March 8, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Yesterday, the Notre Dame and Massachusetts hockey teams stood tied after two periods and let that deadlock stand for hours before the Minutemen claimed the longest game in college hockey history 11:42 into the fifth overtime period. Tonight, similarly deadlocked after 40 minutes of play, Vince Hinostroza prevented a recurrence of Friday’s long march into early Saturday morning, scoring twice in the first 4:00 of the third period to lift the Irish to a 5-3 win.
The win evens the best-of-three Hockey East first round playoff series at one win apiece and sets up a decisive game three on Sunday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena between Notre Dame (16-17-5) and UMass (11-22-2). The Irish would advance to a best-of-three quarterfinal series at UMass Lowell with a win on Sunday while, with re-seeding after the first round, UMass would travel to Boston University should it claim victory. The loser’s season will draw to a close.
Tickets are available for Sunday’s winner-takes-all game which begins at 7:05 p.m. EDT at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
In addition to Hinostroza’s two goals, Thomas DiPauli had three assists for the Irish while Robbie Russo assisted on a pair of goals. Mario Lucia scored his 20th goal of the year and added an assist. A night after setting an NCAA Division I record for the most saves in a game with 87, Cal Petersen had a far more conventional evening in the Notre Dame net, stopping 22 out of the 25 shots he faced.
Two teams, still weary from Friday’s six-hour marathon, looked to make an early statement and the Irish drew first blood just 3:09 into the game. Luke Ripley’s point shots was heading wide of the UMass net until Lucia tipped it past Steve Mastalerz for his milestone 20th goal of the season. UMass picked up the equalizer at 10:07, however, as Petersen sprung up to stop a high shot with his shoulder, but the puck bounced right to Frank Vatrano for a goal.
UMass took its first regulation lead of the series at 3:41 of the second period when Shane Walsh scored his first of the game but second of the day after scoring the game one game-winner for UMass at 1:24 a.m. on Saturday. Steven Iacobellis slid a pass across the crease to Walsh who gently tapped hit home from beside the far post. The Minutemen tied the score though before the period ended. At the 11:51 mark, DiPauli sent a centering pass from behind the net to Peter Schneider in the slot. The senior alternate captain hammered a one-timer inside the far post and, for the eighth time in 10 periods this weekend, the teams headed to their dressing rooms tied, this time at 2-2.
With 1:58 of power play time carrying over into the third period, Notre Dame had an opportunity to seize control of the game and did, scoring three times in the first 4:38 of the final frame to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Hinostroza led the parade of goals by scoring on that power play with a blistering shot from the high slot into the top left corner at 1:02. At 4:00, Hinostroza did it again, scoring on another rocket from the high slot into the top right corner of the Minuteman net. Just 38 seconds later, it was 5-2 for Notre Dame after scoring for the third time in a 3:36 span. The Irish scored for third straight time with a shot from the high slot, this time Steven Fogarty one-timed home a pass from DiPauli.
The Minutemen picked up a short-handed goal after a turnover behind the UMass net with 3:45 to go in the game but came no closer as Notre Dame won 5-3, setting up Sunday night’s decisive showdown.