WITT'S 30 SAVES BACKSTOP NORTHEASTERN TO 4-0 WIN AT NOTRE DAME
Senior goaltender Clay Witt makes 30 saves in third shutout of season for Huskies
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Northeastern junior goaltender Clay Witt stopped all 30 shots he faced and junior right wing Adam Reid had two goals and an assist to lead the Huskies to a 4-0 shutout win over Notre Dame on Friday night in front of 4,862 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Mike Szmatula and Mike McMurtry added single goals in the Northeastern win that snapped Notre Dame's four-game winning streak that started on Jan. 11 versus Alabama-Huntsville. The Huskies have now defeated the Irish four straight times at the Compton Family Ice Arena in three seasons.
While Witt was recording his third shutout this season, Irish starter Steven Summerhays was having a night he would like to forget as he surrendered all four goals on just seven shots in 31:21 minutes of playing time. Freshman Chad Katunar played the final 28:34 of the game and stopped all seven shots he faced as Northeastern had just 14 shots in the game, the second fewest by an Irish opponent this season (Alabama Huntsville had 13 in a 5-0 shutout win on Jan. 12).
The loss, the third straight Hockey East loss for Notre Dame, gives the Irish a 14-9-1 overall mark and a 3-6-1 record in league play. 11th-ranked Northeastern improves to 15-7-3 on the season and is now 8-4-1 in Hockey East, good for 17 points and second place, six points behind first-place Boston College.
"We gave up a breakaway goal and a two-one-one and we are down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"That dictates everything. We gave up 14 shots in the game. It wasn't just the goaltender; it was the quality of the shots. We have to find a way against a team that holds the fort well and has a pretty good goaltender."
Reid led the Northeastern attack, scoring both his goals in the first period as the Huskies fired four in the first 20 minutes at Summerhays.
Reid gave Northeastern a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first on the Huskies first shot of the game. He blocked a Notre Dame shot at the Northeastern blue line and carried the puck down the left side to the left face off circle where he whipped a wrist shot over Summerhays' stick hand for his fourth of the season.
His second goal of the night came just 2:13 later at the 7:59 mark when he took a feed from Dalen Hedges from below the goal line in the slot where he was all alone. Reid tucked a shot under Summerhays' pads for his fifth of the year and a 2-0 Northeastern lead.
The Irish would out shoot the Huskies, 13-4, in the first period but could not get anything past Witt.
Notre Dame came out early in the second period and went on the attack. With the Irish controlling the puck, Sam Herr tried to set up in front of Witt and looked like he was thrown down to the ice on a Notre Dame shot. The officials saw otherwise and called the Irish sophomore for interference at 1:36 of the middle stanza.
It would take the Huskies just eight seconds to score on the power play when center John Stevens fed Szmatula in the slot and he fired a shot high to Summerhays' glove side. The senior appeared to get a piece of the shot but it went over his shoulder and crossed the goal line. The goal was Szmatula's 10th of the year and made it 3-0.
Northeastern wrapped up the scoring at 11:26 when McMurtry scored from in front, converting a feed from below the goal line from Hedges, who had his second assist on the night. The goal was McMurtry's fifth of the season and closed the scoring at 4-0. It also ended Summerhays' night as he was pulled in favor of Katunar.
"I pulled Steven (Summerhays) to shake up the team," said Jackson.
"I didn't want them to think the game was over. I had made the decision that if they scored a fourth without us getting one that I would make the change. Steven is our guy. I need to get him going and making saves like the other kid made. He's capable of that. We've seen that."
The shutout was just the second ever against the Irish in the three seasons of the Compton Family Ice Arena. The first came on Feb. 10, 2012, a 1-0 shutout to Ferris State.
This is the second time the Irish have been shutout during the 2013-14 season as UMass-Lowell blanked Notre Dame, 1-0, on Nov. 22, 2013 at the Tsongas Center.
Northeastern was 1-for-6 on the power play while the Irish were 0-for-3.
The two teams meet in the second game of the series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The game will be televised live by the NBC Sports Network.
"We have to have a response," said Jackson concerning Saturday's contest.
"We have to be better tomorrow."
** IRISH NOTES**
** In three seasons of play at the Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame owns a 37-17-1 record. Of the 17 losses, four have come at the hands of the Northeastern Huskies.
** Mario Lucia saw his team and personal high seven-game point streak snapped in the 4-0 shutout. He had six goals and five assists for 11 points during the streak. Vince Hinostroza had a four-game streak (2g, 4a) stopped; Jeff Costello's three-game streak (3g, 1a) came to an end, as did two-game assist streaks for Shayne Taker and Stephen Johns.