Notre Dame, Ind. - The University of Minnesota made its first visit to Notre Dame since 1980 on Friday night and the Fighting Irish team made it a night that they would soon forget as they handed the top-ranked Gophers a 4-1 loss in front of a sellout crowd of 5,022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Senior goaltender Steven Summerhays made a season-high 31 saves and got goals from Bryan Rust (ppg), Sam Herr (ppg), Garrett Peterson and Jeff Costello in the win. Minnesota's lone goal came off the stick of Ben Marshall in the second period.
The victory extended Notre Dame's home winning streak to 11 games, a streak that started last Jan. 26 with a win over Ferris State. The Irish are 4-0-0 this season at Compton Family Ice Arena.
The last time the Irish defeated a top ranked team was Oct. 23, 2010 when they knocked off Boston College by a 2-1 score at the Joyce Center. This was Notre Dame's first win over a No. 1 ranked team at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Notre Dame, ranked third or fourth depending on the poll, is now 7-2-0 on the year while No. 1 ranked Minnesota suffered its first loss of the season and is 5-1-1 for the year.
"That game was everything that we expected. It was a high-paced, high-tempo game that was flying by," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"The atmosphere was tremendous. With the band and the students, they were our sixth man tonight. We're going to need them again tomorrow."
In one of the best played periods of the year, neither team scored in the opening 20 minutes as the Gophers outshot the Irish by a 17-11 margin with Summerhays making several big saves until Notre Dame got on track. Sears
"I thought we were a little bit tight in the early stages of the game," said Jackson.
"We had chances to make plays but we would make a bad pass or not get a shot off. We were nervous the first 10 minutes. There is no question we had to adjust to the speed and pace of the game."
After going 0-for-12 on the power play last weekend at Vermont, the Irish scored on its first man-advantage of the game. Rust did the honors as he scooped up a Gopher clearing attempt at the Minnesota blue line and weaved his way through the defense before sliding a backhander past goaltender Adam Wilcox at 1:58 of the second to make it 1-0. The goal was Rust's second of the season.
Minnesota answered back at 6:48 of the second when Marshall drilled a wrist shot from the left hash mark inside the left post for his second of the season.
The goal came off a turnover in the Irish zone as center Sam Warning kept the puck in the zone along the left boards and dumped it below the goal line to Hudson Fasching who found Marshall alone in the slot for the scoring bid.
The Irish capitalized on another power play chance late in the second as Herr bulled his way to the goal and tucked a shot under Wilcox at 16:54 to give the Irish a lead that they never relinquished at 2-1.
Sophomore center Steven Fogarty controlled the puck and the blue line and moved it down the right wing boards to Vince Hinostroza who was quickly covered by the Minnesota defense. He slid it to Herr on the goal line and he just took the puck to the goal for his third in two games and team best sixth marker of the season.
"We need more guys like Sam (Herr) who can power his way to the net. He's playing with a lot of confidence, right now," said Jackson.
"Vinny (Hinostroza) made a nice pass to me on the goal line," said Herr.
"I just took it to the goal. We knew that if the defense came out to play Vinny when he had the puck that I would have a good chance down low."
The Irish would add two more in the third period on the way to the 4-1 final. Peterson notched an insurance tally at 3:14 when he poked the puck past the Minnesota defense and was off on a breakaway. He moved in on Wilcox and deked the sophomore goaltender for his first goal of the season to give Notre Dame a 3-1 advantage.
Costello would close the scoring at 19:09 as he scored into an open net as the Gophers pulled Wilcox in the final minute in favor of a sixth attacker. Defenseman Stephen Johns broke up a MInnesota rush at the Irish blue line and carried the puck through the neutral zone before feeding it to Costello who buried a shot from just inside the Gopher blue line for his fourth goal of the season and the 4-1 final score.
Notre Dame outshot the Gophers by a 33-32 margin on the night. Wilcox finished with 29 saves in the game.
The Irish were 2-for-5 on the power play while Minnesota was 0-for-4.
Game two of the series will be played at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.
* Notre Dame's win over Minnesota was the first for the Irish at home against the Gophers since Feb. 16-17, 1979. The Irish swept that series with 3-2 and 8-7 wins.