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    Wolverines Sweep Irish in CCHA 2nd Round

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    Entering game two of the second-round CCHA series, Notre Dame's main focus Saturday was to shake off the previous night's heartbreaking double-overtime loss and force a game three.

    Instead, the Irish likely saw their season end with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of conference rival Michigan.

    "Both teams were probably a little tired, but our emotions were probably a little bit more drained," head coach Jeff Jackson said. "Losing a game late like that is like giving up a goal in the last minute of play. It's just a challenging emotional situation."

    By all early indications, game two looked like it might be another low-scoring affair in the mold of the 83-minute thriller of the first matchup. But this time four goals came in a span of 14 minutes, and the Wolverines took the series.

    Michigan didn't record a shot on goal in the first five minutes, and Wolverine goalie Shawn Hunwick was his usual self, stuffing early shots from Anders Lee and Mike Voran, in addition to denying David Gerths' breakaway chance.

    The first tally of the game didn't come until there was 1:07 left in the first, when Michigan forward David Wohlberg scored his first of two goals. It was also the beginning of a scoring outburst that surpassed the previous night's total in just 34 minutes.

    After goals by Michigan's Di Giuseppe and Wohlberg, Michigan had a 3-0 lead 12:09 into the second period, but Irish freshman Peter Schneider answered with a goal of his own 19 seconds later.

    "Jeff Costello had a great forecheck on the defenseman, and then Riley and I had a two-on-one," Schneider said. "Riley Sheahan made a great pass, and I just put it into the open net.

    "Our season was on the line, so I think everybody was playing with energy tonight - it was all or nothing."

    However, Michigan's cushion was enough in the end, despite a furious third-period rally. Notre Dame outshot its opponent 12-4 in the period, including seven tries from right next to the net. For the second consecutive night, Hunwick proved too good to solve.

    Over the weekend, the fifth-year senior allowed two goals on 64 shots with nearly 143 minutes of ice time. Hunwick's .969 save percentage in the series well surpassed his season average of .934, which was good for fourth-best in the country.

    "You've got to get traffic to the net. You've got to get people in front of him. He sees everything, but Michigan does a good job of blocking shots," Jackson said. "The goal that we did score - you can't stop that. If you move the puck and break people down defensively, then you get good goal-scoring opportunities and rebounds where he's out of position."

    Ranked 18th in the PairWise Rankings before the weekend, the Irish will most likely not participate in the NCAA tournament. If so, this series was a tough ending to the collegiate careers of Notre Dame's seniors.

    "It's a great group of kids," Jackson said. "They're quality kids - they're great representatives of our university. I'd be proud to call any of those kids my own sons because of the type of kids they are."

    - Craig Chval ('15)

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