Feb. 7, 2015
ORONO, Maine – For the second night in a row, Vince Hinostroza tallied three points to earn the first star, but this time it was in a victorious effort as the Notre Dame hockey team (12-14-4, 7-5-4 Hockey East) claimed a 5-1 win over Maine (10-17-3, 5-9-2 HE) at Alfond Arena. Thanks in part to Hinostroza’s two-goal, four-assist weekend, Notre Dame took three out of the four points in Orono and leap into sole possession of fifth place in the Hockey Eats standings.
Hinostroza’s linemates of Mario Lucia and Anders Bjork helped fuel the team’s fire. Bjork scored twice and added two assists this weekend while Lucia collected points each night as well. The trio combined to record 12 points this weekend. Freshman netminder Cal Petersen helped steady the Irish ship on Saturday, making 33 saves, several of them in spectacular fashion.
“Today we were consistent, put together three periods and had all four lines going,” Hinostroza said. “When we have all four lines going full speed, controlling the puck, we’re a pretty good team. Last night we didn’t put together three periods (in a 4-4 tie). Coach stressed that and tonight we did it. We got pucks in deep and forced them to make plays.”
“When we’re playing well, our speed shows up,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said. “It doesn’t show up when we don’t possess the puck. We did a much better job with puck support tonight – better entries and better exits. That’s when our team is playing well. When we play four lines and possess the puck – that’s Irish hockey.
Each team scored once in the first half of the first period. The Irish broke through first to take an early 1-0 lead at the 4:18 mark. Hinostroza fed Lucia whose scoring bid was turned away by Maine netminder Matt Morris, but Bjork pounced on the rebound to score a goal for the second night in a row. Maine got the equalizer at 7:23 when Connor Leen snuck a tough-angle shot, possibly deflected off of an Irish defenseman, past Irish goaltender Cal Petersen. Notre Dame outshot the Black Bears 12-11 in a penalty-free opening stanza.
That 1-1 tie held up until the end of the second period when Notre Dame scored three times in a 1:24 span to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The first goal came after a series of great passes as Robbie Russo send a puck across the ice to Jordan Gross who sent it back across the ice to Austin Wuthrich for a one-timer that Sam Herr tipped home from the slot at the 18:11 mark. On the following shift, for the second night in a row, Bjork and Hinostroza used their speed to create a scoring chance. Last night, Hinostroza fed Bjork for a goal and Bjork repaid the favor tonight, feeding Hinostroza for a speed rush on net and a goal at 18:50. Luke Ripley also earned an assist on the Hinostroza goal.
Notre Dame made it a 4-1 game at 19:35 of the second period when Connor Hurley stole the puck in the neutral zone and gave it to Jake Evans. Evans attempted a centering pass that deflected off of a Black Bear defenseman and right through Morris’ legs for a goal. It was the first goal by Evans since netting the overtime game-winner against No. 6 Miami on Dec. 28.
Maine found the best way to stop Notre Dame’s torrid pace on the power play was to stay out of the penalty box. Notre Dame’s streak of eight games with a power play goal came to an end tonight as the Irish did not score on their only full attempt of the night or an abbreviated 35-second power play that concluded the game. Maine was 0-for-2 on its pair of power play tries.
The Irish return home next weekend to play host to No. 12 Providence College on Friday and Saturday nights at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday’s at 8:05 p.m. NBC Sports Network will air both games nationally.