the same caliber of teams that we’re playing. We’re going to have to be much better with our puck decisions because that led to the majority of our issues.
— Northeastern evened the score on the power play at the 18:50 mark of the first when Colton Saucerman got past Cal Petersen for his fourth goal of the season with assists from Garret Cockerill and Kevin Roy.
— The Huskies went ahead at the 2:26 marker of the second period, with Roy finishing off a pass from Sam Kurker in front of the net after Kurker got loose up the right side.
— Soon after, Northeastern went up 3-1 when Nolan Stevens scored his 18th goal of the season, sneaking a shot to Petersen’s right off the pass from Cockerill at 3:33 of the second.
— Dylan Sikura gave the Huskies their third goal of the second period on a power play at 5:46, 12 seconds after Anders Bjork was sent to the box for hooking. Saucerman and Roy assisted on the score to give Northeastern a 4-1 lead.
— Mario Lucia cut the margin to 4-2 at 19:55 of the second, as a flurry of activity in front of the net led to a skittering goal past Ryan Ruck. It was Lucia’s 11th tally of the season, with assists from Bjork and Jake Evans.
— Roy poked in his second goal of the night to give Northeastern a 5-2 lead, redirecting Saucerman’s blue-line shot past Petersen from the top of the crease at 1:12 of the third period.
— Northeastern went up 6-2 when Tanner Pond received Sikura’s behind-the-net pass between the circles and went over Petersen’s left shoulder for his third goal of the year. Mike McMurtry was credited with the second assist.
— Lucia tallied in his second goal of the game and 12th of the season on a power play in the game’s final minute (19:38), with the assist going to DiPauli.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.