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October 12, 2013

Irish open with shutout win

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Things could hardly have gone better for the Notre Dame hockey team in its season opener.

Steven Summerhays made 22 saves in goal and four Irish different players scored en route to a 4-0 win over former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Western Michigan in front of 4, 879 fans at Compton Family Ice Arena.

“It was a tight game,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was what I expected it to be. Western plays a very tough game defensively. They throw different things at you and I thought our guys handled it very well. We’re far from being where we need to be from a structural standpoint but I was very happy with the performances of a number of individuals.”

Austin Wuthrich, Vince Hinostroza, Jeff Costello and Robbie Russo accounted for goals as Notre Dame peppered Western Michigan goaltender Frank Slubowski with 32 shots total. Slubowski made 28 saves.

Wuthrich opened the scoring at 5:36 of the first period on a power play. Freshman center Vince Hinostroza played the puck from the left circle toward goal. It ricocheted off Wuthrich’s skate and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Hinostroza scored the first goal of his career at 2:13 of the third period to make it a 2-0 game and finish off a stellar college debut.

“He looked very comfortable,” Wuthrich said. “I think he’s coming into the lineup playing very confident and he’s a very skilled forward. That’s what we needed. It’s a big part of our power play so it’s nice to see him playing with that confidence and being creative out there.”

Notre Dame (1-0-0) would add to its lead at 13:04 of the third period, again on the power play. Costello redirected a shot from defenseman Shayne Taker past Slubowski to make it 3-0.

Taker finished with two assists.

Overall the Irish made the most of its nine power play chances with two goals while killing off all seven Western Michigan chances with the man advantage, marking a solid start for special teams.

“It was good,” Jackson said. “Work in progress still. The power play did a few nice things but then they were chasing a lot too. We have to do a better job of retrieving pucks and being a little bit stronger and patient with the puck sometimes on the power play. But as I said, it was the first game so there’s a lot of room for growth.”

Western Michigan (0-1-0) would test the penalty kill unit one last time late in the third period.

Mike Voran went to the penalty box for tripping at 15:17 and Kevin Lind followed him there at 15:59, giving the Broncos a 5-on-3 advantage. Head coach Andy Murray then pulled Slubowski to make it a 6-on-3 situation.

Summerhays withstood a flurry of scoring chances to clinch the seventh shutout of his career. Notre Dame finished with 21 blocked shots as well.

“It’s a tough situation to even practice because you don’t get in that situation where they pull the goalie and stuff,” Summerhays said. “Really there it’s kinda getting your breaks and having guys be able to block shots. I think we did that fantastically and they let me see the shots that did get through and we were able to get some good clears.”

Notre Dame travels to Kalamazoo, Mich., tonight to finish the two-game series. Puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. Eastern Time.

 


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