Peter Schneider had a goal and four assists in last weekend's series against UMass.

Hockey Faces No. 14 UMass Lowell in Quarterfinals

March 13, 2015

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Notre Dame aims to join the 2003 New Hampshire Wildcats as the only teams to eliminate both UMass branches in the same Hockey East playoffs this weekend as the Irish head to UMass Lowell for the quarterfinals after eliminating the Amherst flagship campus’ team last weekend. Last year, the Irish similarly eliminated both “Boston” teams, beating Boston University at home in the first round before defeating Boston College in the quarterfinals in Chestnut Hill.

Sunday night was the equivalent of a professional Game 7 when the winner wins a tied series to advance on and the loser’s season ends and, as usual, Notre Dame prevailed in that scenario, beating Massachusetts, 7-0. It was the 10th time that Notre Dame had faced this winner-takes-all Game 3 scenario and the Irish are 8-2 all-time, winning each of the last eight games. When losing Game 1 and winning Game 2, the Irish are 4-0 in Game 3, last seeing this scenario in 2008 against Ferris State before last weekend. At home, the Irish are 5-1 in Game 3s, all of which were played at the Joyce Center prior to 2015. This was the second consecutive year that the Irish have been in this situation. Notre Dame upset top-seeded Boston College in the 2014 Hockey East quarterfinals, beating the Eagles, 4-2, on their home ice in a Game 3 on March 16. Notre Dame took the first game of that series, 7-2, but BC won the second, 4-2. The CCHA also used a best-of-three format in postseason rounds prior to reaching the semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, providing the Irish with their first eight Game 3 experiences.

The UMass Lowell River Hawks have been a tough draw for Notre Dame in its brief Hockey East tenure. The Irish are 0-4-1 against the River Hawks all-time with all five meetings coming in the past two seasons. UMass Lowell and Connecticut are the only Hockey East members that Notre Dame had never faced prior to joining the league. Notre Dame dropped a pair of games in its first visit to the Tsongas Center, Nov. 22-23, 2014. UMass Lowell beat Notre Dame in the 2014 Hockey East semifinals at TD Garden. This past November at the Compton Family Ice Arena, the Irish picked up a tie against the River Hawks on Nov. 21 after losing on Nov. 20. UMass Lowell and Alaska-Anchorage (0-6-0) are the only teams that the Irish have faced more than twice and never defeated.

Notre Dame and Massachusetts made history in the early morning hours of March 7 as their Friday, March 6 game extended into a fifth overtime and became the longest collegiate hockey game ever played. Shane Walsh scored to win it for the Minutemen, 4-3, at 11:42 of the fifth overtime.

* At 151:42, it eclipsed the 150:22 affair when Quinnipiac beat Union, 3-2, on March 12, 2010 in an ECAC quarterfinal game played in Schenectady, New York. Walsh’s goal came a mere 1:20 after setting the record.

* The previous longest game in Irish hockey history was a mere 95:18 that it took to complete a 3-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville on March 23, 2007 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That game was 56:24 shorter than the March 6 contest – nearly a full regulation game shorter.

* Irish netminder Cal Petersen set an NCAA Division I record by making 87 saves on the night. UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz stopped 75 shots, leaving him tied for fifth in NCAA history in a single game. Petersen had made 55 saves in his last previous game (Feb. 28 vs. Boston College), giving him 142 saves in consecutive starts.

* Reflecting the duration of the game, Petersen entered the contest with a 2.39 goals against average. He surrendered four goals yet saw his GAA drop to 2.32 after playing the equivalent of 2.5 games in one.

* The game began at 7:35 p.m. and ended at 1:24 a.m., an elapsed span of 5:49.

* The game did not see any penalties after the second period. After Austin Wuthrich went off for hooking at 19:00 of the second period, 112:42 of penalty-free hockey was played.

* Both teams cancelled their morning skates on Saturday after skating into early Saturday morning. The series would feature the equivalent of 4.5 games of hockey played over a 49-hour span.

* It was an interesting weekend for the Pooley family. Scott Pooley, son of Irish associate head coach Paul Pooley, is a sophomore forward at Holy Cross. The younger Pooley’s Crusaders played in the eighth-longest game in NCAA Division I history on March 7 as Holy Cross needed 111:40 to beat Niagara, 2-1, in Worcester, Massachusetts in the first round of Atlantic Hockey’s playoffs.

For the fifth week in a row, Cal Petersen found his name listed among Hockey East’s best players for the previous week on Monday. Petersen repeated his league Rookie of the Week accolade after his record-smashing performance in the team’s first round playoff series win over Massachusetts.

Petersen would be also named the NCAA’s first star of the week on Tuesday.

Prior to being Hockey East’s top rookie on both March 2 and March 9, Petersen was also named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week twice (Feb. 9 and Feb. 16) and the league’s overall Player of the Week once (Feb. 23). Additionally, Petersen earned Hockey East’s Stop It Goaltender of the Month for February.

Petersen set an NCAA Division I record on March 6 as he made 87 saves in Notre Dame’s 4-3 loss to UMass. The contest was not settled until the 11:42 mark of the fifth overtime, making it the longest game in college hockey history. Just 15 and a half hours after playing the equivalent of 2.5 games in Friday’s battle, Petersen was back in net Saturday night, March 7, helping the Irish to a 5-3 victory that evened the best-of-three series.

On March 8, in a winner-takes-all scenario, Petersen stopped all 22 UMass shots he faced to pick up a shutout and help the Irish advance to the Hockey East quarterfinals with a 7-0 victory. It marked Petersen’s fourth shutout of the year, tying David Brown’s school freshman record set in 2003-04. The four shutouts tie for the Hockey East lead on the season and tie for sixth nationally.

In a weekend where he played 271:07 minutes of hockey in a 49-hour span, Petersen recorded a .950 save percentage, stopping 132 of 139 shots, while posting a 1.55 goals against average.

Since taking over as Notre Dame’s top goaltender prior to the third period of the Feb. 6 game at Maine, Petersen leads the nation in saves (411), save percentage (.958) and minutes played (761:42). He ranks seventh nationally, and first in Hockey East, with a 1.50 goals against average since Feb. 6. Petersen has posted a 6-3-1 record since Feb. 6, including wins over three top 10 teams in No. 2 Boston University, No. 9 Boston College and No. 10 Providence College.

Petersen is the first person to win the Hockey East player, rookie and defensive player of the week accolades during the regular season since Dan Sullivan of Maine claimed all three during the 2010-11 season.

Cal Petersen has made a habit of starting strong during his current run of great goaltending. Petersen has posted a shutout in seven of his 10 opening stanzas, including a 22-save effort against No. 9 Boston College on Feb. 28. Petersen carried a 106:08 shutout streak in the first period between Feb. 7 and Feb. 27. This has helped Notre Dame outscore its opponents 37-24 in the first 20 minutes of games this year, by far its largest margin of any period.

Vince Hinostroza’s third period game-winning goal on Feb. 21 at No. 2/3 Boston University was Notre Dame’s 100th goal of the season. The Irish became the 11th team nationally to have scored 100 goals on the 2014-15 season and the third in Hockey East at that time, joining Boston University and UMass Lowell. The Irish are currently tied with Minnesota for sixth nationally with 118 goals, looking up only at BU (124) within the Hockey East ranks.

When last the Irish last took to the road, they enjoyed one of their better performances of the season, Feb. 20-21, taking three out of four points on at No. 2/3 Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The Irish became the first team this year to take points from the Terriers twice, tying BU, 2-2, on Friday night before posting a 3-2 victory on Saturday. BU lead Hockey East, and ranked second nationally, averaging 3.75 goals per game entering the weekend but tallied just four times, its lowest mark all season for a weekend set against the same opponent. Notre Dame’s weekend in Boston continued a torrid streak against the Terriers as the Irish are now undefeated at 5-0-2 in their last seven matchups with Boston University.

Defenseman Robbie Russo is tops among all blueliners nationally with 13 goals and is second in the nation with his 37 points. Russo’s 13 goals are already the fifth-most for an entire season by a Hockey East defenseman since 2002-03. He has the only hat trick in the country this year for a blueliner and the only one in Hockey East since at least the 2011-12 season.

Anders Bjork’s game-tying goal with 3:43 left in regulation at No. 2/3 Boston University on Feb. 20 extended a scoring streak to six games. That streak has ended, but since assisting on a goal in Notre Dame’s Jan. 31 win over New Hampshire, the Boston Bruins draftee had four goals and six assists for 10 points through Feb. 28. The 10 points between Jan. 31 and Feb. 28 tied for the third-most nationally among freshmen behind only BU’s Jack Eichel and Denver’s Danton Heinen, both with 15.

Notre Dame’s power play unit sprang to life beginning with the Jan. 10 game against Western Michigan. The Irish scored a power play goal in eight consecutive games from that evening on – its longest streak since opening the 2011 season with a run of eight consecutive games scoring on the power play. The Irish now have at least one power play goal in 14 of its last 18 games. Notre Dame has scored 18 power play goals since the streak began on Jan. 10. Nationally, the 18 goals are the second-most during this span. Only Boston University (23) has scored more power play goals since Jan. 10 than Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s conversion rate of 27.3 percent (18 of 66) is fifth nationally and second only to BU’s 35.4 percent in Hockey East. The Irish out-dueled the Terriers on the power play Feb. 20-21 at BU’s Agganis Arena, going a combined two for six while BU was one for nine on the power play.

Not only has Notre Dame’s power play been hot of late but the team’s penalty kill unit has been one of the best in the nation. Notre Dame leads Hockey East with an 89.5 percent penalty killing rate since Feb. 1, yielding just four power play goals in 38 chances. UMass Lowell and Merrimack are tied for second in the league with an 88.0 percent penalty kill since Feb. 1.

Vince Hinostroza factored into all three of Notre Dame’s goals in the Feb. 21 3-2 upset win at No. 2/3 Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Hinostroza was a part of the behind the net cycle that led to Mario Lucia’s strike with 0.1 seconds remaining in the first period. The Notre Dame lead swelled to 2-0 early in the second period when Sam Herr scored a power play goal where Hinostroza helped move the puck around the offensive zone. Hinostroza scored the game-winning goal himself on a power play 1:45 into the third period. The sophomore Chicago Blackhawks draft pick leads Notre Dame with both 32 assists and 43 points this year. Since Jan. 31, Hinostroza leads the nation with both his 20 points and his 13 assists.

Vince Hinostroza came to Maine, saw the ice and conquered the score sheet as he picked up three points and the Army ROTC first star of the game accolade in both of Notre Dame’s contests at Maine, Feb. 6-7. Hinostroza set up three goals in the 4-4 tie on Friday night, each of which either tied the game or gave the Irish the lead. It marked his second three-assist game of the year. No Notre Dame skater has had four assists in a game since Stephen Johns against Canisius on Dec. 29, 2010. Saturday night saw Hinostroza score twice and add an assist in Notre Dame’s 5-1 win. Hinostroza continued this run on Feb. 13 contributing to both Irish tallies (a goal and an assist), in a 2-0 win over No. 10 Providence. He went on to have a hand in all three goals during Notre Dame’s 3-2 win over No. 2/3 Boston University on Feb. 21. Hinostroza set up two goals, including the game-winner, in the 3-1 win over No. 9 Boston College on Feb. 28. He went 3-2-5 in the team’s first roud series against UMass (March 6-8), scoring Game 2’s game-winning goal in the third period. With 32 assists on the year, Hinostroza is tied for second in both Hockey East and the nation. Only Jack Eichel (37) of Boston University can top Hinostroza and only Evan Rodrigues of Boston University, and Mike Reilly of Minnesota can match Hinostroza.

Vince Hinostroza had an eight-game scoring streak snapped on Feb. 14, one which included five multiple-point games, but he has not slowed down much, including two assists in Saturday night’s 3-1 win over Boston College, his 12th multiple-point game of the year. Hinostroza has accumulated 26 points (eight goals and 18 assists) since this hot streak began at UConn on Jan. 18. Over that span, he ranks second nationally in points, trailing only Boston University’s Evan Rodrigues (27) and first in assists with his 18. Hinostroza has been particularly effective on the power play. Since Jan. 18, 12 of Hinostroza’s 26 points have been recorded with a man-advantage, matching Jack Eichel of Boston University for the most of any player nationally over this period.

With 20 goals to his credit this winter, Mario Lucia stands second in Hockey East. Only Ahti Oksanen of Boston University has more with his 22. Lucia’s 20 goals tie for ninth in the nation. Lucia’s 20 goals on the year are the most by an Irish skater since Anders Lee’s 2012-13 team-leading sum of 20. With 30 points on his junior campaign, Lucia is tied for 17th in Hockey East.

Freshman defenseman Jordan Gross has made an immediate impact at both ends of the ice. His 25 points on the year (six goals and 19 assists) rank first in the nation among freshman defensemen and seventh in Hockey East among all rookies. Gross’ 19 assists are tied for eighth overall by a freshman of any position. His six goals on the year tie for third nationally for freshman defensemen. Gross has done this while maintaining a +9 rating, tied for second on Notre Dame behind just his usual defensive partner, Robbie Russo.

Notre Dame’s top line of Thomas DiPauli (Caldaro, Italy), Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn., USA) and Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria) call three different nations “home” but they worked very well as one on the ice against Massachusetts. In Notre Dame’s two wins over the Minutemen, March 7 and 8, the trio combined for five goals and eight assists for 13 points. DiPauli assisted on three goals during the Game 2 win on March 7, while Fogarty scored one and a Schneider both scored and assisted on a goal. In Game 3, DiPauli’s goal just 48 seconds into play spurred the Irish onto a 7-0 victory in which DiPauli would score twice, Schneider would set up three goals (including both of DiPauli’s) and Fogarty would contribute both a goal and an assist.

Notre Dame posted a 7-0 win over Massachusetts in the decisive Game 3 of their first round series on March 8. It tied for the most lopsided shutout win for the Irish since beating Villanova, 14-0, on Feb. 12, 1988.