For the third consecutive game, Notre Dame senior goaltender Steven Summerhays was on as he combined with fellow senior Joe Rogers to stop all 22 shots they faced in a 2-0 shutout win over Boston University in front of a sellout crowd of 5,022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Jeff Costello and Austin Wuthrich provided the offense with third-period goals to snap a 0-0 tie. On the night, Notre Dame out shot the Terriers by a 40-22 margin. Boston University sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire finished the night with 38 saves.
The three straight shutouts are a first for a Notre Dame hockey team in the 46-year history of the program and also the first time an Irish goaltender has been involved in three straight shutouts. Former Irish goaltender David Brown '07 recorded three consecutive personal shutouts during his freshman year, but they came over a span of four games.
Summerhays now has a personal shutout streak of 190:19, which is 3:08 less than Brown's consecutive streak of 193:27 from Oct. 17 - Nov. 7, 2003. He now has seven shutouts on the year with tonight's eighth recorded as a combined shutout.
The win gives the Irish their first sweep of a Hockey East weekend series and improved their current unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) dating back to Feb. 8. Notre Dame is now 19-12-2 overall and 8-9-2 in conference play, good for 18 points and a seventh-place tie with the University of Vermont. The Catamounts have one game in hand (19-18) on the Irish.
For Boston University, the back-to-back shutouts are the first in 72 years for the Terriers dating back to the 1941-42 season. They have now lost five straight games and are winless in their last nine (0-6-2). BU is 8-20-4 for the season and 3-12-3 in Hockey East play with one week left in the regular season.
"It's been a long season with some of the tough losses that we've had in this building so it was good to win a couple of tight games," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"Those are the kind of games that we will face in the playoffs."
"This weekend was good for us to win a couple of tight games because that's what we are going to face in the playoffs," said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.
Solid defense and strong goaltending dominated the first 40 minutes of the game as each team had chances but were stopped. The Irish had a 23-15 shot advantage after two periods but neither team got break through on the scoreboard.
Notre Dame finally solved Maguire just 19 seconds into the third period but needed a power play to do it. Senior defenseman Garrett Noonan received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 19:22 of the third and the Irish took advantage early in the third as Costello scored his 11th of the season from the slot to make it 1-0.
Bryan Rust moved the puck behind the net to Sam Herr who put it right on Costello's stick in the slot. The senior captain wasted little time as he fired a shot inside the right post for the eventual game winner.
Notre Dame applied constant pressure in the third, getting 17 shots, but Maguire held them at bay until a Terrier turnover turned into an goal by Wuthrich at 17:29 to make it 2-0.
The Terriers tried to move the puck through the middle of their zone and lost the handle to Wuthrich coming down the slot. The junior right wing blasted a shot that beat Maguire high to his glove side for his sixth of the year.
From there, it became a question of preserving Summerhays' shutout bid. At 19:08 of the third, Boston University took a too many men on the ice penalty to give the Irish their fifth power play of the night.
Summerhays skated to the bench and asked for head coach Jeff Jackson to insert Rogers into the game for the final 52 seconds on Senior Night. The senior entered the game to cheers from the crowd as he made the fourth appearance of his career.
"That was big of Steven to come over," said Jackson.
"I had talked about it to him earlier in the week wanting to get Joey (Rogers) into the game. With the break, he came over and reminded me. For him to give up that chance at another shutout by himself shows you what kind of kid he is in that senior class."
"I think coach was thinking the same thing when I went over but he didn't know there was a penalty coming," said Summerhays.
"Once we scored that second goal, I wanted to give Joe a chance. So I skated over and told coach that I wanted Joe to finish the game."
On the night, Notre Dame was 1-for-5 on the power play while Boston University was 0-for-4. The Irish got a big penalty kill midway through the third period while nursing a 1-0 lead as Stephen Johns was assessed a major for a hitting from behind penalty. Notre Dame gave up just two shots during that time while getting two of their own.
"A lot of guys stepped up tonight. I thought Eric Johnson played real well tonight as did Andy Ryan," said Jackson.
"I thought Johns was playing great until that penalty. The defense is playing well but the forwards are coming back. When they are coming back and helping out, it makes a big difference."
The Irish will wrap up the regular-season schedule with a 4:00 p.m. game on Saturday, March 1 against No. 1 ranked Boston College at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
** Notre Dame honored its Senior Class of 2014 in ceremonies prior to the start of the game. Eleven senior players and two senior managers and their families were honored on the ice.
•• The start of the game was delayed 37 minutes due to the Senior Night ceremonies that were followed by a bank of lights at the Compton Family Ice Arena going out. The lighting delay took about 20 minutes before they returned to full strength.
** With seven shutouts this season, Steven Summerhays is one off the school record of eight set by Jordan Pearce '09, in the 2008-09 season.
** Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has now killed off 15 consecutive opponent power plays. Since Jan. 1, the Irish have killed 53-of-58 for a 91.4% success rate over the last 15 games.