NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior goaltender Steven Summerhays got the 2013-14 season off to a fast start as he stopped all 22 shots he faced to blank Western Michigan, 4-0, in front of 4,879 at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday night.
Junior Austin Wuthrich and freshman Vince Hinostroza each had a goal and an assist while senior captain Jeff Costello added a power-play goal and junior blueliner Robbie Russo an empty net short-handed goal to provide the offense.
The game was the first for Notre Dame against the former CCHA rivals of the Irish as both teams now play in two leagues. Notre Dame is in Hockey East while the Broncos are in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The win gives the Irish a 1-0 mark while the Broncos are 0-1 on the season. The two teams will meet in Kalamazoo, Mich., at 7:05 p.m., at Lawson Arena on the Western Michigan campus.
"It was a tight game; it was what I expected it to be," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"Western plays a very tough game defensively. They throw a few different things at you. I thought our guys handled it very well. We are far from being where we need to be from a structural standpoint. I was really happy with the performances of a number of individuals."
Wuthrich got the season off to a fast start as he got the season's first goal at 5:16 of the first period when he deflected a shot by Hinostroza past Bronco goaltender Frank Slubowski on the power play. ATI Physical Therapy
Senior defenseman Shayne Taker, who had a pair of assists on the night, moved the puck from the blue line to the 5-9 center at the left circle. His pass towards the right post deflected off Wuthrich's skate as he was battling for position in front, past Slubowski for the 1-0 lead.
"It was good to get the first one out of the way. I got a lucky bounce," said Wuthrich.
"Vinnie (Hinostroza) had the puck on the half wall and moved it towards the middle. I think he was trying to hit Jeff Costello on the back door but it hit my skate. I turned around and it was in the net."
From there, Slubowski held the Irish at bay while Summerhays and his defense clamped down on the Broncos, limiting them to 12 shots through the first two periods. Lots of the credit goes to the Notre Dame defense that blocked 21 shots on the night.
The Irish offense finally got things going in the third period as they would score three times.
Hinostroza got his first collegiate goal at 2:13 of the final stanza when he one- timed a pass from defenseman Eric Johnson from the left circle past Slubowski.
The Irish, who were 2-for-9 on the power play, connected for the second time at 13:04 of the third when Costello notched his first of the year, deflecting a Taker shot from the center point past Slubowski for the 3-0 advantage.
With time running out in the final period and Summerhays nursing the shutout, Notre Dame found itself with two men in the penalty box, giving Western Michigan a 5-on-3 power play for 1:18. Bronco head coach Andy Murray pulled Slubowski to give his team a 6-on-3, but the Irish defense held off the three-man advantage, scoring a short-handed goal to seal the win, 4-0.
"We have barely had a chance to practice our 5-on-3 penalty killing," said Jackson.
"That's where having veteran players who have done it before helps. They were committed to blocking shots. I was very happy for (Steven) Summerhays to get the shutout because he made some great saves early when we needed them.
Defenseman Robbie Russo blocked a Western Michigan shot between the hashmarks in front of Summerhays and fired it into the open net to close the scoring.
"I thought we had an awesome start tonight," said Summerhays.
"We played really well defensively and to see that effort the entire game on the penalty kill was outstanding. We did a great job blocking shots, especially on the 6-on-3. They let me see the shots that did get through and we had some good clears."
On the night, Notre Dame out shot the Broncos by a 32-22 margin. Slubowski finished the game with 28 saves.
"I thought we did a lot of little things well tonight" said Jackson.
"I don't think you can win if you aren't willing to pay the price. Blocking shots, taking hits, getting to the net, playing physical. That's some of the things you have to do all the time."