Notre Dame hockey: Irish earn shutout road win

STEVE LOWE
SBT Correspondent

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- They may be listed deep on Notre Dame’s line sheet, but the grouping of Thomas DiPauli, Vinny Hinostroza and Peter Schneider is anything but a fourth line.

Western Michigan found out just how tough those three are this weekend.

DiPauli, Sam Herr and Kevin Lind scored goals, and Steven Summerhays stopped all 22 shots Saturday in No. 8 Notre Dame’s 3-0 win at Lawson Ice Arena for a weekend sweep of the 18th-ranked Broncos.

And that “fourth” line scored goals in each game and provided a harassing forecheck that helped get the Irish into their groove.

“They’re listed fourth, but they’re not a fourth line, by any stretch,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. “Those guys buzz. All three guys can skate. They’re like Energizer bunnies out there.”

DiPauli was +3 in the two games. He got Notre Dame on the board in the second period. After two near-misses in front of Western goalie Frank Slubowski, the Broncos couldn’t clear the zone through the Irish pressure. DiPauli got the puck on his stick at the top of the circles and fired a wrist shot past Slubowski, 4:52 into the second period for a 1-0 Irish lead.

The score stayed that way thanks in part to the cross bar behind Summerhays, which the Broncos hit with a power play shot a minute later, but also to Slubowski. Notre Dame dominated the second, outshooting Western 20-1, but Slubowski stopped 19 shots and was the reason the Broncos were still in the game heading into the third period.

Slubowski began the third by stopping Austin Wuthrich with a nifty glove save on a breakaway, but the Irish finally solved the junior goalie a few seconds later.

Shayne Taker’s long power play shot from near the blue line found traffic in front of the WMU goal. Herr got a piece of the puck, sending it to the back of the net for a 2-0 Notre Dame lead, 57 seconds into the final frame.

Taker finished with three assists on the weekend.

“The points are nice, but more importantly, those were two huge wins for us,” Taker said. “We don’t come in here to Kalamazoo a lot and shut them out.”

Lind fired in the final goal, nearly the length of the ice into an empty net. Summerhays picked up an assist on the goal for his third career point. But more importantly, he remained alert in his zone all game, ready for what few chances came his way while the Irish controlled the action most of the weekend.

The back-to-back shutouts mark the first time the Irish program has started the season with two blankings.

“It’s tough in games when you don’t get thirty or forty shots because you don’t get into a rhythm,” Summerhays said. “When guys are blocking shots and keeping things to the perimeter, it makes my job a lot easier.”

Notre Dame went 1-for-9 on the power play Saturday, and 3-for-18 in the both games. The Irish penalty kill stopped all 11 Broncos power plays in the two games.

NOTRE DAME 3, WESTERN MICHIGAN 0

At Lawson Ice Arena

ND01 0 - 0
WMU00 2 - 3

FIRST PERIOD

No scoring. Shots on goal: WMU 9, ND 8; Penalties: WMU 5-10, ND 3-6.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Thomas DiPauli (Shayne Taker, Peter Schneider) 4:52. Shots: ND 20, WMU 1; Penalties: WMU 4-8, ND 1-2.

THIRD PERIOD

ND - Taker (Bryan Rust, T.J. Tynan) PP, :57; Kevin Lind (Steven Summerhays) 19:14. Shots: ND 13, WMU 12; Penalties: ND 2-4, WMU 1-2.

Shots: ND 41, WMU 22; Saves: WMU 38 (Frank Slubowski), ND 22 (Steven Summerhays); Power plays: ND 1-9, WMU 0-4; Penalties: WMU 10-20, ND 6-12; Records: ND 2-0-0, WMU 0-2-0; Attendance: 4,118.