Final: UMD 3, Notre Dame 1

Freshman goalie Matt McNeely made his first collegiate start and freshman center Cal Decowski scored his first collegiate goal as No. 13-ranked Minnesota Duluth defeated No. 9 Notre Dame 3-1 Thursday night in a nonconference game before about 4,500 fans at the year-old Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind. It was the first road game of the season for UMD and the first home game for Notre Dame. Both teams are 2-1.

A recap from the Notre Dame sports information office is here.

The 6-foot-3 McNeely, from Burnsville, Minn., was told Wednesday he’d be starting and finished with 29 saves. He played college opponents approximately 10 times in a stint with the U.S. National Development Team Program U18 team in 2010-11, including against UMD at Amsoil Arena, and said he knew what he’d be facing.

“I was very nervous before the game but I said a prayer or two, and once the game started I was pretty relaxed,” McNeely said by phone. “I knew what I had to do and my teammates sacrificed their bodies on defense. They blocked a lot of shots and let me see a lot of shots. Notre Dame didn’t get that many high-quality chances.”

The Bulldogs took the lead with 2.1 seconds left in the opening period as DeCowski of Andover, Minn., scored in a 5-on-3 power play shift. He later added an assist.

“That game was dictated by the first period when we took some foolish penalties,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson told the school sports information office.

“I don’t know if we were too emotional or whatever because I didn’t see that at all last weekend. We were pretty disciplined. The penalties really put us on our heels. We had guys sitting on the bench who weren’t out there because we were killing penalties. Five-on-five we were pretty good in that opening period.”

Second-period goals four minutes apart put UMD up 3-0. Senior winger Dan DeLisle came off the bench just after a successful Bulldog penalty kill and scored past junior goalie Steven Summerhays on a breakaway at 10:00. Sophomore Justin Crandall followed at 14:01 by converting a Wade Bergman rebound.

Summerhays came into the game as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association goalie of the week following wins over Maine 1-0 and Nebraska-Omaha 3-2 to win the Icebreaker Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. He had a .962 save percentage.

“This wasn’t a pretty game for us, but we beat a good team on the road, which is a great start for us (on the road),” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin by phone. “We turned the puck over too much, but Matt made some timely saves and controlled his rebounds, and it was nice that we got a lead for him. We scored on our opportunities and our special teams were good again.”

UMD scored a power-play goal and killed five of six opposing power plays, and in three games are 6-of-20 with a man advantage and 17 of 19 penalty killing.

Notre Dame turned up the pressure the second half of the second period with the last nine shots on goal. Bryan Rust scored on a power play with 4:53 left in the period to get the Irish within 3-1. They stayed on the attack early in the final period and at one point had 17 straight shots on goal over two periods.

There was no scoring in the third period. Notre Dame led in final shots on goal 30-20.

McNeely got his start after junior Aaron Crandall had played both games last weekend at home in a split with the CCHA’s Ohio State Buckeyes. Decowski came to UMD after two U.S. Hockey League seasons with Des Moines (Iowa).

UMD sophomore center Caleb Herbert went out of the game late in the first period, after taking a hit to the head but returned to play. Defenseman Bergman had two assists.

Notre Dame was picked by league coaches to win the 2013 CCHA regular-season title. A year ago at Amsoil Arena, UMD and Notre Dame split games.

Minnesota Duluth 1-2-0—3

Notre Dame           0-1-0—1

First period – 1. UMD, Cal Decowski 1 (Mike Seidel, Wade Bergman), 19:27 (5×3 pp). Penalties – Andy Welinski, UMD (hooking), 4:22; Nick Larson, Notre Dame (slashing), 7:12; Anders Lee, Notre Dame (slashing), 9:11; Chris Casto, UMD (interference), 11:37; Jeff Costello, Notre Dame (interference), 12:58; Kevin Lind, Notre Dame (contact to the head game, 10 minutes and disqualification, contact to the head 5 minutes), 16:33; Caleb Herbert, UMD (boarding), 14:23; Casto, UMD (roughing), 16:33; Thomas DiPauli, Notre Dame (slashing), 19:25 .

Second period – 2. UMD, Dan DeLisle 1 (Decowski), 10:00; 3. UMD, Justin Crandall 2 (Bergman, Caleb Herbert), 14:01; 4. Notre Dame, Bryan Rust 1 (Stephen Johns), 15:07 (pp). Penalties – Sam Calabrese, Notre Dame (hooking), 6:09; Bergman, UMD (interference), 7:48; Luke McManus, UMD (holding), 14:49; J. Crandall, UMD (roughing), 15:34; David Gerths, Notre Dame (roughing), 15:34 .

Third period – No scoring. Penalties – Andy Welinski, UMD (hit from behind), 8:17; Mike Voran, Notre Dame (boarding), 16:47.

Shots on goal – UMD 8-7-5—20, Notre Dame 6-13-11—30. Goalies – Matt McNeely (1-0), UMD (30 shots-29 saves); Steven Summerhays (2-1), Notre Dame (20 shots-17 saves). Power plays – UMD 1-of-7, Notre Dame 1-of-6. Referees – Stephen McInchak, Barry Pochmara; Linesmen – Tony Molina, Brian Troesler. A – 4,493.

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