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    Hear It From a Student - Hockey Returns To Routine

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    After last weekend's sweep at Bowling Green, the Irish hockey team returned to South Bend with a 5-2-0 overall record, gratitude for their new arena and a fresh feeling of normalcy. The team hits the road again this weekend to face Northern Michigan (Nov. 4-5).

    "We love playing in our new facility but it's important to get some road games under our belt and recognize how to play in other buildings and atmospheres," says senior captain Billy Maday. "We've been able to practice at the Compton here for a while now so I think it'll be good for our team to once again experience the other CCHA environments a little bit more."

    "Getting away from Notre Dame and then to return back to a place where it's just us and the other team is a good thing," says junior goaltender Mike Johnson. "It helps to get away from the distractions and focus on purely the games."

    After constant shuffling between the Joyce Center and Compton Family Ice Arean in the early months of the season, the hockey team's new home allows for a more permanent regimen - a regimen greatly appreciated by the team.

    "It took a while to get back in the swing of things," senior captain Sean Lorenz admits. "Now that we're settled in the new place, we're starting to get our energy back and the younger guys are getting into a rhythm."

    A customary week for the hockey team consists of early morning workouts, daily practices, meetings and team dinners. The new arena provides the team with the amenities necessary to thrive as student-athletes, including study rooms and dining areas.

    While consecutive weekends on the road at Bowling Green and Northern Michigan rid the Irish of the comfort of home, they also provide ideal time for team bonding.

    "It definitely feels normal again. We're done with preseason and it feels good to get back on the road again. As a team, going on the road and getting that time to hang out with each other really sets a good tone for the games," says Johnson.

    The new ice arena lends a sense of ease to underclassmen as they become familiar with the rigorous schedule demanded of student-athletes. On the other hand, it is a constant reminder to the senior class that their time here is limited.

    "They built something special here," Lorenz says. "I've been to every other rink in our league and quite a few around the country. This is definitely one of the best and it makes you appreciate it that much more. The seniors from last year didn't get to experience this. We are just so lucky it was finished for us. It'll be sad to leave but we'll hopefully go out with a bang."

    - Hilary Ferguson (Saint Mary's '12)

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