Jan. 11, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. -- - A second-period power-play goal stood as the lone marker of the game, as No. 2 Notre Dame earned a 1-0 victory over homestanding Michigan State on Friday night in East Lansing. A tight, physical affair was what the 6,120 fans in attendance were treated to at Munn Arena, in addition to a pair of impressive goaltending displays from both Notre Dame Steven Summerhays (30 saves) as well as Spartan netminder Jake Hildebrand (32 saves)."
"I was extremely pleased with our effort tonight," said head coach Tom Anastos, who had been vocally displeased with his team's performance last Saturday at Ferris State. "I thought we competed hard, and generated chances - but [Summerhays] is an excellent goalie, and came up with big save after save. We're competing against one of the top defenses in the country, and our keys were to get into the game, be engaged physically, get pucks to the net. We did those things, and we have to compete at that level to have success. I thought we were pretty good five-on-five, and in the end, one power play goal wins the game. Obviously we don't like the result, but there are lots of positives from an effort standpoint "
The Spartans came out with an infectious energy, got into the game early with some big hits, and generated some good chances in front. The Irish had their chances as well, which included a prolonged two-minute span where they controlled the puck in the offensive zone for nearly two minutes. However, both netminders - who are among the league's and nation's best in most goaltending statistical categories - did a nice job of limiting second chances and kept the teams off the board through the first period and well into the second.
The Spartans were dealt a blow at the 15 minute mark of the opening frame, as Brent Darnell was sent off for a five-minute major (and ensuing 10 minute game misconduct penalty), but the Irish took a pair of penalties that limited Notre Dame's man advantage in the end to just a little over two minutes at the end of the period. Darnell's penalty was not a game disqualification, keeping him eligible to return to the MSU lineup on Saturday.
It took nearly 30 minutes for the first goal of the game to come. Skating on the power play, Robbie Russo received a pass in the high slot from Sam Calabrese, and Russo's wrister from inside the blue line beat a screened Hildebrand high glove-side for the blueliner's fifth goal of the season. TJ Tynan was also awarded an assist on the play.
The Spartans continued to push the Irish to the limit, and combined sound positioning and disruptive defense with an aggressive mindset in the offensive zone that gave them several chances at generating an equalizer. Late in the second, a big rebound left for Justin Hoomaian sailed just wide, and with just over two minutes remaining in the period, Matt Berry drove to the net, tried to split two defenders, and drew a late power play for MSU. Summerhays and the Irish stood strong, clinging to a 1-0 lead at the second intermission.
Both teams had close calls in the third period - at 11:15, Stephen Johns' blast from the point clanged off the left post, while Spartan winger Chris Forfar had a good look from the left side that ricocheted off the crossbar. With 1:15 remaining in regulation, Hildebrand headed to the bench in favor of an extra skater, but Summerhays came up with a pair of saves on both Matt DeBlouw and Berry to preserve the 1-0 victory.
The teams will face off for the fourth time this season on Saturday at 7: 05 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena