Notre Dame hockey: Depleted Irish settle for a tie

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- Notre Dame nearly overcame playing Saturday's Hockey East clash with Merrimack a line short.

Nearly, as in only 69 seconds short of a victory.

Merrimack's Vinny Scotti scored on a rebound at the 18:59 mark of the third period to pull the Warriors into a 2-2 tie with the Irish at Compton Family Ice Arena.

Scotti’s goal came after the Notre Dame defense blocked not one, but two shots after Merrimack pulled its goalie. The teams then went scoreless in the overtime.

"Both goals Merrimack had were bounces," ND coach Jeff Jackson lamented. "We were playing three lines and they were playing four. It was inevitable we'd get tired."

Notre Dame (8-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 in Hockey East) played without leading scorer Vince Hinostroza, who suffered a knee injury last week in a split with Minnesota, and without three other forwards.

That left Jackson to play only three lines with healthy forwards.

Early on, it didn't seem to affect the Irish as Shayne Taker opened the scoring at 12:17 of the first period on a the powerplay. Taker took a pass from Mario Lucia just inside the blue line and beat Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen for his third of the year.

The Irish took a 2-0 lead early in the second period on a shorthanded tally by T.J. Tynan. He took control of the puck at the ND blue line and on his way to the Merrimack goal he outmuscled as many as three defenders before beating Tirronen with a backhander.

Merrimack cut the lead in half at 8:17 of the second on Clayton Jardine's goal that knuckled over the shoulder of ND goalie Steven Summerhays.

Through two periods, the Irish outshot the Warriors, 25-12, but couldn't capitalize on three powerplay opportunities after Taker's goal.

Merrimack seemed go gain steam during the final period before pulling Tirronen with two minutes left.

With the extra attacker, Jardine original shot from the point was blocked by a ND defender and the puck bounced directly to Merrimack's Jordan Heywood. His shot was also blocked in front and that puck bounced directly to Scotti, who beat Summerhays on the stick side.

"The fact we were up, 2-1, I'd take that again," Jackson said. "Hey, we blocked two shots and it bounced straight to the open guy. We were really good the first two periods and I think fatigue was a factor in the third."

Each team recorded a shot in the overtime period, but neither side had a quality opportunity.

Notre Dame did outshoot the visitors, 32-27. Summerhays finished with 25 saves, while Tirronen recorded 30.


ND - Shayne Taker (Mario Lucia, Sam Herr), PP, 12:17. Shots: Notre Dame 14, Merrimack 6. Penalties: Merrimack 2-4; Notre Dame 1-2.


ND - T.J. Tynan (unassisted), SH, 1:33; M - Clayton Jardine (Justin Mansfield) 8:17. Shots: Notre Dame 11, Merrimack 6. Penalties: Merrimack 2-4, Notre Dame 1-2.


M - Vinny Scotti (Jordan Hayward, Jardine) 6-on-5, 18:51. Shots: Notre Dame 6, Merrimack 14. Penalties: Notre Dame 1-2, Merrimack 2-4.


No scoring. Shots: Notre Dame 1, Merrimack 1. Penalties: none.

Merrimack011 0 - 2
Notre Dame110 0 - 2

Shots: Notre Dame 32, Merrimack 27. Saves: (ND) Steven Summerhays 25, (M) Rasmus Tirronen 30.. Powerplays: Notre Dame 1-6, Merrimack 0-2. Penalties: Notre Dame 3-6, Merrimack 6-12. Records: Notre Dame 8-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 Hockey East; Merrimack 3-6-1, 0-3-1. Attendance: 4,862.

Referees: Tim Benedetto, Shaun Davis. Linesmen: Jeremy Lewis, Bob Bernard.