NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior left wing and team captain Jeff Costello scored twice and senior goaltender Steven Summerhays stopped all 13 shots he faced to lead Notre Dame to a 5-0 shutout victory over Alabama Huntsville on Saturday night. The home win came in front of 4,891 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Costello was complimented by Sam Herr, Vince Hinostroza and Bryan Rust with single goals in the Irish win. Rust and center T.J. Tynan each had two points in the game, giving them six points in the weekend series.
Summerhays recorded his fourth shutout season and that ties him with Quinnipiac's Michael Garteig for the national lead. The whitewashing was the 10th of his career as he is now third on Notre Dame's all-time shutout list, just two behind the leaders - David Brown `07 and Jordan Pearce `09.
The win was the second in a row for the 15th-ranked Irish and improves them to 12-8-1 overall. The loss for the Chargers was their eighth straight and third versus Notre Dame and drops them to 1-24-0 for the 2013-14 campaign.
"I thought we came out and played a strong first period tonight, something we didn't do last night," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson. Sears
"We played three periods tonight which is what we need to do."
As was the case in Friday's series opener, a 7-1 Notre Dame win, the Irish came out fast, getting three, first-period goals in a 5:11 span.
Herr opened the scoring at 3:59 of the first period off a face off in the right wing circle. Tynan won the face off towards the right boards where Rust sent it behind the Chargers' goal where Tynan picked it up. He circled behind and fed a pass to Herr in the slot and the sophomore left wing snapped a shot from slot past Alabama Huntsville goaltender Carmine Guerriero for his 10th goal of the season.
Hinostroza made it 2-0 less than two minutes later off a pretty passing play from Peter Schneider. Lucia moved through the slot and dumped the puck ahead to Schneider who was moving down the right side towards the goal. He appeared to run out of room to take a shot when he threw a pass from below the goal line through the crease to Hinostroza on the left side of the goal. The freshman center had a wide-open net and quickly tucked the puck in for his fifth marker of the year and a 2-0 Notre Dame lead.
Costello picked up his first of two in the game to close out the first period scoring at 9:10. Lucia moved the puck into the UAH zone and hit Costello in the right circle with a pass. The senior carried to the bottom of the right circle before lifting a backhander over Guerriero's catching glove for his sixth of the season and a 3-0 lead.
The Notre Dame lead would go to 4-0 just 4:10 into the second period as Costello notched his second of the game, set up by outstanding forechecking by his linemates Mike Voran and David Gerths. With the puck behind the Chargers' goal, Voran forced the UAH defense into a turnover with the puck going to Gerths near the right circle. The senior whipped a pass across the slot to Costello as he raced in on goal and he redirected the pass behind Guerriero for his seventh of the season.
"It's always nice to contribute offensively like that," said Costello.
"So far this season, I don't think I haven't been up to my own expectations how I should be producing and scoring, so it was nice to get rewarded a little bit. I thought our line played pretty well tonight which definitely helped me out."
Rust would close out the scoring at 9:33 on a power-play goal that featured a great pass from Tynan and an even better shot by Rust to make it 5-0.
Defenseman Robbie Russo controlled the puck at the right point and moved it to Tynan between the blue line and the left circle. He wound up like he was going to shot and when the defense committed to him, he slid a pass to Rust above the crease on the left side of the goal. In one motion he put the puck on his backhand and lifted it under the cross bar for his eighth goal of the season and a 5-0 lead.
While the Irish offense was scoring five times, Summerhays wasn't seeing much action in the Notre Dame goal but came up with a couple of big stops to preserve the shutout. For the game, the Irish outshot Alabama Huntsville by a 43-13 margin and had a two-game total of 80 shots on goal in the series. Guerriero finished the night with 38 saves.
"Anytime that you win, it's important for your team's psyche and confidence," said Jackson.
"We had a chance to work on some line combinations, to work on chemistry, plus we implemented a few things that we want to use in the second half. So, this weekend was beneficial for us."
"I think we take a lot away from this weekend," added Costello, the team captain.
"Finally winning again, knowing the feeling and how good it feels to win was important. Playing with leads was something we struggled with in the first half and we did a pretty good job with that and just playing our game, sticking to the game plan. That worked well for us."
Notre Dame will continue its six-game home stand next weekend when the Irish play host to Lake Superior State on Jan. 17-18 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The series sweep was the first for Notre Dame since winning a pair of games against Michigan Tech on Oct. 18 and 20. The Irish are now 9-3-1 at home this season and 16-3-1 at the Compton Family Ice Arena since Jan. 26 of last season.
** IRISH NOTES**
** In the two-game series against the Chargers, the line of Sam Herr (2g, 1a), T.J. Tynan (1g, 5a) and Bryan Rust (4g, 2a) combined to score seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. With his two goals, Herr moves into a tie with Mario Lucia for the team lead in goals with 10.
** With his six-point weekend (1g, 5a), T.J. Tynan has moved into 17th on Notre Dame's all-time points list with 51 goals and 95 assists for 146 career points in 145 career games.
** Notre Dame has now scored at least one power-play goal in 17 of its 21 games this season.