Following Flynt - The Buck(eyes) Stop Here

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Way back in October, Ohio State spoiled the final hockey game in the Joyce Center, defeating Notre Dame, 4-3. But now, that game is a distant memory. Here we are in March, at the incredible Compton Family Ice Arena, and the Irish just took two straight from the Buckeyes to sweep the first round CCHA playoff series.

After a 2-0 victory on Friday night, Notre Dame posted a 4-2 win on Saturday in front of a crowd of 4,202.

Head coach Jeff Jackson's team will advance to next week's second round where they will take on a to-be-determined opponent.

Maybe it was just typical playoff hockey or maybe both teams forgot the boxing tournament was across the street. On the night Notre Dame held the 82nd annual Bengal Bouts finals, the Irish and Buckeyes played a very physical game, combining for 14 penalties, including 11 in the first two periods.

The Buckeyes struck twice in the first period, getting an early goal from Sean Duddy and a late score by Danny Dries. Notre Dame's Jeff Costello tied it at one midway through the period on an assist from Kevin Lind.

In the second, Anders Lee scored his first goal of the playoffs, assisted by T.J. Tynan and Bryan Rust. Lee's score knotted the game at two, and the Irish took the lead just under seven minutes later when Mike Voran found the back of the net.

The officials reviewed Voran's goal, but the call on the ice stood and Notre Dame pulled in front, 3-2. David Gerths and Bill Maday were credited with assists on Voran's second goal of the playoffs.

It was a frantic finish, as Notre Dame needed to come up with a pair of crucial penalty kills to hang onto a one-goal lead. Momentum shifted back in the Irish's favor when OSU's Travis Statchuk was whistled for a two-minute boarding penalty with just 2:38 to play.

Much to the delight of the home crowd, Maday, the senior captain sealed the victory on an empty-net power play goal with 50 seconds remaining.

A night after stopping 33 shots in a shutout win, Steven Summerhays registered 31 saves and was named the #1 star of the game (Voran and Maday were second and third, respectively).

After a few bumps in the road, Notre Dame closed out the inaugural season at CFIA on a high note, taking three out of its final four home games, and coming up with two big playoff wins to keep its season alive.

We'll have to wait and see how the other first round CCHA playoffs finish up, but either way, the Irish are moving on and have to excited about how they played this weekend.

Stay tuned to UND.com for more coverage from tonight's series clincher.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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