Notre Dame hockey's top line delivers in win over UMass
SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s top forward line has been coming on of late, and Friday night was no different.
After being reunited in recent weeks, the senior trio of center Steven Fogarty, left wing Mario Lucia and right wing Sam Herr continued their strong play. One week after Herr came up with the game-winning goal in the third period against Western Michigan last Saturday, Fogarty scored his fifth goal of the season Friday night as No. 20 Notre Dame took control early in a 3-1 win over Massachusetts at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
“I thought that was the best I’ve seen them play,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said of his top line. “I thought they played pretty well last Saturday when we put them back together, but I thought they had some good scoring chances (Friday), and that’s encouraging.”
Goaltender Cal Petersen stopped 27 of 28 UMass shots and Jordan Gross had two assists for the Irish (7-4-4, 4-1-2 Hockey East), who are now tied for second place in Hockey East with Boston College at 10 points each.
UMass (6-6-4, 2-3-4) lost its third game in a row and is winless in its last seven.
Notre Dame dominated the first period, getting goals from Fogarty and Dawson Cook to take a 2-0 lead, just over six minutes into the game. The Irish outshot the Minutemen, 12-4, and possessed the puck for long stretches of the opening 20 minutes.
“I thought we did really well,” Fogarty said. “We’re at our best when we’re cycling in the O-zone, and I think we did a good job of that.”
Cook’s goal was a mirror image of his first of the season scored in Notre Dame’s last game, a 3-1 win over Western Michigan last Saturday. Joe Wegwerth forced the action with a wraparound pass from behind the UMass net to the waiting stick of Cook in the slot, where he fired it in.
“I really like how Dawson Cook’s line is playing right now,” Jackson said. “They’re doing a really good job in the offensive zone.”
It was another strong showing for ND’s fourth line of Ben Ostlie, Wegwerth and Cook, who nearly got a second goal moments later when his redirection of a point shot went just wide of the net.
“They’ve been one of our best lines the last two weekends,” Fogarty said. “We’ve been stressing the O-zone grind time, and they did it to a tee the past two weekends, and they had two identical goals.”
Thomas DiPauli made it 3-0 in the second period when he backhanded a waffler around a Connor Hurley screen for his team-best seventh goal of the season. Petersen had to work a little harder in the second, but still stopped all 15 UMass shots he saw.
The Minutemen finally broke through, four minutes into the third period on Shane Walsh’s 10th goal of the season, which ties him for fourth most in the country.
But that would be all the Minutemen could muster against a focused Irish defense.
“That’s been a huge focal point for us,” Fogarty said. “You can trick yourself out mentally if you keep saying, ‘Oh, we can’t give up this lead,’ and sort of sit back and play not to lose. Tonight, we weathered the storm in the second there and did a good job.”
ND - Steven Fogarty, 5 (Mario Lucia, Andy Ryan) 3:38; ND - Dawson Cook, 2 (Joe Wegwerth, Jordan Gross) 6:02. Shots on goal: ND 12, UM 4; Penalties: ND 1-2, UM 0-0.
ND - Thomas DiPauli, 7 (Anders Bjork, Gross) 15:53. Shots: UM 15, ND 11; Penalties: ND 1-2, UM 0-0.
UM - Shane Walsh, 10 (William Lagesson, Ben Gallacher) 4:01. Shots: UM 9, ND 7; Penalties: UM 2-4, ND 1-2.
UMass 0 0 1 - 1
ND 2 1 0 - 3
Shots: ND 30, UM 28; Saves: ND 27 (Cal Petersen), UM 27 (Nic Renyard); Power plays: UM 0-3, ND 0-2; Penalties: ND 3-6, UM 2-4; Attendance: 4,842.