The Takeaway: Notre Dame Slips by Minnesota Duluth

Posted by: Matt Christians

DULUTH – Despite Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays being ejected during the 3rd period, an impressive three-goal second period allowed Notre Dame just enough cushion to hold off Minnesota Duluth until the final horn sounded.  Each team played extremely marginal on their man-advantage attempts, but Notre Dame’s ability to get the puck on net allowed them to leave Amsoil Arena on Friday night, routing Minnesota Duluth, 3-2.

Although 5-on-5 play was undoubtedly very comparable, Minnesota Duluth won the first period by killing off a lengthy Caleb Herbert major penalty as Notre Dame seemed to be picking up speed.  Shots on goal finished 8-6 in favor of the Irish, but the scoreboard read 0’s at the end of the first.

UMD’s ability to counteract Notre Dame’s deep and talented offense seemed to subside as second period play started.  Jeff Costello buried his 3rd goal of the year, receiving a beautiful pass from Robbie Russo and wristing it by UMD netminder, Aaron Crandall.  Minnesota Duluth’s Cal Decowski responded minutes later, but Mario Lucia and Peter Schneider would both record second period goals, putting them in great position coming into the last period.

For lack of better words, shit hit the fan at 5:34 into the 3rd period when UMD captain Adam Krause was pushed into Summerhays, who didn’t appreciate the contact.  When all was said and down, both Krause and Andy Ryan received matching minors for roughing, and Summerhays was issued a facemasking major and a game misconduct.  Freshman Chad Katunar was thrown into net in replacement of Summerhays just as Minnesota Duluth was finding a great amount of momentum.  T.J. Tynan took a hooking minor just seconds later, adding to the anxiety of Notre Dame’s freshman tender, allowing Andy Welinski to blast a shot from up top to draw the Bulldogs within one goal.

Unfortunately for Minnesota Duluth, the tying goal was never found and Notre Dame improved to 5-0-0, their best start under coach Jeff Jackson and Minnesota Duluth fell  2-2-1.

What I Saw

For the most part, intense hockey.  Notre Dame brought what was anticipated – a deep, quick moving offense and a solid d-core to back them up.  It wasn’t until the second period when the Fighting Irish really let-loose, outshooting UMD 15-7 and playing as though they were a man-up for most of the period.

Minnesota Duluth countered Notre Dame’s offense with their own ability to skate with speed and agility.  UMD was able to win a grinding first period, but lost momentum in the second period, which eventually ended up losing the game for the home team.  Third period play looked completely different than a period before, and had they played that way all night, the score would have looked a little differently.

What I Thought

Notre Dame is a very dangerous team.  They established their dominance from the very first few minutes.  They literally have every tool needed to win games – a deep offense who can move the puck efficiently and score, a defense core that can protect the blueline, but also forfeit their bodies to protect against opponent shots on net, and a goalie who has the ability to make jaw-dropping saves.  Hockey East may just be in for a real treat with this team.

Minnesota Duluth was the obvious underdog heading into this one.  Their speed kept them in the game and could have potentially won it for them as well had they played all 60 minutes.  Aaron Crandall, who was originally thought to be the backup netminder for UMD behind Matt McNeely, played outstanding.  He gave up a few bad rebounds, but made up for it by standing on his head, especially during the Herbert-major.

What They Said

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said,

“It was a hard fought game and wasn’t much different than I expected it to be.  Two teams that skate rather well, but for the most part I thought we did a good job.”

“(We) took that penalty in the third period that could have cost us the game, but our guys responded.  Throw a freshman in for his first minutes as a college hockey player, in that environment, in that situation, it’s amazing that we got through it actually.”

Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said,

“We had a good third period and I liked our first period as well, and our second felt like we were killing penalties the whole period.  We’ve just got to try and play more than 40 minutes a night.”

 

What Else You Should Know

The puck drops at 8:07 EDT tonight for round two.  If you remember from last weekend, Notre Dame beat Michigan Tech 3-2 on Friday before blowing Saturday night’s game apart with a 7-3.  On the otherside, UMD fell last Friday but came back flying, routing Colorado College 5-1.  If both team’s play a full 60 minutes, it should make for a great college hockey game.

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