Irish goaltender made a career-high 35 saves in the 3-2 overtime loss to Union College.

Irish Lose 3-2 Heartbreaker In Overtime To Union College

Nov. 29, 2014

Final Stats

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Union College right wing Matt Wilkins scored his second goal of the night and the game winner with 22 seconds left in overtime to give the Dutchmen a 3-2 win over the University of Notre Dame Friday night in the opening round of the 2014 Shillelagh Tournament.

The win sends Union to the championship game at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29 versus Western Michigan. The Broncos advanced with a 6-2 victory over Ohio State in the opening game of the tournament at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The Irish led in the game against Union 2-0 on goals by Sam Herr and Austin Wuthrich and despite the stellar goaltending of sophomore Chad Katunar, could not make the lead stand up as Union got third-period goals from Spencer Foo and Watkins to tie the game.

The loss drops Notre Dame to 6-7-1 overall, 1-5-2 in November while Union improves to 7-5-1 on the season.

The Irish scored first in the game, getting a goal by Herr at 7:34 of the first period to take the 1-0 lead. With Notre Dame in a line change, Herr raced down the right side and cut in on goal, lifting a backhander over Union netminder Colin Stevens’ catching glove for his sixth of the season. Herr has now scored a goal in each of his last three games.

The lead would go to 2-0 at 14:31 of the second period as Wuthrich deflected a shot past Stevens for his third goal of the year. Thomas DiPauli started the play with a diagonal pass from the right wing corner to defenseman Luke Ripley at the left point. Ripley fired a shot on Stevens that Wuthrich was able to deflect near the left circle through Stevens’ pads for the two-goal lead.

For the third time this season though, the Irish could not protect a two-goal lead and the defending national champions roared back with a pair of goals in the third period.

“I told them between the second and third periods that we have to go for it. We can’t sit back on our heels,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.

“I thought we played a little tentative in the third period. We played well for the most part, but I was disappointed in our ability to forecheck effectively. They broke out to easy on us. And, not scoring a power play again, that was the difference in the game.”

Foo scored off a face-off play to the left of Katunar. Center Mike Vecchione won a face off back to defenseman Jeff Taylor who carried the puck down the right-wing boards and below the goal line. He centered a pass to Foo between the bottom of the face-off circle and the crease and he one-timed a quick shot past Katunar.

Union College would get a power play in the final three minutes of the game and capitalized on it as Michael Pontarelli’s centering pass from the right corner deflected off Wilkins in front of the goal and got behind Katunar to tie the game at 2-2. The goal was Wilkins’ second of the season.

“They (Union College) are down two goals and they elevated their game and we can’t match that,” said Jackson.

“We were doing okay but when they elevated their game, especially after the first goal, we have to be ready to match it with a higher level of play which we haven’t been able to find.”

In overtime, it was Notre Dame’s chance with a power play, but has been the case all season long, the Irish could not capitalize on it, getting just one shot on a night that they would go zero-for-three with the man advantage.

Notre Dame saw its streak of not scoring on the power play reach 18 consecutive chances. The last power-play goal came on Nov. 9 at Minnesota.

With time winding down, Notre Dame got caught up ice and Union broke over the Irish blue line on a 4-2. Defenseman Sebastian Gingras pulled the defense to him on the left side of the slot and slid a pass across to Watkins who whipped it past Katunar for his second of the night and third of the season. That goal sent the Dutchmen to Saturday night’s title game against Western Michigan.

On the night, Notre Dame was out shot by a 38-27 margin with Katunar making a career-high 35 saves, including 28 in the second and third periods combined. Stevens finished with 25 saves for Union.

“Chad (Katunar) made some great saves tonight, especially on that one penalty kill,” said Jackson.

“He has shown the ability to do that this year. He didn’t have a chance on the game-winning goal. I really can’t ask for much more from him at this point.”

In the opening game of the tournament, Western Michigan’s Frederik Tiffels recorded a hat trick and goaltender Lukas Hafner had 20 saves to lead Western Michigan to the 6-2 win over Ohio State as the Broncos out shot the Buckeyes by a 36-22 margin. Matt Tomkins had 30 saves in the Ohio State goal.

GAME SUMMARY               1     2     3    OT  -   FUnion College (7-5-1)      0     0     2     1  -   3Notre Dame (6-7-2)     1     1     0     0  -   2


1st Period: ND: Sam Herr 6 (unassisted), 7:34.

Penalties: UC: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.

2nd Period: ND: Austin Wuthrich 3 (Luke Ripley, Thomas DiPauli), 14:31.

Penalties: UC: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 1 for 2 minutes.

3rd Period: UC: Spencer Foo 7 (Jeff Taylor, Mike Vecchione), 8:04; UC: Matt Wilkins 2 (Michael Pontarelli, Sebastian Gingras), PPG, 18:15. Penalties: UC: 0 for 0 minutes;

ND: 1 for 2 minutes.

Overtime: UC: Wilkins 3 (Gingras, Vecchione), 4:38.

Penalties: UML: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.

Shots On Goal:Union College     7 - 14 - 14 - 3 - 38Notre Dame        6 -  8 - 11 - 2 - 27
Goaltender Saves: UC: Colin Stevens (64:38) 5 - 7 - 11 - 2 - 25ND: Chad Katunar (64:38) 7 - 14 - 12 - 2 - 35
Power Plays:UC: 1 for 3ND: 0 for 3
Attendance: 5,022 (sellout)