Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame will play on this postseason after playing on all last weekend.
After losing the opener of their Hockey East first round series to Massachusetts on Friday night in five overtimes, the Irish staved off elimination Saturday and then advanced to the conference quarterfinals on Sunday with a 7-0 rout at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Goalie Cal Petersen made 23 saves in his fourth shutout of the season while Thomas DiPauli scored two goals. Peter Schneider added three assists. Vince Hinostroza and Andy Ryan each had two assists.
“It’s a test of their character,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “Because it wasn’t just the length of the game but losing the game is deflating. For them to come back and do what they did (Saturday) and then come back again (Sunday) and win it in three shows a lot of guts. We’ve got a lot of guys that are tired and dinged up. It’s a positive for us that we could take advantage.”
No. 4 seed Massachusetts-Lowell awaits this weekend in a best-of-three quarterfinal road series. Notre Dame is 0-4-1 all time against Lowell, including a 3-1 loss and 2-2 tie at home earlier this season.
Lowell (18-10-6) received a first round bye after finishing top four in the conference standings.
“You can’t think of how many times they’ve beat us or their systems,” DiPauli said. “Last year they did well with their systems and their goaltending was good. But I think we’re ready for them. We played well against them this year and everybody is scoring right now. Everybody is contributing in big ways.”
Notre Dame (17-17-5) moved on thanks to a thorough performance against Massachusetts, which finished 11-23-2.
DiPauli scored the first of his two goals 48 seconds into the game on a shot from just inside the blue line for a 1-0 lead. Massachusetts goalie Steve Mastalerz reached out to catch the puck, but missed and it tipped off his glove and into the goal.
Massachusetts managed just three shots on Petersen in the first period.
Petersen totaled 132 stops on 139 shots in three games on the weekend, which started with an NCAA record 87-save performance Friday in the five overtime loss. His save percentage in the series reached nearly .950.
“My legs are kinda feeling it I guess a little bit,” Petersen said. “When it’s happening you kinda don’t realize it and you’re in the moment. I think right now I’m still a little bit in the moment but it’ll be good to have a day off to (recuperate) and everything. But like I said, the biggest thing is we got two wins when our back was against the wall and we’re moving on to our next opponent. If stopping 132 shots in a weekend is what helps do it for the team then that’s what I’m asked to do.”
DiPauli started to bury Massachusetts with another goal at 6:42 for the second period, which also tipped off Mastalerz’s glove and into the net.
Mastalerz eventually exited the game through injury before a barrage of Notre Dame goals. Massachusetts winger Maddison Smiley hauled down Irish forward Anders Bjork on a partial breakaway, resulting in a penalty and Mastalerz’s departure.
Bjork slid into Mastalerz after being taken down to the ice. Mastalerz twisted awkwardly then stayed down before being helped to the dressing room.
“We’re already down,” said Massachusetts head coach John Micheletto. “You know how daunting it’s going to be to try and mount a comeback. It’s an emotional time I think for your guys to watch your senior goaltender get hurt and get helped off the ice.”
Backup goaltender Henry Dill allowed goals on the first two shots he faced — Steven Fogarty at 11:04 and Connor Hurley at 11:18 of the second period, respectively. It was Hurley’s first goal since Dec. 5, a 7-5 win at Massachusetts.
Defenseman Luke Ripley then scored at 18:47 and Robbie Russo notched his 13th goal of the season at 19:08 to make it a 6-0 lead at the second intermission.
Petersen made 10 saves in the final period to preserve a shutout while Austin Wuthrich scored his 10th goal of the season at 19:34 to make it a 7-0 final.
“It was important that we didn’t let (Petersen) get stressed out too much,” Jackson said. “Plus help our defensemen out too because guys played a lot of minutes this weekend on the back end.”