Nov. 22, 2014
Notre Dame, Indiana –
For the second consecutive night, University of Notre Dame goaltender Chad Katunar made 32 saves with none bigger than his final save of the night when he stopped UMass Lowell’s Joe Gambardella on a breakaway with five seconds left in overtime to give the Irish a 2-2 tie with the River Hawks.
Notre Dame built a 2-0 lead in the game on goals by Mario Lucia and Sam Herr, only to see UMass Lowell battle back to tie the game at 2-2 on goals by John Edwardh and Gambardella. The Irish looked like they took the lead at 13:52 of the third period, scoring on a power-play goal by Austin Wuthrich but after a referee’s video review, an Irish player was ruled in the crease and the goal overturned.
The River Hawks out shot Notre Dame by a 34-23 margin with Katunar, who started back-to-back games for the first time in his career, 32 saves to equal his career high set on Thursday night. Kevin Boyle had 21 saves for UMass Lowell.
I thought Chad played really well tonight. He was the difference in the game for us,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
“You don’t shut down the top power play in the country without great goaltending”
The tie gives the Irish a 6-6-2 overall record and a 2-2-2 mark in Hockey East play. The fifth-ranked River Hawks are now 8-2-3 on they year and 5-0-2 in league play, good for 12 points and sole possession of first place in the Hockey East standings.
“After last night, I thought this was a much better performance,” said Jackson.
“We got more to the net which helped us a lot. They did a lot of things pretty well. They played hard and battled hard and probably deserved a better fate.”
The Irish got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead just 1:52 into the game on Lucia’s team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Even though it didn’t show up on the score sheet a big assist on the play goes to right wing Austin Wuthrich who forced a turnover behind the River Hawks’ goal with the puck ending up on Lucia’s stick in the left circle. The junior whipped a one-timer from the left dot over Boyle’s glove hand to put the Irish in front.
The lead would go to 2-0at 8:54 of the second period with Herr getting credit for the goal about two minutes after he scored it. Freshman right wing Jake Evans moved the puck from the right corner to the left point and defenseman Luke Ripley. The freshman from Kitimat, British Columbia fired a low hard shot that Boyle stopped with the rebound coming to the bottom of the right circle where Herr fired it on net. The puck appeared to beat the UMass Lowell goaltender and cross the goal line but the play continued.
At the next stoppage of play, the officials went to the video replay that showed the puck clearly crossed the blue line and Notre Dame had the 2-0 lead. The goal was Herr’s fifth of the season.
“I was just trying to get to the net. I got a lucky bounce that I just threw towards the net,” explained Herr.
“It was a little crazy the way it happened with the review and everything, but I was lucky that it went in.”
The River Hawks broke through on Katunar at 18:37 of the middle period on a goal by Edwardh that had its own share of controversy. Michael Colantone fired a shot from the slot that Katunar appeared to stop. The puck dribbled through his pads and sat behind him in the crease where Edwardh was able to tap it in for his third goal of the season. On the play, it appeared that the River Hawks were offside entering the zone but the play stood despite Irish efforts to get them to go to a replay.
“I tried to call a time out for them to review it,” said Jackson.
“He wouldn’t look at me, probably because I had been yelling at him a bit.”
UMass Lowell got the equalizer at 3:23 of the third off a face off in the right-wing circle. Michael Louria won a draw to C.J. Smith as Gambardella moved to the front of the net. Smith came back up the boards and curled around the circle sliding a pass in front that Gambardella got his stick on to redirect between Katunar’s pads for his sixth of the season and the 2-2 tie.
With Edwardh off for a holding the stick penalty, the Irish power play went to work for just the second time in the game.
Defenseman Jordan Gross fired a shot from the center point that Wuthrich appeared to deflect past Boyle at 13:52 of the third period.
While the Irish celebrated what they thought was their first power-play goal in 18 chances, the officials went to the replay and ruled that Thomas DiPauli was in the crease and disallowed the goal. Jackson complained after seeing the replay on the video board but got no explanation from the officials.
“He (the official) wouldn’t talk to me about it,” said Jackson.
“I got a chance to watch it too. I saw a power-play goal.”
From there, the goaltenders took over as Boyle and Katunar each made eight saves in the third period. In the extra five minutes, Katunar stopped three shots to one for Boyle.
With the Irish pressuring in the final 10 seconds, Gambardella broke up a pass at the Notre Dame blue line and raced down the ice on Katunar who didn’t give in to any of his moves to make a toe save on the UMass Lowell center to preserve the tie.
“I was just thinking about playing my angles and playing the shot right,” said Katunar.
“We worked so hard tonight and I didn’t want an unlucky play like that to determine the game. So there was some extra motivation to get out there and make the save. I got my left pad and then my toe on it to make the stop.”
The Irish are now 1-0-2 this season in overtime. They finished the night zero-for-two on the power play while the River Hawks were zero-for-three.
Notre Dame returns to action next weekend when the Irish play host to the fifth Shillelagh Tournament. Western Michigan will face Ohio State at 4:05 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 while the Irish will meet the defending national champions, Union College in the nightcap at 7:35 p.m.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 OT - FUMass Lowell (8-2-3/5-0-2) 0 1 1 0 - 2Notre Dame (6-6-2/2-2-2) 1 1 0 0 - 2
1st Period: ND: Mario Lucia 9 (unassisted), 1:52.
Penalties: UML: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: UML: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
3rd Period: UML: Joe Gambardella 6 (Michael Louria, C.J. Smith), 3:23.
Penalties: UML: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Overtime: No Scoring.
Penalties: UML: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:UMass Lowell 11 - 11 - 9 - 3 - 34Notre Dame 8 - 6 - 8 - 1 - 23
Goaltender Saves:UML: Kevin Boyle (65:00) 7 - 5 - 8 - 1 - 21ND: Chad Katunar (64:55) 11 - 10 - 8 - 3 - 32
Power Plays:UML: 0 for 3ND: 0 for 2