Nov. 20, 2014
Notre Dame, Indiana –
For some reason, the University of Massachusetts Lowell has a mastery of the University of Notre Dame hockey team in this short, four-game all-time series.
Through the first four meetings, the River Hawks have won all four, out scoring the Irish by an 11-2 margin in the course of those games. Thursday night’s game at the Compton Family Ice Arena was the first for UMass Lowell on the Notre Dame campus.
UMass Lowell junior goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 26-of-27 Notre Dame shots and got all the offense he needed from Michael Colantone, Michael Louria and Zack Kamrass in the win. Sam Herr scored the lone goal for the Fighting Irish.
The loss was the second in a row for the Irish, as they fall to 6-6-1 on the year and 2-2-1 in Hockey East. The River Hawks improve to 8-2-2 on the campaign and are now 5-0-1 in conference play. The two teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 in the second game of the series.
The River Hawks got on the scoreboard first with the benefit of a fluky bounce. With Notre Dame on the power play, defenseman Jake Suter broke up a play in his own zone and moved the puck ahead to Colantone. The junior center took the puck near his own face-off circle and flipped the puck down the ice. The puck bounced three or four times and Irish netminder Chad Katunar moved out to play it as it came towards him on his left side of the goal. With his stick down and glove behind it, the puck bounced to the right over his stick handle and into the open goal for a short-handed goal at 10:29. For Colantone, it was his fourth of the season.
The goal did not deflate the Irish as some strong forechecking forced a turnover in the UMass Lowell zone and Herr turned it into his fourth goal of the season at 17:44 to tie the game at 1-1.
“I didn’t think that goal bothered us. We were playing pretty well in the first period,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
“We executed some things pretty well tonight. When they transition, they try to spread you out. I thought we did a good job of containing that. We created some turnovers but didn’t create scoring chances. We did that in the first period but then we fell back again in the second period.”
With the puck in the right corner, the River Hawks lost control of the puck to Herr in the right circle. He wasted little time, burying a shot over Boyle’s catching glove to send the game to the first intermission tied at one.
In the second period, penalties hurt the Irish as they were forced to kill off four River Hawk chances and were out shot in the stanza by a 16-5 margin with Katunar doing his best to hold off the UMass Lowell attack. On the night, the River Hawks were zero-for-seven on the power play and were held to just six shots. They came into the game with a 25.6% success rate with the man advantage.
Louria would get the big goal for UMass Lowell at 16:16 of the second when he combined with linemates Joe Gambardella and C.J. Smith on a three-on-two break.
The freshman right wing drove hard to the net and took a pass from Gambardella and fired a shot that Katunar stopped, but he followed his shot and put the rebound under the cross bar for his second goal of the year to give the River Hawks a 2-1 lead.
“I thought Louria’s goal was a defining moment for us,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin.
“He drove to the net which was great, but he also stopped at the net and was able to shovel in his own rebound which was a big play for us.”
The third period saw the Irish get more scoring chances as they out shot UMass Lowell 13-8, but Boyle stopped all 13 shots on the way to his 26-save game.
“We aren’t getting to the net. We aren’t getting the puck to the net consistently. When we get a good shot, its one shot and done,” said Jackson.
“You have to have that hunger to get to loose pucks and rebounds.”
The final goal of the night came at 15:22 of the third period with UMass Lowell converting a Notre Dame turnover into the 3-1 final score. Right wing John Edwardh pressured the Irish defense deep in their defensive zone and a clearing pass was intercepted by defenseman Zack Kamrass who whipped a wrist shot from the high slot past Katunar for his second goal of the season.
UMass Lowell out shot Notre Dame by a 35-27 margin on the night. Katunar had a career-best 32 saves in the loss. The Irish were zero-for-four on the power play and have now gone scoreless in their last 13 chances since scoring with the man advantage at Minnesota on Nov. 9.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Jackson.
“I saw some good things tonight. We just aren’t generating enough offense. And, you have to score a power-play goal. You aren’t going to beat a team of this quality without scoring a few goals.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FUMass Lowell (8-2-2/4-5-1) 1 1 1 - 3Notre Dame (6-6-1/2-2-1) 1 0 0 - 1
Scoring 1st Period: UML: Michael Cantalone 4 (Jake Suter), SHG, 10:29; ND: Sam Herr 4 (unassisted), 17:44.
Penalties: UML: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
2nd Period: UML: Michael Louria 2 (Joe Gambardella, C.J. Smith), 16:16.
Penalties: UML: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
3rd Period: UML: Zack Kamrass 2 (John Edwardh), 15:22.
Penalties: UML: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:UMass Lowell 11 - 16 - 8 - 35Notre Dame 9 - 5 - 13 - 27
Goaltender Saves:UML: Kevin Boyle (60:00) 8 - 5 - 13 - 26ND: Chad Katunar (58:27) 10 - 15 - 7 - 32
Power Plays:UML: 0 for 7ND: 0 for 4
— ND– —