Notre Dame hockey: Irish capture penalty-fest

STEVE LOWE
SBT Correspondent

SOUTH BEND -- By the time the final numbers were tallied and the math confirmed, the amount of penalties whistled Sunday afternoon at the Compton Family Ice Arena was a bit mind-boggling.

Michigan Tech committed 18 penalties for a Notre Dame opponent-record 85 minutes, breaking the previous record of 73 minutes by Detroit in 1969.

That resulted in 13 power plays for No. 4 Notre Dame, which converted four of them into goals en route to a 7-3 win and weekend sweep over the Huskies.

Vinnie Hinostroza and Sam Herr each had two goals and an assist, and Robbie Russo finished with three assists for the 4-0-0 Irish, who are off to their best start since opening 6-0-0 in 1998. The win was also ND’s 10th straight at home, dating to Jan. 26.

But this one was not without its warts. Notre Dame was also penalized a lot — 14 times for 28 minutes, much of which were in response to an aggressive Michigan Tech team.

“It’s hard,” said ND coach Jeff Jackson said. “You’re just churning inside.”

The hardest part was running the special teams units onto the ice so often, and very rarely getting his lines rolling, which meant certain players who hadn’t practiced with the two power play lines saw very little ice time.

“It’s challenging because you’ve got guys on the bench that are sitting for long periods of time,” Jackson said. “We’ve got good hockey players who are sitting there. That bothers me when that happens.”

After committing 11 penalties on Friday, Michigan Tech nearly matched that total in the first period alone, with 10 for a whopping 39 minutes thanks to a 5-minute major and game misconduct for Max Vallis for kneeing, and a 10-minute misconduct on C.J. Eick. The Huskies had three players leave with game-misconducts in all.

The Irish converted on one of their five first-period power plays when Hinostroza rifled a one-timer from T.J. Tynan past Michigan Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips.

Shayne Taker gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead 1:43 into the second period when his floater from the blueline wobbled through traffic and past Phillips, but like in Friday night’s 3-2 Irish win, the Huskies came right back.

Tech scored a pair of goals less than a minute apart to tie the game, but the Huskies simply couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. Midway through the second, Mike Neville hit Tynan from behind into the boards and earned Tech’s second game misconduct and 5-minute major.

The Irish converted quickly, with power play goals from Jeff Costello and Mario Lucia 18 seconds apart. Lucia’s goal came off a feed from Hinostroza, which Lucia deposited in the top right corner of the net for his first of the season.

“That was huge,” Costello said. “Especially getting that power play goal on both units. We found some success tonight.”

Hinostroza made it a 5-2 lead with his second goal of the game, a top-corner snipe over Phillips’ right shoulder for the freshman’s first career multi-goal game.

“That’s the sign of a good team,” Jackson said. “The fact that we responded was a positive.”

Herr scored Notre Dame’s final two goals in the third period, also a positive sign for the sophomore left winger who, according to Jackson, did not play particularly well on Friday. Jackson had a talk with Herr about his expectations, and Herr responded.

“(I) was just answering to what he had to say,” Herr said. “I knew he wasn’t happy with a couple plays Friday night and I didn’t want that to happen again. Every single shift, I just went out there and tried to do what I had to do.”

Jackson was just happy to escape this one with not only another win, but without any injuries or suspensions.

“The nature of the game is that it spirals out of control sometimes,” Jackson said. “That’s exactly what was happening out there.”

NOTRE DAME 7, MICHIGAN TECH 3

At Compton Family Ice Arena

FIRST PERIOD

ND - Vinnie Hinostroza (T.J. Tynan, Robbie Russo) PP, 16:48. Shots on goal: ND 13, MTU 11; Penalties: MTU 10-39, ND 5-10.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Shayne Taker (Sam Herr, David Gerths) 1:43; MTU - Tyler Heinonen (Blake Hietala, Mike Neville) 2:12; MTU - Alex Petan (Blake Pietila, Jamie Phillips) 3:16; ND - Jeff Costello (Bryan Rust, Steven Fogarty) PP, 11:11; ND - Mario Lucia (Hinostroza, Russo) PP, 11:29; ND - Hinostroza, 2 (unassisted) 12:57. Shots: ND 8, MTU 7; Penalties: MTU 2-15, ND 4-8.

THIRD PERIOD

ND - Herr (Gerths, Russo) 5:06; MTU - Heinonen, 2 (Hietala, Chris Leibinger) 15:34; ND - Herr, 2 (Austin Wuthrich) PP, 18:00. Shots: ND 12, MTU 7; Penalties: MTU 6-31, ND 5-10.

MTU021 - 3
ND142 - 7

Shots: ND 33, MTU 25; Saves: MTU 26 (Jamie Phillips), ND 22 (Steven Summerhays); Power plays: ND 4-13, MTU 0-8; Penalties: MTU 18-85, ND 14-28; Records: ND 4-0-0, MTU 0-3-1; Attendance: 4,228.