Jan. 9, 2013
Minneapolis, Minn. - The Notre Dame hockey team returned to action for the first time in 24 days and picked the number one team in the nation to do it against in top-ranked Minnesota. The Irish dropped a 4-1 decision to the Gophers in front of a sellout crowd of 10,021 at Mariucci Arena on Tuesday night.
The loss came at the start of a four road games in eight nights swing for Notre Dame and snapped a six-game winning streak that started on Nov. 24. The Irish last played on Dec. 15, a 4-1 win at Bowling Green.
Nate Condon, Sam Warning, Christian Isackson and Zach Budish scored for the Gophers while Jeff Costello had the lone Notre Dame goal.
Minnesota out shot the Irish by a 25-23 margin. Steven Summerhays saw his five-game win streak snapped as he made 21 saves in the game. Adam Wilcox stopped 22-of-23 shots in the win.
The loss drops the second-ranked Irish to 14-5-0 overall while No. 1-ranked Minnesota improved to 14-3-3 on the season.
"The game was a little tighter checking that I expected," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"We started of a little slow - it looked like we had been off for a month. That slow start was the difference in the game. Credit Minnesota. They played well and we just weren't sharp in the first part of the first period."
Two goals in the first 7:30 of the game were the difference for Minnesota on the night as the Gophers had an early step on the Irish after last playing nine days ago (Dec. 29-30) in their own Mariucci Classic.
Minnesota got on the scoreboard first, scoring on the Gophers first shot of the game just 1:23 into the contest. Condon whipped a wrist shot from the right circle through a screen in front that beat Steven Summerhays to the right corner. The goal was Condon's sixth of the season with linemates Budish and Warning picking up assists on the play.
The Gophers made it 2-0 at 7:29 just seconds after the Irish killed off a minor penalty. Defenseman Ben Marshall kept the puck in at the blue line and threw it to the front of the net where Travis Boyd got off a shot that Summerhays stopped. After a scramble for the puck in front, Warning came up with it and tucked a short wrist shot inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season.
After being off for a 24-day break, the Notre Dame attack came to life late in the period and was able to take over the play and cut the lead to 2-1 with Costello notching his sixth goal of the season at 14:41. The junior left wing took a pass inside the Gopher zone from Bryan Rust and barged and charged his way past the Minnesota defender and slid a backhander through the pads of Wilcox for the goal. Anders Lee also picked up an assist on the play.
Minnesota took advantage of a Notre Dame turnover to make it a 3-1 game with the only goal of the second period. Freshman center A.J. Michaelson forced a turnover at the bottom of the left wing circle with the puck going right to the stick of Isackson. The sophomore right wing walked in on Summerhays and made a move that forced the Irish netminder to move towards the right post. Isackson then backhanded a shot over Summerhays' blocker for his third goal of the season.
"Minnesota has a deep team. There depth was better than ours tonight," said Jackson.
"They are a good team and we gave up a couple of goals that we shouldn't have due to turnovers in our zone. I look at that as being a little rusty because we haven't turned over pucks very much this season."
The Gophers then sealed the deal in the final minute as the Irish pulled Summerhays in favor of a sixth attacker. Kyle Rau broke up a pass at center and carried to the Irish blue line before flipping a pass to Budish who was all alone. The former high school teammate of Anders Lee in Edina, Minn. fired the puck into the empty net for his sixth of the year and the final score of 4-1.
The four goals surrendered by the Irish was a season high by an opponent this season against Notre Dame. The Irish slammed the door on Minnesota's eighth-ranked power play as they stopped all six Gopher chances on the night. Notre Dame was 0-for-4 with the power play.
The loss spoiled the homecoming of Irish freshman forward Mario Lucia who happens to be the son of Minnesota head coach and Notre Dame alum, Don Lucia `81. He was held to one shot on goal for the game and saw his five-game point streak (4g, 4a) snapped by his dad's team.
Notre Dame continues its four-game road trip at 7:05 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Jan. 11 when the Irish return to CCHA play to open a series at Michigan State. Both games of the series will be televised live by Comcast.
** IRISH NOTES ** ** Former Irish defenseman and Minnesota head coach Don Lucia `81 was honored prior to the game for his 600th career victory that came on October 28 versus Canisius. Irish freshman forward Mario Lucia and his entire family took part in the pre-game ceremony.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F #3/#2 Notre Dame (14-5-0) 1 0 0 - 1 #1/#1 Minnesota (14-3-3) 2 1 1 - 4Scoring First Period: UM: Nate Condon 6 (Zach Budish, Sam Warning), 1:23; UM: Warning 4 (Travis Boyd, Ben Marshall), 7:29; ND: Jeff Costello 6 (Bryan Rust, Anders Lee), 14:41
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: UM: Christian Isackson 3 (A.J. Michaelson), 5:13.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UM: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: UM: Budish 6 (Kyle Rau, Condon), ENG, 1945.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; UM: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 8 - 7 - 8 - 23 Minnesota 8 - 10 - 7 - 25
Goaltender Saves: ND: Steven Summerhays (58:41) 6 - 9 - 6 - 21 UM: Adam Wilcox (60:00) 7 - 7 - 8 - 22
Power Plays: ND: 0 for 4 UM: 0 for 6
Attendance: 10,021 (sellout)