Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Holy Cross hockey team continued their strong play on Wednesday evening at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for the first-ever battle for Austin's Cup Challenge between the Irish club hockey team. The significance of this challenge was more than just the opportunity to win a hockey game, but an opportunity to unite two teams with a significant fan: Austin Replogle. With ties to both programs, it was only fitting that the two would create this event to support the Replogle's and a good cause. Austin suffers from shaken baby syndrome and both teams worked together to raise donations for the Child and Parent Services of Elkhart County.
With the great nature of the event aside, there was still a hockey game to be played with both teams battling for the first-ever Austin's Cup. It was Holy Cross who struck first when Jake Radde (Granger, Ind.) buried a rebound off a Nic Mensik (South Bend, Ind.) shot to put the Saints up 1-0 five minutes into the game.
After striking first, the Saints continued to be the aggressors on the offensive end while generating plenty of quality chances. Several Saints players had great opportunities in the first period to extend their lead but the shots seemed to be falling just wide. Through the first 20 minutes the Saints held a 1-0 advantage over Notre Dame.
Much like the majority of the first period, goalie play continued to play a significant factor in the second period. Holy Cross was still playing as the aggressors, but it was freshman goalie Devin Nyers (Mishawaka, Ind.) who was keeping the Saints in front with his stellar play between the pipes. With neither team able to score in the second period, we now were now 20 minutes away from the inaugural Austin's Cup Challenge champions being crowned.
The stellar play of Nyers was seen most clearly in the third period. As the Irish continued to get in a rhythm offensively, it was Nyers who stood tall to keep the Saints out front. Notre Dame, who had been outshot fairly significantly through the first two periods, had their best period of the game, specifically in the final few minutes. During this stretch Nyers continued to stop all pucks coming his way as he finished the game with a 33-save shutout in the Saints 1-0 win.
With the win, the Saints captains brought Austin's Cup to the rest of the team as they celebrated their first win over the Irish club hockey team.
"I thought the whole team played their best game of the season," Coach Lyons stated. "We have been working on being a mentally tough team, and yesterday the guys really played that way. Their mental toughness was the difference in the game and we were able to come out with a big 1-0 victory.
The Saints (15-7) have now won five consecutive games and will wrap up 2013 with a weekend series against Central Michigan University.