Oct. 21, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman center Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) has been selected as Hockey East Pro Ambitions co-Rookie of the Week for his play last weekend in the Irish home sweep of Michigan Tech at the Compton Family Ice Arena. He shares the award with Northeastern forward Mike Szmatula.
The rookie center recorded two goals and added two assists to lead the Irish offense with four points in the 3-2 and 7-3 wins over the Huskies. After the first four games of the season, the 5-9, 175-pound Hinostroza leads Notre Dame in scoring with three goals and three assists for six points and is +3 for the year.
In Friday's 3-2 win, the former Waterloo Black Hawk picked up one assist as he helped set up Steven Fogarty's opening goal at 5:48 of the first period. For the game, he had three shots on goal and was +1 on the night.
On Sunday afternoon, Hinostroza recorded his first multiple-goal and multiple-point game of the season as he scored twice and added an assist for three points. He added three shots and was even in the game while blocking one shot.
Hinostroza opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:48 of the first period as he took a feed from T.J. Tynan and one-timed a slap shot past Michigan Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips. The Irish would score power-play goals on the afternoon and the speedy center helped set up Mario Lucia's game-winning goal at 11:29 of the second to make it a 4-2 game in favor of Notre Dame. Just 1:28 later, he closed out his afternoon as he took a long pass from defenseman Stephen Johns and carried it into the Huskies' zone where he beat Phillips with a high wrist shot from between the face-off circles to make it a 5-2 game.
The honor is the first of the season for the Irish center as he joins senior Steven Summerhays who was named the conference's goaltender of the week last week.
MOVING ON UP
With the weekend sweep over Michigan Tech, the Irish have improved to 4-0-0 on the season. The national polls reflect Notre Dame's hot start as the Irish find themselves ranked number two in the nation this week in both the USA Today/U.S. Hockey Magazine poll and the USCHO.com rankings.
Notre Dame is second to the University of Minnesota in both polls while Miami, Michigan and Boston College round out the top five teams in each poll.
In the USA Today rankings, Minnesota, also 4-0-0 on the year, received 25 first-place votes and has 495 points while the Irish got five first-place votes and check in with 439 points. Miami, 3-1-0 overall, picked up one first-place vote and has 421 points. Michigan, 3-0-1, picked up 402 points while Boston College, 2-1-0, has 370 points.
In the USCHO.com rankings, the Gophers were named first on 31 ballots to 11 for Notre Dame and out-point the Irish 972 to 928. Miami had five firsts and 874 points while Michigan had 844 points in fourth and the Boston College rounds out the top five with 769.
With the success that the Notre Dame hockey program has since Jeff Jackson took over the reins in 2005-06, its hard to believe that the current 4-0-0 start is the best in the veteran coach's nine years behind the Irish bench. It also is the best start for any Notre Dame team since the 1998-99 squad opened the year with six straight wins. The school record for wins at the start of the season is 15-0-0 and was set at the beginning of the 1983-84 campaign.
Irish captain Jeff Costello (Sr., Milwaukee, Wis.) is happy with his team's strong start.
"We have had a good start. We have been playing some pretty good hockey so far," says the senior captain.
"We've done a good job minimizing our mistakes but there are still some discrepancies in how we should be playing and how we are capable of playing. Moving forward, it's going to get tougher with tougher competition and going on the road. We are looking forward to the challenges, but we are proud to have started off the way we have so far."
In case you missed it, Notre Dame has now won 10 straight games at the Compton Family Ice Arena since Jan. 26 of last season. The Irish beat Ferris State that night, followed with a sweep of Michigan (Feb. 8-9), then a pair of sweeps versus Bowling Green to close the regular season and then in the second round of the CCHA playoffs. They then opened the year with a win over Western Michigan (Oct. 11) and then last weekend's sweep of Michigan Tech make it 10 straight at home.
TO HERR IS HUMAN TO SCORE DIVINE
Don't look now but sophomore left wing Sam Herr is tied for the team lead with three goals in the first four games this season. The Hinsdale, Ill., native turned in the first two-goal game and three-point contest in the 7-3 win over Michigan Tech. Working on a line with seniors David Gerths (Ankeny, Iowa) and Mike Voran (Livonia, Mich.), the trio has meshed quickly into a strong group that has proven to be strong at both ends of the ice in the early going.
"I am starting to feel confident out there," says the 6-0, 206-pound Herr.
"I think our line is starting to get some chemistry as a group and that's a big step for us. We want to keep moving forward with that. We are building confidence together. It is a process. Coach Jackson wasn't happy with us on Friday night, but we answered tonight. We just want to build on it."
As a freshman, Herr was limited to 13 games with just one assist. He hasn't wasted anytime this season getting into a scoring groove as he has three goals and one assist for four points. He is tied for third on the team with 13 shots on goal and is +2 on the year with two power-play goals.
TURNING ON THE POWER
If the first four games of the season are any indication, having a good power play unit (or two or three) will be an important aspect for any team's hopes of success this year. On Sunday afternoon, Michigan Tech was assessed 18 penalties resulting in 85 penalty minutes. That gave the Irish 12 power-play chances, including three of five minutes with Notre Dame scoring four times with the man advantage. Through the first four games of the season, the Irish have had 40 power-play opportunities and have scored eight power-play goals. On the other hand, Notre Dame foes have only had 24 power plays and have scored just once. That's a 95.8 penalty-killing success rate.
HEAR THE COACH
Jeff Jackson will appear on Scott Laughlin's show on the NHL Radio Network on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 2:45 p.m. to talk about Notre Dame's strong start. The show can be heard on Channel 92 on Sirius/XM radio.