Oct. 24, 2014
Junior left wing Sam Herr scored twice in a four-goal first period and senior defenseman Robbie Russo added a pair of his own goals as the University of Notre Dame rolled to a 6-3 win over Niagara University Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Senior Peter Schneider and freshman Dawson Cook scored single goals for the Irish with Cook getting the first of his collegiate career. Freshman right wing Jake Evans picked up three assists and freshman center Connor Hurley added two, as did junior defenseman Andy Ryan.
Nick Cecere and Chris Lochner had power-play goals for the Purple Eagles while Dan Kolenda scored at even strength to close out Niagara’s scoring.
The win, the third straight for Notre Dame, improves the Irish to 3-2-0 on the season while Niagara falls to 0-5-0.
“I thought the first period was the best period we played,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
“We did a good job with puck possession and cycling the puck offensively. That was a really good period.”
Herr got the Irish scoring started just 2:05 into the opening period when he took a drop pass from Hurley in the slot and drilled a shot through Niagara goaltender Adrian Ignagni’s pads for his first of the season and the 1-0 lead. Evans, who moved up to Hurley’s line due to an injury to Austin Wuthrich, picked up his first of three assists in the game.
The trio of Herr, Hurley and Evans was back at it again at 14:46 of the period when Evans moved the puck ahead to Hurley, putting Herr and the freshman center in on a two-on-one. Hurley found Herr in the slot and he snapped a wrist shot past Ignagni to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.
“That was the line for the day. That seems like the way things have been going lately,” said Jackson.
“I think Jake Evans made that line more effective and Connor Hurley played well. Sam Herr was the best player on the ice for us. He played big for us. He played smart and was going to the net.
“Connor (Hurley) is really starting to play with confidence and we are starting to see the skill that he has. He wasn’t drafted in the second round for no reason,” said Herr.
“I think Jake (Evans) is playing with confidence too. It’s fun playing with those guys. I just try to create space for them and let them make plays. Tonight you saw the kind of plays that they are able to make.”
The lead would go to 3-0 at 16:54 when Russo collected his first of the night as he followed a Jordan Gross shot from the right point that Ignagni stopped and fired the rebound from in front past the sophomore goaltender.
Schneider capped the scoring at 18:43 when he deflected a Ryan slap shot from the right point past Ignagni for his first goal of the season, making it 4-0.
The Irish finished the period with a 13-11 edge in the shots on goal as Chad Katunar made several big saves early in the period while Notre Dame was nursing the 1-0 lead.
“I thought Chad (Katunar) was really good early,” said Jackson.
“He made some big saves early in the game, because I don’t think we were ready for their physical play and we turned the puck over. He had to make some really big saves.”
In the second period, Niagara took advantage of the power play as Cecere snapped the shutout, scoring his first of the season off a face off play. The Purple Eagles won a draw in the left circle back to defenseman Matt Chiarantano who moved it to the right point where Cecere hammered a slap shot past Katunar at 11:38 to snap Katunar’s shutout bid. Cecere’s goal was the lone goal of the second period.
Niagara picked up its second power-play goal of the night at 1:19 of the third period when Lochner banged the rebound of a shot off the stick of Patrick Conte past Katunar for his first of the season to make it 4-2. The Purple Eagles were two for three on the power play in the game.
The Irish restored order at 4:18 when Cook scored on a rebound for his first of the season. Ryan started the play with a shot from the right point that Ignagni stopped. Evans took fired the first rebound with Cook cashing in to make it 5-2.
The Purple Eagles were not done and cut the lead to 5-3 at 13:09 when Kolenda whipped a shot from the right face-off dot past Katunar for his first of the season to make it a game.
The score would stay that way until the final minute when Niagara pulled Ignagni for a sixth attacker. The Purple Eagles pressured but Katunar held them at bay until Russo grabbed a rebound in front and fired it 170-feet down the ice into the open goal to seal the win at 6-3.
On the night, Notre Dame out shot Niagara by a 36-27 margin. Ignagni finished with 30 saves in the game while Katunar had 24 in picking up his second win of the season.
The Irish continued their early-season struggles on the power play as they failed to connect on four chances in the game and through the first five games are zero for 20 with the man advantage.
The two teams will close out the weekend series with a 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday night.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - FNiagara University (0-5-0) 0 2 1 - 3Notre Dame (3-2-0) 4 0 2 - 6
Scoring 1st Period: ND: Sam Herr 1 (Connor Hurley, Jake Evans), 2:05; ND: Herr 2 (Hurley, Evans), 14:46; ND: Robbie Russo 2 (Jordan Gross, Thomas DiPauli), 16:54; ND: Peter Schneider 1 (Andy Ryan, Mario Lucia), 18:43.
Penalties: NU: 0 for 0 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
2nd Period: NU: Nick Cecere 1 (Matt Chiarantano, Albin Karlsson), PPG, 11:38.
Penalties: NU: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 3 for 6 minutes.
3rd Period: NU: Chris Lochner 1 (Patrick Conte, Chiarantano), PPG, 1:19; ND: Dawson Cook 1 (Ryan, Evans), 4:18; NU: Dan Kolenda 1 (Phillip Nasca, Kevin Patterson), 13:08; ND: Russo 3 (unassisted), ENG, 19:42.
Penalties: NU: 3 for 6 minutes; ND: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Niagara University 11 - 6 - 10 - 27Notre Dame 13 - 10 - 13 - 36
Goaltender Saves:NU: Adrian Ignagni (58:53) 9 - 10 - 11 - 30ND: Chad Katunar (60:00) 11 - 5 - 8 - 24
Power Plays:NU: 2 for 3ND: 0 for 4