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Notre Dame hockey sweeps Lake Superior State

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ND picked up its first two wins of the young hockey season in impressive fashion, sweeping a weekend series against visiting Lake Superior State.

Jonathan Daniel

Notre Dame's hockey team looked very good this weekend in picking up a sweep over former CCHA foe Lake Superior State. ND moved to 2-2 on the season, while the Lakers, who are still getting used to a new coach in Damon Whitten, are now 0-6.

We'll start with Friday's game, a close one that the Irish took 5-3, the clinching score an empty-netter by Steven Fogarty, his second goal of the game.

ND opened the game with several scoring opportunities, but couldn't cash any of them in. Goaltender Chad Katunar did his part, too, though, making several good early saves. The game remained scoreless for over 11 minutes before the Irish made a brilliant series of passes, which ended with a goal by Thomas DiPauli. Fogarty and Anders Bjork got well-deserved assists. Big Mario Lucia (get used to seeing his name) added a goal late in the period on a rebound, following a bullet of a shot by Robbie Russo. It was the first period of the season in which ND scored more than once. The Lakers struck back in the last second of the period, though, as Alex Globke snuck one past Katunar. ND held a 2-1 lead.

Fogarty put the Irish back up two goals early in the second period, but with 6:21 to play in the stanza, the Lakers' Bryce Smith scored what the announcers called a 'seeing-eye' goal, a perfect snipe to keep Lake Superior in it. The goal was reviewed but upheld.

Katunar made a great save early in the third period to keep the Irish ahead, somehow managing to wedge the puck between his legs on a Lakers' breakaway. ND quickly capitalized shortly thereafter, when Fogarty found Russo with a nice pass and Russo buried it. The feisty Lakers came back with another goal just a minute later, and the Irish had to hold on to a one-goal lead most of the rest of the way until Fogarty's empty-netter. It wasn't the prettiest win ever, but ND got on the board in the win column.

WatchND Friday highlights:



Saturday was a much different story, though, as the Irish basically dominated the game from the get-go. Freshman Jake Evans got his first career goal just a few minutes in, when his shot towards the net deflected off a Laker's stick and in, and Cal Petersen, who got the start in net, made a terrific save on a rebound shot to hold the score at 1-0. Justin Wade got dinged for a five-minute major for a high hit with about eight minutes left in the opening period, but ND got a break as the visitors committed three penalties of their own during that major, keeping the Irish off the penalty kill for most of those five minutes.

ND took quick advantage after the first of those penalties when Lucia poked in a rebound shot, giving his team a 2-0 lead. The Irish continued to control play through the end of the period and in the second period, as well. Lake Superior did get a goal on a nifty give-and-go by the Lakers' Mitchell Nardi and Stephen Perfetto, who scored the goal, but that was all the action in the second frame.

The Irish took complete command in the final period, beginning when Lucia grabbed a loose puck and fired a laser beam off the post, a goal color commentator Anson Carter referred to as showing big-league talent. The goal was reviewed to see if Lucia was offsides during the play, but on a close call, it was upheld.

Down 3-1 at this point, the Lakers got sloppy, and the Irish took advantage with two more goals directly off turnovers inside of a 1:14 span. The first was by Austin Wuthrich, who took a Lakers' pass right to him and fired a slapshot in for a goal. Lucia followed, earning a hat trick on a rebound goal. Vince Hinostroza's shot bounced off Lakers' keeper Kevin Aldridge and right to the junior left wing, and he flicked it in. Lucia is up to five goals on the year and looks like ND's most reliable offensive threat.

The Irish put it on cruise control from there, though Petersen's 27 saves shouldn't be overlooked. He had a sterling performance and will be a pain in the neck for ND opponents this season.

It was a great weekend for the Irish, who will continue non-conference play next weekend when Niagara visits for a two-game set. The second of those games will air on NBC Sports Network Saturday night at 7 p.m.


WatchND Saturday highlights: