Notre Dame hockey: No tourney title for Irish

SBT Correspondent

SOUTH BEND -- Stephen Johns scored two goals this weekend for Notre Dame, and was named to the All-Shillelagh Tournament team, but he wasn’t celebrating the final result Saturday night.

The 11th-ranked Irish blew a 2-0 lead to Northeastern in the Shillelagh Tournament title game as the Huskies scored twice in the third period to hand the Irish a bitter 3-2 loss at Compton Family Ice Arena.

Dalen Hedges scored the game-winning goal with 2:42 to play. After the final seconds ticked off, the Huskies raced from their bench and mobbed goaltender Clay Witt.

Notre Dame (9-6-1) has lost three of its last four games, with two more to play next weekend before a three-week layoff.

“That was a pretty demoralizing loss, and pretty embarrassing loss,” Johns said. “We’re in a little bit of a slump here and trying to turn a corner. We feel like we were playing some of the best hockey that we’ve played all year in the first period and early in the second period, and it all just disappeared.”

After jumping to a two-goal lead, the Irish couldn’t keep from jumping into the penalty box. The Irish committed 10 penalties and allowed eight power plays, the last of which cost them as Northeastern tied the game with 9:59 left, before Hedges beat Irish goalie Steven Summerhays over the glove-side for the winner.

“We had that game under control, but the penalties turned the game around, in my opinion,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson, whose lineup is still missing four injured forwards, two of whom are key contributors on the penalty kill. “We don’t have enough guys right now to kill penalties, to try to kill off eight power plays.”

After being spelled Friday night by freshman Chad Katunar, Summerhays returned to goal to makes 32 saves. Witt stopped 31 shots for Northeastern.

Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award with a goal and three assists on the weekend.

Northeastern (9-5-1) beat Western Michigan in a shootout Friday afternoon, while Notre Dame (9-6-1) beat Alabama-Hunstville, 5-2 to advance to the finals. Both finalists are members of Hockey East, and face each other again in South Bend on Jan. 24-25, but Saturday’s contest was not a league game.

Shayne Taker gave ND a 1-0 lead in the first period when his wobbler from the left point hit some traffic in front of the net, but made its way through for a power play goal, 13:34 into the game.

Tynan forced numerous short-handed chances in the second for the Irish, who finally got one to go in at the 9:02 mark of the period. Johns picked up his own rebound and threw it in to make it 2-0, seconds after Tynan and Rust nearly connected on a short-handed opportunity.

Johns almost made it a three—goal lead a minute later when he sneaked in as the trailer on an Irish breakaway, but his shot from the slot hit the left post.

“After I hit the post, we seemed like we laid back a little bit,” Johns said. “It’s not acceptable at this point.”

Northeastern responded to keep it close when Torin Snydeman scored off a Notre Dame turnover in its own zone at 12:10 of the second to make it 2-1.

“We had our chances shorthanded,” Tynan said. “I thought we were doing a great job killing off the penalties, but when you take (10 penalties)... eventually they’re going to get a break and score.”

Summerhays kept it at 2-1 as the Irish fought off back-to-back power plays, including over 40 seconds of a Northeastern 5-on-3. Summerhays made two sliding left pad saves to stone the Huskies’ best scoring chances as Northeastern outshot the Irish 10-0 from that point to end the second period.

But Notre Dame couldn’t stay out of the penalty box as Austin Wuthrich was whistled for his third of the game, and on the Huskies’ eighth power play, Pimm finally converted in the third period to tie the game at 2-2 with 10 minutes to play.

“We’re basically going with four or five guys right now up front (on the penalty kill),” Jackson said. “They do get wore down, and they end up giving the puck away.”

Joining Tynan on the All-Tournament team from Notre Dame were Robbie Russo (D), Johns (D), Bryan Rust (F), and Northeastern’s Braden Pimm (F) and Witt (G).

At Compton Family Ice Arena

NU012 - 3
ND110 - 2


ND - Shayne Taker, 4 (Bryan Rust, T.J. Tynan) PP, 13:34. Shots on goal: NU 10, ND 9; Penalties: NU 5-10, ND 4-8.


ND - Stephen Johns, 4 (unassisted) SH, 9:02; NU - Torin Snydema, 5 (Adam Reid) 12:10. Shots: ND 14, NU 14; Penalties: ND 4-8, NU 0-0.


NU - Braden Pimm, 7 (Kevin Roy) PP, 10:01; NU - Dalen Hedges, 5 (Pimm, Roy) 17:18. Shots: NU 11, ND 10; Penalties: ND 2-4, NU 1-2.

Shots: NU 35, ND 33; Saves: ND 32 (Steven Summerhays), NU 31 (Clay Witt); Power plays: ND 1-4, NU 1-8; Penalties: ND 10-20, NU 6-12; Records: ND 9-6-1, NU 9-5-1; Attendance: 4,416.