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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)

Irish Drop Series Opener at Michigan

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Taking advantage of a Notre Dame turnover, Michigan forward Phil Di Giuseppe blasted a shot toward Irish goalie Steven Summerhays. The puck skipped past the sophomore, bounced off the post and was redirected by Wolverine captain Luke Glendening. And just like that - 1:08 into the game - Michigan had a 1-0 lead.

More than 82 minutes - and 39 saves - later, Summerhays finally surrendered another goal, and the Wolverines took the game 2-1 in double overtime off a Chris Brown one-timer. Michigan now leads the second round CCHA playoff series 1-0.

"I let in one that I probably want back," Summerhays said. "But the team came back and scored a goal for me, and I worked hard the rest of the game trying to fight to see pucks, and I thought we did a good job playing the puck in front of me."

In a matchup filled with hard hits, transition chances and iron-glancing shots, goaltending was the story as it appeared the battle between Summerhays and Shawn Hunwick would never end.

Hunwick went more than 48 minutes without giving up a goal, finally allowing the equalizer off the stick of Anders Lee. The goal was the highlight of a dominant third period, during which the Irish outshot Michigan 11-5. None of the Michigan shots on goal for the period was from within 30 feet of the net.

"He's a warrior, and he's done everything he can for this team and this program and there's another example tonight," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "We wouldn't have been in overtime if it weren't for Shawn Hunwick."

Despite the low score, both sides were not without opportunity. Twice - in the second period and first overtime - Michigan had pipe-hitting shots reviewed, but came away empty both times. In the closing seconds of the second period, Maday had an open shot hit a post as well. When skaters actually were hitting the net, they were almost always stuffed by Hunwick or Summerhays.

The lone Irish goal only came directly after Mike Voran had two breakaway chances saved by Hunwick. The Notre Dame attack continued for the rest of the period, but Hunwick stood on his head the rest of the way.

"It's frustrating we're not scoring on good chances, but Shawn made huge saves for us that kept us in the game," Glendening said. "He kind of stole that game for us, I guess - he played outstanding."

The hero of the first overtime period, Summerhays came up with one sensational save after another, fending off a Michigan attack that outshot the Irish 14-9 in the period.

"It's playoff hockey, and especially in college, you're goalie has to be your best player. I'm not saying I'm the best player, but I wanted to give my team a chance to win tonight," Summerhays said. "They had a lot of shots in that first power play in overtime. Guys were clearing bodies out and letting me see the puck and worry about tracking the rebound."

Although Michigan took game one of the 83-minute marathon, the Irish will look to come back and take the remaining two of the best-of-three series against the conference foe. It is likely the 18th-ranked Irish will need to win the series to make the 16-team NCAA tournament.

"The toughest thing in hockey, especially in college, is ending a team's season, so Michigan's got to come and end our season," Summerhays said. "We feel like we did a lot of good things tonight. We had a lot of momentum towards the end of that game. It was an even game both ways, so tomorrow's up for grabs."

- Craig Chval ('15)

Summerhays Shines In CCHA Playoffs

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In his first 22 career starts, Steven Summerhays had never recorded a shutout for Notre Dame.

But late in the season, the sophomore goalie has emerged as a force for the Irish, shutting out Michigan State (Feb. 24) and Ohio State (March 2) in back-to-back starts. Following his performance in game one of the best-of-three set with the Buckeyes, Summerhays earned first-star honors again in the 4-2 clincher last Saturday night.

Over those three games, his .978 save percentage far surpasses his .908 average. His two wins this weekend secured a victory in the first-round of the CCHA tournament.

"He's playing with confidence right now," head coach Jeff Jackson said. "The thing I've been clamoring for all year is consistency. I was curious to see when we gave up the early goal tonight how he'd respond, and he responded very well.

"He's had a good streak here the last couple times he's played. I thought he could have had a problem [Saturday], but I thought he responded, came back and made some huge saves for us at key points in the game."

Summerhays probably received a major confidence boost in the second period Friday, when Ohio State had two men close to the net. Despite the huge scoring chance, the Buckeyes were denied on a diving highlight-reel save that got the crowd roaring.

"When you make a big save, the whole entire crowd and the bench is going, and I think Johns and a couple other guys were yelling at me from the ice," Summerhays said. "It's a good feeling - it gives you more confidence for the rest of the game. It's just like anybody else making a big hit or scoring a goal."

Thanks in part to Summerhays, the Irish have won three of their last four in time for the postseason. Ranked 18th in the USCHO.com poll, Notre Dame sits on the bubble of the 16-team NCAA tournament.

"I think it's the way we start games and being able to sustain the same momentum for longer periods of time," said senior co-captain Billy Maday, who tallied three goals on the weekend. "Scoring the first goal is something I think our team needs and we've been able to do that recently.

"I think we've matured a little bit. And aside from that, I think we recognize that these games are really important, and our team responds to pressure pretty well."

This Irish squad knows a little about playing with pressure. As a three seed in the NCAA tournament last year, Notre Dame reached the Frozen Four before losing to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth 4-3.

"I think this is the first time it really felt like last year," said sophomore Mike Voran, who scored the game-winning goal Saturday. "Obviously, it's a brand new year, and we kind of want to separate ourselves from last year, but you remember how fun it was to make a run.

"We're excited. I think we're coming together as a team at the perfect time. You know, you can feel it on the bench. Guys were up, guys were getting up for each other, whether it's a first-line guy, fourth-line guy - everyone was pulling their weight."

That's something the Irish have missed at times this season - secondary scoring. In the regular season, nearly 30 percent of the team's goals came from just two players: sophomores Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan.

But with goals from Maday, Voran, Lee and sophomore Jeff Costello, scoring came from three different lines over the two games. Four of the six goals came from the third line of Voran, Maday and sophomore David Gerths.

"I was playing them up against their top line at times tonight, so I don't really look at any of those three lines as being a third line. But it helps a lot when you get some depth in your scoring, and that's something we've lacked most of the year," said Jackson. "That's how you're going to win, because you're not going to see a lot of 3-, 4-goal games in the playoffs. It's tough."

After Notre Dame's first series sweep since November, the Irish will try to advance to the CCHA tournament semifinals in Detroit. Standing in their way is second-seeded foe Michigan, with whom the Irish split a series at home in January.

"I think the first 10 minutes of the first game are going to be huge," said Voran. "When you're on the road, you definitely want to pick up the first game. You go down one game on the road, and the fans get into it. Just being mentally prepared and the first 10 minutes are I think the biggest things we need to focus on."

Round two of the CCHA tournament will take place this Friday and Saturday at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a game three on Sunday if necessary.

- Craig Chval ('15)

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)

Live Blog: Hockey vs. Ohio State

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There's no season like the post-season. After a 2-0 victory last night, the Irish look to win the first round CCHA series tonight against Ohio State.

Irish UNDerground will have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout tonight's Irish hockey contest. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation.

Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

Live Chat - Hockey vs. Ohio State

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There's no season like the post-season.

Irish UNDerground will have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout tonight's Irish hockey contest. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation.

Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

Student. Athlete. Tour Guide.

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Sean's Got CLASS

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6031387.jpeg 2011 was a big year for senior hockey player Sean Lorenz.

Following the 2010-11 season, Lorenz was named the CCHA's Defensive Defenseman of the Year and received Notre Dame's William Donald Nyrop Award as the team's top defensive player. In the fall of 2011, he received the ultimate honor of being named team captain alongside Billy Maday and Anders Lee in the hockey team's inaugural season in Notre Dame's new Compton Family Ice Arena.

"Being a captain my senior year has been a great honor," Lorenz says. "It's been a demanding duty with a lot of ups and downs throughout the season but it's been a great learning experience to understand exactly what it takes to be a good leader."

And a good leader he is. Sean's accomplishments on the ice are an equal match for his dedication in the classroom. As a finance major in the best undergraduate business school in the country, Lorenz was selected to the dean's list in the spring of 2011 for his impressive 3.8 grade-point average.

But it's Lorenz's contributions to the community that will ensure yet another exciting year for the Irish senior. "Being a student-athlete in college can be a demanding task and being able to balance the classroom and competition while finding time to reach out to the community is a remarkable accomplishment," Lorenz notes.

His accomplishments are so remarkable in fact that Lorenz is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, a prestigious honor presented annually to an outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete across ten different sports. "Being considered for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is an honor in itself and being a finalist for the award is truly humbling," Lorenz says.

"Being named alongside guys like David Brown, Jordan Pearce, Erik Condra, Mark Van Guilder and Calle Ridderwall is something truly special to me because of the kind of people they were."

Lorenz's long list of community service projects includes the Junior Diabetes Walk, Lifeworks Dream Team, Habitat for Humanity, teaching kids at the local Robinson Center about hockey, Kids Fighting Obesity events, and helping out with local hockey teams. While he found each of these experiences rewarding, Lorenz found true inspiration in the Lifeworks Dream Team. The mission was fairly simple, Lorenz describes: "We would go into a third grade classroom and talk to the kids about the importance of setting goals and chasing their dreams."

And while the lone senior among Notre Dame's defensive line enters the last CCHA playoffs of his career this weekend March 2-4, he will never forget the teammates who got him there: "The thing I'm going to miss most about being a college athlete is being around the team all the time. Being a college athlete forces you to become a brother with the guy next to you and I think that's something truly special and certainly something I'm going to miss."

Lowe's will announce the winner of the Senior CLASS Award on April 7 at the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. Voting ends March 18. Cast your vote for Notre Dame senior hockey defenseman Sean Lorenz by clicking here.

- Hilary Ferguson (Saint Mary's '12)

Yes, Please!

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From Concussion to Coaching

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Shoot a message of support to Ringel (@EricRingel) and the Irish (@ND_Hockey)
as they head into CCHA postseason play!

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