NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Goalie Cal Petersen allowed two goals in two games for the second straight weekend as the Notre Dame hockey team swept Maine in a Hockey East series.
Eighth-ranked Notre Dame (18-5-7, 14-2-2 Hockey East) used three goals in the third period Friday to grab a 4-1 win in the series opener then followed with a thorough 5-1 win Saturday, taking all four points.
Petersen made 61 saves in the series. He’s allowed four goals in the last four games, all wins, but has yet to record a shutout this season. Maine scored with 2:39 remaining in the game Saturday to dash Petersen’s chance at keeping a clean sheet.
“It’s kinda getting weird now,” Petersen joked. “I just keep telling myself maybe I’m saving it for later. But I guess we’re kinda running out of games for me to do that.
Sweeping Maine (7-19-6, 4-12-2) put he Irish atop the league standings with 30 points in 18 games. No. 3 Boston College is in second with 29 points after a win and tie against Merrimack. Four games remain in the regular season for both.
Notre Dame has now won four straight and is 13-1-3 in their last 17. Its only loss since the end of November came at the hands of Boston College — a 4-0 defeat Jan. 29.
“We’ve tried to stay focused on the next game,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “That’s the mantra around here — that the next game is the most important game. One of our goals is to get to Boston Garden. In order to do that, finishing in the top four, and the higher you finish the better you are because it leads to home ice, it leads to last changes. It gives you advantages. The higher we finish the better. And if we can win a championship along the way, that’s great.”
Thomas DiPauli spurred Notre Dame to a win in Game 1 of the series with a three-point night.
DiPauli opened the scoring at 4:08 of the first period. Connor Hurley and Mario Lucia battled for the puck below the goal line before DiPauli gained possession, wheeled in front and flipped a wrist shot toward the net. His shot deflected off a Maine defender and past goalie Matt Morris.
Maine leveled the score at 8:05 of the first when Andrew Tegeler scored on a partial breakaway for his second goal of the season.
Tegeler rushed toward Petersen with speed but never actually got a shot away. Petersen slid to his right to play the potential shot, but Tegeler’s stick got lifted from behind. Instead, the puck slid through Petersen’s pads without another touch.
“I don’t have to say anything to Cal,” Jackson said. “That was a fluky goal. I wouldn’t call it necessarily a bad goal. It was just fluky. I mean, that’s a tough game for him to play. He didn’t face a lot of shots. He got some shots in the third. He had to be sharp in the third. That’s a hard game for him to play but he did a real good job of staying even keel.”
Petersen faced just seven shots in the opening 20 minutes as it was tied 1-1 at the first intermission. He stopped all six shots he faced in a scoreless second period.
Notre Dame piled up shots — 31 in the first two periods and 43 total — but didn’t find the game-winning goal until 9:38 of the third period when Jack Jenkins flipped a back-handed shot past Morris for his second goal of the season.
Mario Lucia then scored a power-play goal at 11:07 for his 10th of the season and a 3-1 lead.
“We came back after the second (period) and we just talked about not changing anything,” DiPauli said. “We were getting scoring chances, we were outshooting them. We were getting good chances. We just had to stick with it. We knew going into it that that’s how they played. They just kinda bear down and wait for you to mess up.”
Petersen made nine saves in the third period, finishing with 21 total. DiPauli scored his second goal of the game into an empty net at 17:26 to finish the scoring.
“I think the first two periods we didn’t do a (good) enough job getting in front of the goalie,” DiPauli said. “He was playing a pretty good game and he was seeing all the pucks. Give him credit, but at the same time we had to get more bodies to the net. I think we did that in the third.”
Petersen made 40 saves in Game 2.
Jake Evans staked his goaltender to an early lead with a goal at 13:55 of the first period. Petersen made eight saves in the first 20 minutes. Sam Herr scored his 10th of the season 31 seconds into the second then Hurley added a power-play goal at 14:09 to make it a 3-0 lead at the final intermission.
After a first period during which he made eight saves, Petersen came through with 18 more in the second to keep Maine off the score sheet.
“When we have those little spans where maybe we aren’t as sharp he’s gotta be the difference maker and he has been,” Jackson said. “He’s very calm. They were taking some runs at him tonight. It’s a good thing the referees handled it. That made it much better.”
Anders Bjork and Dylan Malmquist scored in the third period at 3:06 and 4:37, respectively, to push the lead to 5-0. Brendan Robbins broke up the shutout with his goal at 17:11.
“It’s frustrating,” Jackson said. “I’m rooting for the kid to get a shutout. He’s played so well for us. But it is what it is. Maybe he’ll get it at the most important time of the year.”