Notre Dame, Ind. -
Notre Dame scored twice on the power play for the first time this season with Mario Lucia and Mike Voran scoring with the man advantage in the second period to give the Irish a 3-2 win over Lake Superior State on Friday night at a sold-out Compton Family Ice Arena.
Anders Lee scored at even strength in the first period, recording his 50th career goal at Notre Dame while the Lakers got even-strength markers from Kellan Lain and Domenic Monardo.
The Irish out shot Lake Superior State, 35-20, on the night. Steven Summerhays stopped 18 shots while the Lakers' Kevin Murdock had 32 saves with 24 of them coming in the first two periods.
The victory, the first for Notre Dame on a series opener at home this season, improves the sixth-ranked Irish to 10-4-0 overall and 6-1-0-0 in the CCHA. Lake Superior falls to 7-8-0 overall and 4-5-0-0 in conference play.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson made his first coaching move of the night before the game started as he had his team wear gold jerseys instead of the whites they usually wear in the first game of a home series. The move paid off as Notre Dame, 0-3, in series openers at home prior to the game, came through with the win.
"It's a win on Friday night, I'll take it. We wore the golds tonight to break the routine," said Jackson.
"Lake Superior is a good team, a tough team to play against. They have good goaltending and they bend but don't break. They picked it up in the third period and put the pressure on us. It was a close game, a tough game."
Notre Dame scored first in the game, taking a 1-0 lead at 6:25 of the opening period when Lee tucked a wrist shot from the high slot through Murdock's pads for his team-best ninth goal of season. Bryan Rust set Lee up with a pass from the left corner. Jeff Costello picked up his sixth point in the last four games with a helper on the goal.
"I thought we played a really good first period," said Lee who now leads the Irish in scoring with nine goals and five assists for 14 points.
"We got a lot of shots. Scoring the first goal is huge; it really put them on their heels. We knew they would be tough and that's why they came back to make it a game in the third period.
When the Irish score first in a game, they are 9-0-0 this season and just 1-4-0 when the opposition gets the first goal of the game.
Notre Dame made it 2-0 just 35 seconds into the second period with their first power-play goal of the night. Robbie Russo, who assisted on both power-play goals in the game, fired a shot from the right point that clanged off the cross bar with the rebound going to Lucia who was parked at the right post. The freshman lifted the rebound over Murdock for his second goal of the season to give Notre Dame a two-goal lead. T.J. Tynan picked up his first of two assists on the play.
The Lakers answered back at 5:15 of the second when Lain picked up a loose puck outside the Irish zone and raced in on Summerhays. His wrist shot from the left circle beat the Notre Dame goaltender low to the ice and inside the right post for his third goal of the year to make it 2-1.
Just over two minutes later, the Irish restored the two-goal lead with power-play goal number two. Again it was Tynan moving the puck from the left boards to Russo at the center point. The sophomore defenseman fired a shot at the Lake Superior goal that deflected in off Voran's stick to give Notre Dame a 3-1 advantage. For Voran, the goal was his second of the season.
"I got lucky on that goal. The puck just hit off my stick," said Voran.
"Robbie (Russo) did a good job all night getting the puck to the net. I saw him going to the net so I tried to move to the front. The puck hit my stick between my hands and went in. I'll take it."
The never-say-die Lakers cut the lead to one again at 13:21 of the second when Monardo scored his fifth of the season.
Nick McParland moved the puck to Monardo in the neutral zone and the Lakers' leading scorer moved down the left wing and using an Irish defenseman as a screen whipped a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Summerhays inside the left post and the period ended with the Notre Dame in front by one goal at 3-2.
The two teams traded eight shots in the third period but neither team scored. The Lakers had a great scoring chance with 3:12 left in the game as Lain was all alone on the right side of the Irish goal and got off a one-timer that Summerhays slid across the crease and stacked the pads to turn away the scoring bid.
On the night, Notre Dame was 2-for-6 on the power play while Lake Superior was 0-for-3.
"We got the "W" tonight. A Friday night win is big for us. Now we can look forward to tomorrow," said Lee.
The two teams will open December with game two of the series at 7:05 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 1 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The Irish will hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss with fans who bring Teddy Bears to the game allowed to throw them on the ice with all bears collected going to Toys for Tots. Following the game is the Skate with the Irish and Santa promotion that is open to everyone in attendance at the game.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F
Lake Superior State (7-8-0/4-5-0-0) 0 2 0 - 2
#6/#6 Notre Dame (10-4-0/6-1-0-0) 1 2 0 - 3