Rallies come up short for Notre Dame hockey

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Notre Dame came back from a goal down three times Saturday night but couldn't do it a fourth.

Despite tying the West Regional semifinal at Xcel Energy Center three times and outshooting St. Cloud State by a 3-to-1 clip in regulation, the Irish couldn't get that all-important next goal.

Hobey Baker finalist Nic Dowd scored late in overtime to give St. Cloud State a 4-3 victory.

For the second straight season, St. Cloud ended Notre Dame's season in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. For 11 Irish seniors, it was a difficult finale to a career that began with a trip to the Frozen Four as freshmen in 2011, but never saw them return.

Seniors Bryan Rust and Kevin Lind scored goals for second seed Notre Dame, which finished 23-15-2. The third-seeded Huskies move on to a Sunday night regional final against top seed Minnesota, which handled Robert Morris, 7-3, in the first game of the night.

After struggling for much of the game to get pucks on Irish goalie Steven Summehays, the Huskies (22-10-5) peppered the Notre Dame senior with nine shots in the first five minutes of overtime. Summehays made 15 saves in overtime, six more than he had in all of regulation.

At the 10:00 mark of OT, St. Cloud goaltender Ryan Faragher sprawled to stop a Vince Hinostroza breakaway attempt with his right pad, then later sprinted out of his crease to stick away another potential Irish breakaway.

The game appeared to be headed toward a second overtime, but Dowd ripped a shot over Summerhays' left shoulder for the game-winner with 2:39 to go.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson juggled his lines, moving left wing Sam Herr to right wing for added scoring punch alongside Mario Lucia and Vince Hinostroza, and sliding DiPauli into Herr's spot on the left side with leading scorer T.J. Tynan and Rust to form a speedy No. 1 line.

The intent was to be faster through the neutral zone, but the Irish struggled early at handling the puck behind their own net.

After St. Cloud took a 1-0 lead 6:54 into the game on a goal from Ryan Papa, that top line for Notre Dame responded. The Irish worked a cycle in the left corner, with Andy Ryan eventually feeding a pass to Rust in the left circle, where he fired a wrist shot past Faragher to tie it at 10:30 in the first period.

Tynan picked up an assist on the play, giving him 161 for his career, tied for 12th all-time at Notre Dame with Kirt Bjork.

Defensive zone turnovers bit the Irish for a second time in the opening period when Stephen Johns lost control of the puck behind the ND net. It eventually found the stick of Brooks Bertsch between the circles and Bertsch snapped it by Summerhays with 35 seconds left in the first.

The Irish tied the game again on a Lind goal 8:18 through the second period, and the Irish poured on the offensive pressure, outshooting the Huskies, 18-4, in the frame. But after a long stretch without seeing a single puck come his way, Summerhays failed to glove a Jonny Brodzinski shot from the left circle, which gave the lead back to St. Cloud with 24.5 seconds left in the period.

DiPauli did the honors for the Irish the next time, tying the game again by threading a shot through Faragher's pads with 10:25 to play. The Huskies did not record their first shot on goal in the third period until there was 3:37 left.

St. Cloud State Ryan Papa scores against Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays during the first period of Saturday's West Regional semifinal in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)