Notre Dame hockey: Notre Dame opens in late-season form

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND -- Notre Dame's debut performance in the 2013-14 hockey season Friday night looked more like that of a late-season playoff team.

The Irish were blocking shots, controlling the puck and frustrating Western Michigan like it was game number 41 rather than number one.

The eighth-ranked Irish scored three third-period goals, freshman Vinny Hinostroza had a goal and an assist in his collegiate debut, and goaltender Steven Summerhays had 22 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Broncos at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

"We're far from where we need to be from a structural standpoint, but I was really happy with the performances of a number of individuals," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. "Vinny, obviously, was pretty dynamic out there."

Hinostroza's first career goal came on a one-time pass from Andy Ryan as the Irish brought out an extra attacker on a delayed penalty call against Western. Hinostroza met Ryan's pass in the left faceoff circle and he blasted the puck home off the left goal post.

Hinostroza got things going for the Irish in the first period on the power play when he sent a pass in front of WMU goalie Frank Slubowski that tipped off Wuthrich's skate for a power-play goal.

"He looks very comfortable," Wuthrich said of Hinostroza. "He's very confident and he's a very skilled forward."

It could have easily been 3-0 after one period, but Slubowski made big saves on wide open chances by Thomas DiPauli and Jeff Costello to keep it close. On the other end of the ice, Notre Dame let very little of consequence make it through to Summerhays, blocking 10 shots in the first period alone. The Irish finished with 21 blocked shots for the game.

"That had to be one of the highest amount of blocked shots that we've had since I've been here at Notre Dame," said the senior Summerhays, who recorded his seventh career shutout. "Everyone was getting down and blocking shots. Great effort."

Costello made it 3-0 in the third period with a power play goal on a re-directed Shayne Taker shot from the point as the Broncos were trying to kill off a 5-minute major.

With just under five minutes to play and an Irish player in the penalty box, Western coach Andy Murray pulled Slubowski from net for a two-man advantage. That became a three-man advantage a few seconds later when Kevin Lind was sent to the box, but Summerhays and the Irish yielded nothing. Robbie Russo then tacked on the final tally with a shorthanded empty-net goal with 2:24 to play.

"That was about being committed to blocking shots," Jackson said. "I was really happy for Summerhays getting the shutout, because he made some great saves for us when he needed to at the end, but it was good that we stayed strong to the end and allowed him to get that shutout."

FIRST PERIOD

ND -- Austin Wuthrich (Vinny Hinostroza, Shayne Taker) PP, 5:36. Shots on goal: ND 9, WMU 6; Penalties: WMU 4-8, ND 3-6.

SECOND PERIOD

No scoring. Shots: ND 10, WMU 6; Penalties: ND 2-4, WMU 2-4.

THIRD PERIOD

ND -- Hinostroza (Andy Ryan, Eric Johnson) 2:13; Jeff Costello (Taker, Wuthrich) PP, 13:04; Robbie Russo (unassisted) SH, 17:36.

Shots: ND 13, WMU 10; Penalties: WMU 3-17, ND 3-6.

W. Michigan000 -- 0
Notre Dame103 -- 4

Shots: ND 32, WMU 22; Saves: WMU 28 (Frank Slubowski), ND 22 (Steven Summerhays); Power plays: ND 2-9, WMU 0-7; Penalties: ND 9-29, WMU 8-16; Records: ND 1-0-0, WMU 0-1-0; Attendance: 4,879.