Notre Dame hockey: Rust’s flurry saves Irish

STEVE LOWE
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND -- With Notre Dame’s hockey postseason hopes on life support coming into Saturday night, Bryan Rust found a way to do what the Irish couldn’t for most of the weekend.

Rust scored two goals in the final 1:08 of the game to bring Notre Dame back to life with a stunning 3-2 win over Maine at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Following a bitter 2-1 loss on Friday when a goal that would have tied the game with 26.4 seconds left was waved off after an official review, No. 18 Notre Dame again struggled to convert offensively.

But with Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays pulled for an extra attacker in a desperate search of the tying goal, Rust scored on a wrist shot from the slot to make it 2-2 with 1:08 to play.

Rust then scored the game-winner just 24 seconds later on another wrist shot from the right circle to send the Compton crowd into hysterics.

“We needed something like that to happen, big-time,” Rust said. “Being able to win in dramatic fashion gets our team’s confidence back and gets Summerhays’ confidence back, which is huge for us moving forward.”

One night after making 36 saves, Maine goaltender Martin Ouellette continued his strong play by stopping 39 of Notre Dame’s 42 shots.

“Cardiac kids,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. “We’ll take it, though.”

With their tournament life potentially on the line, the Irish came into this one needing every win they can manage over their final six games, which include two at No. 8 Providence and one at No. 2 Boston College.

They picked up an important one Saturday night, snapping a three-game losing streak to improve to 16-12-1 and 5-9-1 in Hockey East. T.J. Tynan added a goal and an assist for the Irish and Shayne Taker had two assists.

“I said last night that if that goal had been allowed, maybe that would be a turning point for us, and maybe tonight was,” Jackson said. “That’s what I have to hope. They didn’t quit, they kept on coming.”

With Friday’s disallowed goal still fresh in the minds of the Compton faithful, Notre Dame’s Sam Herr had a shot early in the first period slip through Ouellette, but the whistle had already been blown, stopping the play and triggering a cascade of boos.

Cam Brown’s first period wrap-around try gave Maine a 1-0 lead when the puck hit Summerhays in the arm and dropped behind him. Tynan had an answer on the power play for Notre Dame five minutes later when he one-timed a Mario Lucia pass over Ouellette’s glove to make it 1-1.

Notre Dame’s first two penalties of the game came within 35 seconds of each other in the second period, the second of which was a 5-minute major for cross checking on captain Jeff Costello. The Black Bears quickly converted the 5-on-3 power play and regained the lead when defenseman Ben Hutton scored on a sharp angle from the right circle for his 10th goal of the season, the most in the country by a defenseman.

The Irish had good looks midway through the third period, including a point blank shot by Steven Fogarty from below the left circle, but Ouellette stuffed each attempt until Rust came alive for the final flurry late in the game.

“We finally clicked there in those last two minutes,” said Irish defenseman Stephen Johns. “Hopefully we don’t have to wait that long next weekend.”

At Compton Family Ice Arena

FIRST PERIOD

UM - Cam Brown, 4 (Jake Rutt, Josh Henke) 8:24; ND - T.J. Tynan, 7 (Mario Lucia, Vince Hinostroza) PP, 13:44. Shots on goal: ND 15, UM 7; Penalties: UM 3-6, ND 0-0.

SECOND PERIOD

UM - Ben Hutton, 10 (Devin Shore, Brice O’Connor) PP, 11:41. Shots: ND 13, UM 8; Penalties: ND 2-7, UM 3-6.

THIRD PERIOD

ND - Bryan Rust, 10 (Shayne Taker, Tynan) 18:52; ND - Rust, 11 (Stephen Johns, Taker) 19:16. Shots: ND 14, UM 7; Penalties: None.

UM110 - 2
ND102 - 3

Shots: ND 42, UM 22; Saves: UM 39 (Martin Ouellette), ND 20 (Steven Summerhays); Power plays: ND 1-6, UM 1-2; Penalties: UM 6-12, ND 2-7; Records: ND 16-12-1 (5-9-1 Hockey East), UM 13-10-3, 7-5-2); Attendance: 4,770.