Notre Dame, Ind. - Anders Lee scored a pair of goals while Jeff Costello and Steven Fogarty picked up one each and goaltender Steven Summerhays kicked out all 14 shots he faced as Notre Dame shutout Western Michigan, 4-0, on Sunday evening at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The win gives the Irish a split of the weekend series with the Broncos who took the first game Friday night with a 3-2 victory.
For Summerhays, the shutout was his second of the season and his fourth in his last 12 starts, dating back to Feb. 24 of last season. The 14 shots he faced were a season low against the Irish and the junior netminder also picked up his first career assist as he helped set up Lee's second goal of the game.
The win improves #8/#7 Notre Dame to 6-2-0 overall and gives the Irish a 3-1-0-0 record in the CCHA. Western Michigan, ranked 11th in both polls, saw its four-game winning streak snapped as the Broncos fall to 4-2-0 on the year and 1-1-0-0 in conference play.
After dropping a 3-2 decision on Friday night to the Broncos, Notre Dame had a day to think about it as the two teams had Saturday off as the Irish football team was hosting 80,000 football fans and the University of Pittsburgh. The break seemed to spark the Irish who scored early in the first period and had the first nine shots of the game.
"It just seemed like tonight we had more energy," said Lee, the team captain.
"When you start off with an early power-play goal and get a lot of shots early, you definitely feel like you have control of the game.
The Notre Dame power play struck at the 1:23 mark of the opening period with Fogarty collecting the goal, his third of the year as he beat Western Michigan starter Frank Slubowski with a wrist shot from between the hash marks.
Defenseman Sam Calabrese kept the puck in at the center point and moved it to Fogarty coming off the left boards. The freshman center passed the puck to Austin Wuthrich in the left corner and he held it until Fogarty got free in the slot. The goal was Fogarty's second of the season on the power play.
The trio of Lee, Costello and right wing Bryan Rust did the rest of the damage on the evening. They scored trice in a three-minute span early in the second period to give the Irish a 3-0 lead.
Lee made it 2-0 at the 1:03 mark as he converted a feed from Rust, who had three assists in the game, beating Slubowski from just above the crease for his fourth goal of the year. Rust forced a turnover behind the Bronco goal and carried the puck out the left side and found Lee all by himself. The junior center tucked it past Slubowski for the two-goal lead.
Costello made it 3-0 at 4:11 as he beat Slubowski with a backhander from the right circle on a play he started in the neutral zone. His big hit forced a turnover as the Broncos lost the puck into the Irish zone. The puck went off Rust to defenseman Stephen Johns. Johns returned it to Costello at the Western blue line and he carried it in before sliding a backhander between Slubowski's pads. The goal sent the Bronco netminder to the bench in favor of Lukas Hafner.
From there, the Irish put the clamps on the Broncos who would get just 14 shots on goal the entire game.
"I was pleased how the defense played tonight and the way the forwards came back," said head coach Jeff Jackson.
"That made it hard for them to generate a lot. We did a good job with puck possession that was a key. When you control the puck, you limit the opponents chances to shoot."
With the Irish protecting Summerhays' shutout bid, the Broncos had a pair of late power-play chances where they pulled their goaltender but could not score. On the second one, Lee put the game away as he shoveled a backhander down the ice from his zone for a short-handed, empty-net goal at 18:55 for a 4-0 lead.
On the play, Summerhays steered the rebound of a Bronco shot off Rust (his third assist) to Lee who scored from 180 feet away. For the Irish goaltender, it was his first career assist.
"I got real lucky tonight," said Lee.
"The empty netters help the team. I'll take it. This was a great team win. Steven (Summerhays) played great tonight, Steven Fogarty had a big power-play goal early for us. Tonight's win was huge."
For the night, Notre Dame out shot Western Michigan by a 35-14 advantage. Slubowski played 24:11 and had 11 saves. Hafner stopped 20 shots in 32:58 of playing time.
"Western Michigan is a tough team to play against. They compete hard," said Jackson.
"I don't think there is a team in college hockey that works harder than them. That means we have to work extra hard to get body position and win the battles on the wall and in front of the net. I thought we did a much better job of that tonight."
Things don't get any easier for the Irish who return to action next Friday, Nov. 9 when they travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face the top-ranked Boston College Eagles. Game time at Conte Forum is set for 7:00 p.m.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F
#11/#11 Western Michigan (4-2-0/1-1-0-0) 0 0 0 - 0
#8/#7 Notre Dame (6-2-0/3-1-0-0) 1 2 1 - 4