Feb. 2, 2014
Durham, N.H. – For the second game in a row, the University of New Hampshire handed Notre Dame a loss, this time by a 5-2 margin Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 6,501 at UNH’s Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats got single goals from Maxim Gaudreault, Dalton Speelman, Matt Willows, Colin MacDonald and Kevin Goumas plus solid goaltending for the second night in a row from Casey DeSmith who finished with 32 saves in the contest.
The 14th-ranked Irish fall to 15-11-1 overall and are now 4-8-1 in Hockey East play. New Hampshire improves to 16-13-1 on the year and is 8-6-0 in conference play and moves right back into the thick of the Hockey East playoff chase. The loss gives Notre Dame a 1-6-0 record (including the loss at Frozen Fenway, a neutral site) on the road in league play.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot to much. We gave up too many odd-man rushes. You can’t play like that on the road,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.
“I always say that the biggest factor on the road is goaltending and special teams and UNH won both of those battles this weekend.”
In Saturday’s matinee tilt, the Wildcats scored first, taking advantage of a non-call on the ice that led to a UNH goal.. It appeared that Irish forward Thomas DiPauli was pulled down in the UNH zone but nothing was called allowing Gaudreault and Tyler Kelleher to break out on a 2-on-1 through center ice.
The duo raced in on Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays with Kelleher making a nice pass from the left side to Gaudreault who fired it into the net for his second of the season at 10:21 for the 1-0 lead. Irish protests at center ice fell on deaf ears and the Wildcats had the one-goal lead.
Notre Dame was able to get the equalizer at 17:27 of the first when Lucia buried a one-timer from the left face-off dot after a nice give-and-go with Vince Hinostroza. Lucia carried the puck over the blue line toward the goal and moved the puck ahead to Hinostroza on the goal line. The freshman center waited until the defenseman came toward him before feathering a pass back to Lucia who wasted no time beating DeSmith inside the right post and under the cross bar for his team-high 15th goal of the season.
After tying the game, the Irish just couldn’t take the lead even though they had their share of chances.
“They defend well, they have good defensive sticks,” said Jackson.
“They cover the slot real well. It’s hard to generate anything. We had a lot of real good looks early in the game. They must’ve blocked 12 shots in the first period and most of those came off odd-man rushes. You can’t get the puck to the net, you aren’t going to score. Give them credit, they defend well.”
New Hampshire took the lead back just 3:33 into the middle period when Speelman teamed with Willows on a 2-on-1 to get his fifth goal of the season.
With the puck in the neutral zone, an Irish defender fell down with Willows picking it up and racing down the ice. He slid the puck across to Speelman who tucked it past Summerhays to make it 2-1.
The Irish answered at 13:26 with Tynan whipping the rebound of a Hinostroza shot past DeSmith for his sixth of the year.
Notre Dame controlled the puck in the UNH zone with Lucia carrying into the right corner. He sent a pass across the slot to Hinostroza in the left circle. The freshman center fired a shot that DeSmith stopped. The rebound came out in front where Tynan arrived late to fire it home.
The Irish would get three consecutive power-play chances late in the period only to see the Wildcats capitalize as Willows scored short-handed at 16:07 to get the lead back to 3-2.
The junior right wing broke in on defenseman Andy Ryan and got around him just below the left face-off circle. Summerhays came out to poke check the puck but Willows pulled it back and tucked it past the sprawling Summerhays for his 13th goal of the season and the third shorty given up by Notre Dame this season.
“There are always momentum switches and a short-handed goal is a back breaker,” said Jackson.
“It’s unacceptable. Our power play has been doing well over the last month but this weekend it was a problem.”
The Irish would look to mount a comeback in the third but New Hampshire struck first as MacDonald scored his first of the season at 6:40 of the third to make it a 4-2 game in favor of the Wildcats.
Goumas would close out the scoring at 19:06 of the third with Summerhays on the bench as he fired the puck into an open net for his 12th of the season and the final of
For the night, Notre Dame out shot New Hampshire by a 34-22 margin. Summerhays finished with 18 saves on the night.
The Irish were 0-for-4 on the power play while UNH was 0-for-2/
Notre Dame returns home for a weekend series versus the Maine Black Bears on Feb. 7-8 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Game time on Friday night is 7:35 p.m. with Saturday’s game set for 8:05 p.m. Both games will be telecast live by the NBC Sports Network.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#14/#14 Notre Dame (15-11-1/4-8-1) 1 1 0 - 2New Hampshire (16-13-1/8-6-0) 1 2 2 - 5
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; UNH: 0 for 0 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UNH: 5 for 10 minutes.
3rd Period: UNH: Colin MacDonald 1 (Collin Bourque), 6:40; UNH: Goumas 12 (Willows, Brett Pesce). ENG, 19:06.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UNH: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 9 - 15 - 10 - 34New Hampshire 6 - 9 - 8 - 23
Goaltender Saves:ND: Steven Summerhays (59:12) 5 - 7 - 6 - 18UNH: Casey DeSmith (60:00) 8 - 14 - 10 - 32
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 4UNH: 0 for 2
Attendance: 6,501 (sellout)