Irish goalie Steven Summerhays shut out Michigan State for 57 minutes Saturday night en route to a well-balanced 5-1 win for No. 5 Notre Dame.
Irish captain Anders Lee scored Notre Dame's first goal in a 5-1 home win Saturday night.
Summerhays stopped 29 shots and held the line early for his team before they opened the floodgates on the opposite end. Whatever home woes ailed the Irish at the start of the season have disappeared in December. Saturday’s decision gave Notre Dame’s its fifth straight victory at Compton Family Ice Arena and its seventh win in its last eight games overall.
“We’re playing better hockey. We’re putting a lot of pressure on the other team’s defense,” junior captain Anders Lee said. “If we keep playing like this especially at home things are going to go well.”
Lee got Notre Dame started with a momentum-swinging goal eight seconds before the first intermission. Junior Bryan Rust spotted the center all alone at the mouth of goal and Lee tapped in his 11th goal of the season, which ties him for second in the nation.
The goal breathed some life into what was an otherwise listless first period for both sides. A steady stream of penalties zapped any offensive flow from the Irish in the early going. Notre Dame went 12 minutes without firing a shot on net before Rust found Lee in the closing seconds.
“There was not much going on. It was very lackluster almost, pretty quiet. That [goal] got us going a little bit and gave us a little boost going into the locker room,” Lee said.
Junior Mike Voran scored on a one-timer from Sam Calabrese midway through the second period to fuel an offensive surge that is becoming par for the course for Notre Dame this month. Freshman Stephan Fogarty followed moments later with a five-hole goal and David Gerths and freshman Thomas DiPauli added two more in the third period.
All four lines scored for an Irish team that has at least for the moment found the type of chemistry they need to stay on top of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
“The years that we’ve had success here it’s because we’ve had depth,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “That’s really important because there are nights when T.J. Tynan isn’t going to score and there are nights when Anders Lee isn’t going to score.”
The game was well in-hand by the time Michigan State’s Matt Berry took advantage of a defensive zone flub and stuffed a goal past Summerhays with less than three minutes left on the clock. Berry’s goal broke up the junior’s bid for his third shutout of the season and left him slamming his stick on the ice in frustration.
“It’s more that I just pride myself on this year not giving up goals in the third and that was the frustrating part we don’t want to get into bad habits,” he said.
Notre Dame climbed into first place in the CCHA with the help of a Miami 1-0 loss to Lake Superior State. The Irish have one game remaining in first half of the season against Bowling Green next Saturday. They will practice only twice next week while completing final exams before traveling to Ohio to close out the semester.