Penalties ruin ND bid against Harvard

Steve Lowe Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Mario Lucia helped Notre Dame get off to a strong start Friday night, but the Irish simply couldn't stay out of the penalty box.

Kyle Criscuolo scored twice for No. 8 Harvard, which used three power play goals to earn a 4-1 win over the Irish in the first round of the Shillelagh Tournament at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

No. 18 Notre Dame dressed seven defensemen to help slow the speedy Crimson offense, but the strategy mattered little as the Irish were whistled for nine penalties, leading to eight Crimson power plays.

"We can't expect to win when we're taking nine penalties, no matter who we're playing," Lucia said. "Especially with a (Harvard) power play that's thirty percent. You're going to lose pretty much every time."

Goaltender Merrick Madsen stopped 29 of 30 Notre Dame shots for Harvard (5-1-1), which faces RPI at 4:05 today in the Shillelagh championship game. Notre Dame (5-4-4) will follow at 7:35 with a consolation matchup against the defending champions of the Shillelagh Tournament, Western Michigan (4-7-1), which lost 4-1 to the Engineers in Friday's first game.

"I thought we were relentless trying to use our speed to get to pucks first," said Harvard coach Ted Donato. "We were able to get some power plays because of it, and our power play was the difference."

Notre Dame's four shots on goal in the second period matched the number of penalties the Irish were whistled for, and the last two of the period cost them.

Dennis Gilbert and Andrew Oglevie went to the box on the same play for ND, and Criscuolo cashed in twice, first on the 5-on-3 advantage, and again 43 seconds later to give the Crimson a 3-1 lead.

"That was probably the turning point," Irish coach Jeff Jackson said.

Lucia put the Irish up 1-0 with his first goal since the second game of the season back on Oct. 17 at Penn State. Bobby Nardella slid a pass to Lucia, who one-timed it from just above the top of the right wing circle for a power play tally, 10:30 into the game.

Nardella had a rough moment in the first period as well, whiffing on a clearing pass in front of Irish goaltender Cal Petersen. Harvard's Lewis Zerter-Gossage grabbed the loose puck and fired it past Petersen for his first collegiate goal with five minutes left in the first period.

"That was an unfortunate play," Jackson said. "Both the goals at the end of the first (period) and end of the second period changed the momentum of the game."

The score remained tied until late in the second when Gilbert and Olglevie were sent off at the same time, and the Harvard power play came to life behind Criscuolo.

"Some of the penalties were pretty marginal," Lucia said. "To give them nine penalties is kind of absurd, especially when we had two (through the first two periods)."

Irish goaltender Chad Katunar entered the game with 6:03 to play for his first game action of the season.

Notre Dame hasn't won the Shillelagh Tournament since 2010 when it was held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The tournament was not held in 2012 as work on the Compton Family Ice Arena was still in progress.

FIRST PERIOD

ND - Mario Lucia, 3 (Bobby Nardella, Jake Evans) PP, 10:30; HU - Lewis Zerter-Gossage, 1 (unassisted) 15:08. Shots on goal: ND 10, HU 8; Penalties: ND 3-6, HU 1-2.

SECOND PERIOD

HU - Kyle Crisuolo, 4 (Alexander Kerfoot, Victor Newell) PP, 18:44; HU - Criscuolo, 5 (Kerfoot, Jimmy Vesey). Shots: HU 8, ND 4; Penalties: ND 4-8, HU 1-2.

THIRD PERIOD

HU - Vesey (Kerfoot, Newell) PP, 5:03. Shots: ND 16, HU 10; Penalties: HU 3-6, ND 2-4.

HU 1 2 1 - 4

ND 1 0 0 - 1

Shots: ND 30, HU 26; Saves: HU 29 (Merrick Madsen), ND 22 (Cal Petersen 19, CHad Katunar 3); Power plays: HU 3-8, ND 1-5; Penalties: ND 9-18, HU 5-10; Attendance: 5,379.