Nov. 15, 2014
North Andover, Massachusetts – Mathieu Tibbet scored a pair of goals and the Gustafsson brothers, John and Hamphus, each scored once while Robbie Russo had the lone Irish goal, as Merrimack College handed the University of Notre Dame a 4-1 loss Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,549 at J. Thom Lawler Rink.
Merrimack senior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen stopped all 21-of-22 shots in the game while Irish netminder Cal Petersen finished with 20 saves on the night.
The loss drops Notre Dame to 6-5-1 overall and is the first of the season for the Irish in Hockey East play, as they fall to 2-1-1 in conference play. The Warriors improve to 7-3-1 on the year and 3-2-0 in league action.
Merrimack dominated the opening period, as they out shot the Irish 10-2 with Petersen keeping the Irish in the game. The two shots were the fewest taken by Notre Dame in a period this season. The previous low was three versus Minnesota in the first period on Nov. 9.
Merrimack finally broke through at 17:46 when Tibbet scored his first of the night, as he cashed in a two-on-one chance with Brett Seney. Seney, who scored once on Friday night, drove down the left wing and threw a centering pass across the front of the goal where Tibbet was able to redirect it past Petersen and inside the right post for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors built the lead to 2-0 just 2:31 into the second period on a great individual effort by John Gustafsson as he roared down the right side and moved in on Petersen. He deked to the outside and lifted a backhander over the Irish goaltender’s stick hand for his first goal of the season.
Gustafsson’s younger brother, Hamphus, built the lead to 3-0 at 4:16 of the third period as he whipped a shot from the right circle over Petersen’s stick hand and under the crossbar. For the native of Ljungby, Sweden, the goal was his third of the season.
Tibbet closed out the scoring when he cashed in his second two-on-one chance at 7:38 as he redirected a feed from defenseman Jace Henning past Petersen to make it 4-0.
The Irish had 13 shots in the third period and that did not include a penalty shot opportunity with 6:37 left in the third period by Connor Hurley. The freshman center made a great move on Tirronen and had an open net, but the puck rolled off his stick.
Notre Dame snapped Tirronen’s shutout bid at 15:05 of the third period when Russo scored on the rebound of a shot by Vince Hinostroza for his fifth goal of the season. Thomas DiPauli had the second assist.
The Irish were 0-for-4 on the power play while Merrimack was 1-for-5.
The Irish will continue Hockey East play next week at home when UMass Lowell makes its first-ever appearance at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The series opens at 7:35 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20 with game two set for 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21. Friday’s game will be televised live by the NBC Sports Network.