Jan. 8, 2012
MInneapolis, Minn. – If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again is the way the saying goes. That was Irish junior center Riley Sheahan’s motto on Saturday night as his two goals and one assist helped lead third-ranked Notre Dame to a 4-3 win over fifth-ranked Minnesota in front of 10,242 at Mariucci Arena.
In the second period, Sheahan worked his way free for a breakaway on Gopher goaltender Kent Patterson at the 13:41 mark with the game tied 1-1. His scoring bid hit the cross bar and bounced into the corner. That didn’t get Sheahan down as he would get two more great chances in the period and scored on both, including a short-handed breakaway goal, before setting up a third-period goal.
Joining Sheahan on the scoresheet was sophomore center T.J. Tynan, who scored a power-play goal in his first game back from playing for the U.S. in the World Junior Championships in Alberta last week, and sophomore Jeff Costello who has now scored in three straight games. Taylor Mattson, Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish scored for Minnesota. Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays had a career-high 31 saves on the night.
The win was the first for the Irish versus Minnesota since Nov. 8, 1980, when they won a 6-5 decision at the old Mariucci Arena when the two teams were members of the WCHA. Since then, the teams had met just three times with the Gophers winning all three decisions.
The victory was Notre Dame’s third straight and improved the Irish to 13-6-3 overall. The loss drops Minnesota to 15-7-1 on the season.
On the night, Irish special teams were key as they scored twice in three chances and added a short-handed goal while the Gophers scored twice on five power-play chances.
Minnesota had a slight territorial edge early in the first period and things didn’t look good when junior Nick Larson was assessed a five-minute major penalty for hitting from behind just 4:19 into the game, giving Minnesota’s potent power-play a five-minute man advantage.
The Gophers would get just three shots on the five-minute man advantage and Summerhays stopped all three as the Irish held Minnesota off the scoreboard. The big penalty kill seemed to energize the Irish as they began to take the play to the Gophers and finished the period with a 14-5 advantage in shots.
Notre Dame capitalized on its second power-play chance of the period when Tynan scored at 17:54 to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Freshman defenseman Robbie Russo flipped a shot from the left point towards the Minnesota goal. The shot was blocked in front and came loose in the slot where Tynan jumped on it and fired the rebound past goaltender Kent Patterson for his eighth goal of the year. Sean Lorenz also picked up an assist on the play.
Minnesota would get the game-tying goal via the power play at 9:16 of the second period when Mattson tucked the rebound of a Ben Marshall shot inside the left post for his seventh goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
From there, Sheahan took over, scoring twice in the second period to give the Irish a 3-1 lead.
His first came on the power play at 14:31 after Seth Ambroz was called for charging on Jeff Costello in the Irish zone.
Lorenz was able to keep the puck in the zone and fed it to Tynan on the left wing boards. The sophomore center whipped a pass across the slot to Sheahan who was all alone in the right circle. Sheahan wasted no time as he drilled a shot past Patterson to make it a 2-1 game. The goal was his sixth of the season.
Sheahan notched his second of the night at 17:53, this one with the Irish killing a penalty to Kevin Lind. Sheahan blocked a Minnesota shot at the blue line and was off to the races on a breakaway against Patterson. After hitting the post on an earlier breakaway, the junior center drilled a shot under the cross bar to give Notre Dame the 3-1 lead. The goal was Sheahan’s seventh of the year and the second short-handed tally of his career.
The Irish added what looked like an insurance goal at 13:44 of the third when Sheahan won a face off in the right circle back to Costello who drilled a laser past Patterson for a 4-1 lead. The goal was Costello’s third in as many games and third of the season. Sheahan’s assist gave him three points on the night.
Minnesota wasn’t done however as they would score twice in a 25-second span with under three minutes left in the game to make it 4-3. Bjugstad scored on the power play at 17:13 when he tucked a Jake Hansen rebound inside the left post for his 17th goal of the year.
Budish would close the scoring at 17:44 when he scored off a Nate Condon rebound for his sixth of the season to cut the lead to 4-3.
From there, Summerhays held onto the lead as the sophomore won his fifth consecutive decision and third consecutive start. Patterson finished with 26 saves in the game as Minnesota outshot the Irish, 34-30.
This was Notre Dame’s final non-conference game of the season. The Irish return to CCHA action on Jan. 13-14 with a home-and-home series versus Western Michigan. They face the Broncos at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday, Jan. 13 in a 7:35 p.m. game.
** IRISH NOTES **
* Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, the University of Minnesota held a moment of silence in honor of former Irish coach Charles “Lefty” Smith who passed away last Tuesday and whose funeral was earlier on Saturday in South Bend. Smith was a native of South St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota head coach Don Lucia played for Smith at Notre Dame from 1977-81.
* With two goals and an assist, Riley Sheahan has career highs in goals (7), assists (14) and points (21). He is currently tied for fourth among scorers in the CCHA with 21 points.
* Notre Dame’s win over fifth-ranked Minnesota capped a big day for Notre Dame athletics. Earlier in the day, the men’s basketball team upset No. 11 Louisville, 67-65, in double overtime and the third-ranked women’s basketball team defeated second-ranked Connecticut, 74-67, at Purcell Pavilion.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#3/#5 Notre Dame (13-6-3/8-3-3-0) 1 2 1 - 4#5/#3 Minnesota (15-7-1/11-3-0) 0 1 2 - 3
Penalties: ND: 2 for 15 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: UM: Taylor Mattson 7 (Ben Marshall, Nate Condon), PPG, 9:16; ND: Riley Sheahan 6 (Tynan, Lorenz), PPG, 14:31; ND: Sheahan 7 (unassisted), SHG, 17:53
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UM: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Jeff Costello 3 (Sheahan), 13:44. UM: Nick Bjugstad 17 (Jake Hansen, Nate Schmidt), PPG, 17:19; UM: Zach Budish 6 (Condon, Marshall), 17:44.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; UM: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 14 - 11 - 5 - 30Minnesota 5 - 15 - 14 - 34
Goaltender Saves:ND: Steven Summerhays (60:00) 5 - 14 - 12 - 31UM: Kent Patterson (56:37) 13 - 9 - 4 - 26
Power Plays:ND: 2 for 3UM: 2 for 5