BOSTON, MASS. — While the Notre Dame football team was across town to play Boston College, it was the last thing on the minds of the Notre Dame (0-4-1) hockey team. as the Irish came out trying to get their first win of the season against the Huskies of Northeastern (2-2-1).
Both teams were in action the previous evening with Notre Dame losing at Boston College 4-1 and Northeastern picking up a 2-2 tie at UNH. Two physical games seemed to leave these teams tired at the start of their contest.
The Huskies found themselves starting the first period on the power play. Despite several good chances they were unable to score. Passes seemed errant in the opening minutes and the Huskies were unable to develop any sort of flow while Notre Dame’s penalty killing unit did an ample job of shutting down Northeastern.
Rob Globke received a pass after exiting the penalty box and pushed the puck down ice finding Neil Komadoski. The ensuing Irishmen were unable to capitalize on the breakaway effort. Matching penalties, however, found the teams skating even again.
Penalties from Northeastern’s Eric Ortlip (holding) and Notre Dame’s Komadoski (charging) opened up the ice and allowed the Irish to get on the board. A feed from Aaron Gill allowed a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle by John Wroblewski that caught the inside of the post and caromed in at 4:59.
After ten minutes of back-and-fourth play, freshman Jaron Herriman was able to catch the Notre Dame defense sleeping. He connected with Mike Ryan on a two-on-one that Ryan lifted over Irish goaltender Tony Zasowski as he skated past the crease at 14:55.
The Huskies once again found themselves on the advantage at 17:30 with Joe Zurenko in the box after being called for slashing Joe Mastronardi. Mastronardi was all alone after on a steal in the Notre Dame zone. Zurenko, struggling to get back, picked up the minor. The penalty came at the right time for Notre Dame as Mastronardi was going in alone on Zasowski.
Despite the “good” penalty by Notre Dame, Northeastern was able to capitalize on this chance, as Ryan found the back of the net for the second time of the night at 17:43. With a wrist shot, top shelf, from the bottom of the faceoff circle on the left side of Zasowski, the Huskies were now up 2-1 with the power-play goal. Jason Guerriero and Willie Levesque set up Ryan after a series of crisp passes, eluding the Notre Dame defense.
As in the first, Northeastern began the second period on the power play with Evan Nielsen of Notre Dame in the box for slashing. A major positive for Notre Dame was the strong goal tending by Zasowski during this chance for NU. The goaltender stood strong despite Northeastern getting several quality chances. Notre Dame’s defense seemed tired and at times gave the Northeastern attackers extra chances on Zasowski.
Immediately following the Northeastern power play, a breakdown in the neutral zone allowed Notre Dame to tie the game a two apiece. At 5:13, Jon Maruk found Northeastern goaltender Jason Braun on his knees after a bid by Connor Dunlop, and was able to lift the puck top shelf as he came across the slot for his first collegiate goal.
“The guys did a nice job out there for me tonight,” said Northeastern goaltender Jason Braun. “Starting four freshmen out there is sometimes tough. When it comes to communication, we have been lucky and haven’t had these kinds of breakdowns.
“This is my last go at it being my senior year so I want to go out there and play strong every chance I can because I know that I don’t have many left.”
Northeastern’s Guerriero led a charge after clearing the defensive zone that found Ryan breaking out on the right wing. Ryan was then able to feed a sprinting Tim Judy as he skated past the right faceoff circle getting off a wrist shot. While Judy’s first chance failed he was able to pick up the rebound and put it in for his first collegiate goal at 8:06.
“They are a quick team and they do a real nice job of throwing the puck on net,” commented Notre Dame goaltender Tony Zasowski of the Huskies’ play. “The CCHA is hard hitting and coming in two these two games against Hockey East squads it was a much faster game and that was expected.”
While Notre Dame had several strong scoring opportunities in the period, passing seemed to be a major issue for the Irishmen. Many times passes missed the tape and Northeastern defenders were able to poke the puck away. The poor passing also lead to Northeastern breaking out of zone with the man advantage on more than one occasion. Despite chances by both teams in the second, the scoring would end in the second at 3-2 in favor of Northeastern.
“I think we played well. Things aren’t coming easy for us right now. We make a mistake and the puck ends up in the net and that’s what happened for us tonight,” said Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin.
If you guessed that the third period began with Northeastern on the power play, you guessed right. At the end of the second Komadoski was in the box for tripping. The Huskies were unable to find nylon but were strong in Notre Dame’s zone. Notre Dame’s penalty killing unit once again rose to the challenge, as did Zasowski in net in stopping the chance.
“Its tough when you are killing of ten power plays,” said Poulin. “Those same guys are on the power play and it’s tough when that unit is out there on the defensive for almost 20 minutes of a game.”
What seemed to be automatic for Northeastern’s Jason Guerriero was stealing the puck. On five separate occasions, Guerriero ended up with the puck while on the forecheck frustrating Notre Dame defenders. The freshman’s quickness is a major bright spot for the young Northeastern Squad.
“Guy’s like [Jason] Guerriero, you just have to let them play,” said Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder, “let them show their natural talent. He sees the ice exceptionally well.”
The majority of the third period saw the two squads exchanging chances with Northeastern holding the balance of the opportunities. Several power play chances for Northeastern kept Notre Dame on its heels in spurts but all of the chances were unsuccessful. Notre Dame was the one who was able the to hit pay dirt on the Northeastern man-advantage.
Notre Dame scored shorthanded at 16:07 when Brad Wanchulak caught a pass on the breakaway of Connor Dunlop. Dunlop was unable to beat Huskies defenseman Jim Fahey, but found a breaking Wanchulak who was able to beat Braun on his glove side with a wrist shot. That was where scoring would end, tied at 3-3.
The goalies decided this game, Braun making 19 saves for the Huskies and Zasowski stopping 29 for the Irish.
“I like the way that Tony [Zasowski] played tonight. He has played a lot of hockey and did a great job for us tonight,” said Poulin.
“Jason [Braun] has been doing all the things that we have wanted him to do, challenging shooters, move the puck well and he displayed that again for us tonight,” said Crowder.
In overtime, matching penalties on Northeastern’s Chris Lynch (holding) and Notre Dame’s Tom Galvin (roughing) at 2:03 opened up the ice for both squads. The open ice led to several breakout plays by both teams, but both failed to find the back of the net.
After stealing another pass in the Notre Dame zone, Guerriero shot and hit the cross bar, sending the puck straight up, off the ceiling, and into the seats. This was the last chance that either team saw in the game.
Of note, Brian Sullivan will be available for the Huskies against Boston University Nov. 2. This was also Mike Ryan’s second two-goal game against Notre Dame, the other occurring on October 21 of last year.