Notre Dame rode their four-game undefeated season into Amsoil Arena, the best start under current head coach Jeff Jackson, and barely squeezed it to five games. A Three goal third period gave Notre Dame just enough scoring to outlast the Bulldogs, who only found the net twice.
Notre Dame's Jeff Costello lit the lamp first, midway through the second period which began the shift of momentum towards the Fighting Irish, but UMD's Cal Decowski scored the equalizer just minutes later to keep the Irish on the ground.
As Justin Crandall was called for tripping, Mario Lucia was able to convert on Notre Dame's man advantage, giving them the one goal lead, and more importantly, shifting the momentum to the Irish. Peter Schneider added another score for the Notre Dame with just over two minutes left in the second, allowing them to skate into the lockerroom up two goals with one period remaining.
The Bulldogs looked 100% different in the third period, as they came out flying and hungry to score. All hell broke loose at 5:34 when Bulldog captain Adam Krause was pushed into Notre Dame's goalie, Steven Summerhays, who retaliated instantly, putting Krause into some sort of WWE hold. After minutes of discussion, Summerhays was issued a facemasking penalty and a game misconduct, while Krause and ND's Andy Ryan found themselves with matching roughing calls. This put freshman goaltender Chad Katunar between the pipes for the Irish for his first time as a collegiate athlete. If the situation wasn't stressful enough, T.J. Tynan took a hooking penalty just seconds later to give the Buldogs a 5x3 powerplay against the rookie goaltender.
Andy Welinski blew one by Katunar while up two men, but the Bulldogs failed to convert for the remaining of the penalty and game, finalizing the score at 3-2.
Aaron Crandall played the very well for the Bulldogs, especially against a Notre Dame team who loves to pepper goalies and hunt for rebounds. He stood out most when killing Caleb Herbert's major in the first period for spearing.
Lasting thought here - Take UMD's 2nd period intensity and replace it with the 3rd period's will to win, and this game would have seen a different outcome. There is no doubt that this Notre Dame team is playing the best hockey in all of college hockey, which is why I voted for them first in SBN College Hockey's Power Rankings last week, but seeing it live blew me away.
2nd Period - ND (10:09) Jeff Costello from Robbie Russo and T.J. Tynan
2nd Period - UMD (12:44) Cal Decowski from Adam Krause and Charlie Sampair
2nd Period - ND (14:38) Mario Lucia from Robbie Russo and T.J. Tynan
2nd Period - ND (17:59) Peter Schneider from Sam Herr and Vince Hinostroza
3rd Period - UMD (7:02) Andy Welinski from Austin Farley and Carson Soucy
- 18 NHL prospects took to the ice on Friday night.
- Notre Dame outshot Minnesota Duluth, 28-21.
- Six different Bulldogs scored points in the loss.
- The Fighting Irish won 37 faceoffs, or 59% of the total draws throughout the night.
- UMD's Charlie Sampair scored his first point of the season.
- Judging from last weekend, both teams have shown to produce stronger Saturday night hockey (ND 7-3 over Michigan Tech and UMD 5-1 over Colorado College).
- Notre Dame has yet to trail in a single hockey game this season.
- Attendance: 6,353.
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Matt Christians covers Minnesota Duluth and the NCHC for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also give him a follow on Twitter -> Follow @matt_christians