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Irish penalties lead to home loss

No. 10 Notre Dame filled up the wrong side of the scorecard during its first home game of the 2012-13 season Thursday night. The Irish (2-1) spent nearly half the night in the penalty box, which opened the door for No. 13 Minnesota-Duluth’s 3-1 victory.

Irish junior Bryan Rust scored his team's lone goal in a 3-1 home loss Thursday night.

Referees whistled Notre Dame for nine penalties (a total of 29 minutes) including five in the first period to prevent the Irish from ever developing an offensive rhythm on their home ice.

“The whole game was probably dictated by the first period,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “We took some foolish penalties. I don’t know if we were too emotional or whatever. Last week we were pretty disciplined. We took some unfortunate penatlies and that really put us on our heels.”

Junior defenseman Kevin Lind’s blindside hit on Duluth forward Caleb Herbert punctuated an opening stanza of unnecessary mistakes by the Irish. Lind sent Herbert to the ground with an open-ice hit near the blue line when the forward was looking the other direction. The resulting five-minute major and game misconduct eventually lead to the game’s first goal.

With 2.6 seconds remaining in the period, freshman Cal Decowski cashed in on the Bulldogs’ fourth powerplay chance of the night. Skating with a two-man advantage, Decowski redirected a Mike Seidel pass over the shoulder of junior goalie Steven Summerhays for the first goal of his career.

Notre Dame struggled to regain its footing in the second period, letting Minnesota-Duluth add two more goals before going on the offensive.

Senior Dan DeLisle snuck behind the defense at the end of a Bulldogs’ penalty kill to make the score 2-0 midway through the game. DeLisle came off the bench just in time to receive a pass in the neutral zone that sprung him on a breakaway. He came straight at Summerhays and flipped a wrist shot past the goalie’s stick side.

Justin Crandall followed that by stuffing home a rebound from the doorstep. Notre Dame sophomore Austin Wuthrich partially blocked a shot from the point, which pulled Summerhays out of position for the deflection that skipped right to Crandall’s stick in front of the net.

Notre Dame picked up the pressure to close out the game. They controlled the puck for the majority of the third period and took 17 of their 29 shots in the final 25 minutes of the game. Minnesota-Duluth had to defend its own net for much of that time, but managed to keep the Irish from capitalizing on their chances.

“They’re real good at getting in shot lanes,” said sophomore defenseman Robbie Russo. “The first guy is in your way and so is the second guy. That makes it tough to get pucks to the net.”

Notre Dame’s only goal of the game came on the power play from junior Bryan Rust. The winger worked a puck out from behind the net and beat Bulldogs goalie Matt McNeely with a hard shot on the ice to his glove side. Linemate T.J. Tynan was credited with an assist on the play.

The Irish will attempt to bounce back with a cleaner game Friday night to finish the two-game series. They are scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m.

“For us as coaches we have to give them a little bit more insight on why we lost the game. Penalties had a big factor in it but there are other parts of the game that we should’ve probably been better prepared for.”

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