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November 4, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Salvaging a split started with keeping hold of the puck more often than not.
Twice in its 4-0 win over No. 11 Western Michigan on Sunday the Notre Dame hockey team held its opponent without a single shot on goal for more than 10 minutes. Goalie Steven Summerhays faced just 14 shots all night.
Along the way No. 8 Notre Dame scored once on the power play, twice at even strength and one into an empty net to improve its record to 6-2-0 overall and 3-1-0-0 in league play.
“Everybody likes to talk about the defense but I think a lot of it had to do with puck possession,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “That’s where people get confused when you have a great defensive team like the teams I’ve had in the past. Everybody wants to say you play a defensive style.
“That’s not true if you possess the puck. That’s the best way to limit the opponent to opportunities.”
Notre Dame opened the game with one of those stretches without letting Western Michigan test Summerhays. The Broncos didn’t get a shot on goal until some power play time after the 11-minute mark when Jeff Costello went into the penalty box for holding.
Along the way, center Steven Fogarty scored a power-play goal. His third tally of the season came 2:46 into the period. The Irish capitalized on one of three chances with a man advantage.
Building on that 1-0 lead started just over a minute into the second period as Anders Lee scored the first of his two goals. Winger Bryan Rust skated around the back of the net, threw the puck toward the net and it found an open Lee.
Lee added an empty netter with an assist from Summerhays at 18:55 of the third period for his fifth goal of the season, which leads the team.
“I got real luck tonight,” Lee said. “Definitely, the empty-netters, they help the team out but you don’t always want to be the one always getting them. It’s fun. Great team win.”
Between goals from the captain the Irish again flexed their muscle in the puck possession game and added another goal. Jeff Costello scored his second of the season at 4:11 of the second. Rust picked up his second assist as a result.
Moving into the third period, Western Michigan went without a shot on goal for something in the neighborhood of 15 minutes. Summerhays faced just four shots total in the final 20 minutes en route to his second shutout of the season.
Notre Dame now sits atop the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings before heading out of conference for a matchup at top-ranked Boston College on Friday.
Rival Michigan awaits in a road series in two weeks.
“Every win is important, especially in the conference,” Jackson said. “But it’s a big stretch for us here. Going on the road for the next three in very tough venues is going to be a challenge so making sure we took care of business at home was, I think, extremely important.”
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