Duluth, Minn. - Three second-period goals by Jeff Costello, Mario Lucia and Peter Schneider led Notre Dame to a 3-2 road win over Minnesota Duluth Friday night in front of 6,353 at AMSOIL Arena.
Senior goaltender Steven Summerhays got the win in goal but played just 45:30 as he received a major penalty for grabbing the face mask and a game misconduct with more than 14 minutes left in the game. Freshman Chad Katunar got his baptism under fire as he came into the game, having to hold off the Bulldogs while the Irish killed the five-minute major. He surrendered just one goal on a five-on-three during that time and stopped five-of-six shots in his first collegiate action.
Cal Decowski and Andy Welinski scored for Minnesota Duluth.
Notre Dame out shot the Bulldogs, 28-21, in the game. Summerhays stopped 14 shots in recording his fifth consecutive win of the season. Aaron Crandall had 25 stops in the Minnesota Duluth goal.
The win improves the second-ranked Irish to 5-0-0 on the season and gives them their best start since a 6-0-0 run at the start of the 1998-99 season. The Bulldogs are now 2-2-1 and the loss snaps a run of seven straight at home for them.
"Tonight's game was a hard-fought game. It wasn't much different than I thought it would be," said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.
"These are two teams that skate rather well and for the most part I thought we did a good job until we took that penalty in the third period that could have cost us the game. Our guys responded and we threw a freshman in for his first minutes as a college hockey player in that environment and that situation and he got through it. I was glad that Chad (Katunar) was able to hang in there." ATI Physical Therapy
After a scoreless first period, the Irish got the offense going in the second period. Costello snapped the scoreless tie at 10:09 when he took a pass from Robbie Russo, who had two assists in the game, and whipped a wrist shot from the left circle past Crandall for a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs countered just over two minutes later at 12:49 off a strong forecheck in the Irish zone. Adam Krause got a shot off in close on Summerhays who made the stop. The rebound found its way to the slot where Decowski backhanded it over the Notre Dame goaltender's glove for his first of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
It was Notre Dame's turn less than two minutes later at 14:38 when Lucia scored on the power play for his second of the season to make it 2-1.
Russo and T.J. Tynan (two assists) set the play up moving it from the left boards to the point to Lucia in the left circle. The sophomore left wing whipped a low shot that beat Crandall to the far post and the Irish had a one-goal lead.
The eventual game winner came off the stick of Schneider and started in the neutral zone as the Irish transitioned from offense to defense. Schneider carried the puck into the Minnesota Duluth zone and left in for Vince Hinostroza. The freshman center passed the puck to the front where Sam Herr got his stick on it to redirect it on goal. Crandall made the save but Schneider was there to pounce on the rebound at 17:59. The goal was Schneider's first of the season and made it 3-1.
"Vinny (Hinostroza) got a pass in the neutral zone and he touched it to me in the middle," said Schneider talking about his game-winning goal.
"I carried it into the zone and dropped it for Vinny and just drove the net like we've been talking about. Sammy (Herr) made a nice play to get the puck to the net and I just got the rebound ."
In the third, Minnesota Duluth tried to get its offense going but the defense and Summerhays were able to hold them off. At 5:30, Krause, a 6-3, 210-pound right wing crashed into Summerhays in the crease, knocking him into the goal. When the play was finally whistled down, the players on the ice looked for a penalty call on Krause.
When none was called, Summerhays took matters into his own hands and went after the big winger, grabbing Krause's facemask that resulted in the major penalty and the game misconduct. That brought the 6-5, 232-pound Katunar into the game.
"I'm sure he was nervous," said Jackson.
"That might be the perfect scenario for a freshman to get his first game. He didn't have a chance to think about it. But five-on-three to start, are you kidding me. I guess that he will always be able to remember his first college moment."
Before he could face a shot, another penalty was called on the Irish, giving the Bulldogs a 5-on-3 for two minutes. Welinski was able to get a shot through from the point as his shot went through a screen and through Katunar's pads to make it 5-3.
From there, the Irish killed off the remainder of the major penalty and held the Bulldogs at bay for the hard-fought 3-2 win.
The two teams will close out the series at 7:07 p.m. (CT) on Saturday night at AMSOIL Arena.
** IRISH NOTES **
** Notre Dame has not trailed in a game at all this season. The Irish have had the lead for 185:08 of 300 minutes played this season. They have been tied the other 114:52.
** The Irish lead the nation in power-play chances with 46 in the first five games. The next closest team is Northern Michigan with 36.
** With two assists in Friday night's game, senior T.J. Tynan moved into a tie for 25th on the all-time scoring list with 129 points on 47 goals and 82 assists. He is now tied with Kevin Nugent, Sr., `78, who had 54 goals and 75 assists for his 129 points.
** With the win over Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame is now 3-0-0 against teams from the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The Irish have two wins over Western Michigan and the one tonight versus the Bulldogs.