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)
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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)
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.
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.
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)
as they head into CCHA postseason play!
With just six weeks left in the NHL regular season, teams are preparing to make a late surge in the hopes of securing playoff positioning. Here's a look at the former Notre Dame hockey players who are a part of the madness ... Veteran defenseman Mark Eaton ('98) has seen significant ice time for the Islanders this year. His lone goal of the season came during overtime in his 600th career NHL game on Feb. 3 against the Senators. Defenseman Brett Lebda ('04) came off injured reserve last week and has returned to the Blue Jackets roster. Despite being undrafted out of Notre Dame, Lebda scored his first goal during his NHL debut on opening day in 2005 and contributed to the Red Wings' Stanley Cup run in 2008. The Islanders placed right winger Tim Wallace ('07) on waivers this week. His 31 games this year are almost double his previous career high (16). Senators right winger Erik Condra ('08) had an assist Monday, contributing to Ottawa's 6-0 win over the Islanders. Condra has seven goals and 14 assists with a solid 12 +/- in his first full season in the NHL. St. Louis recalled defenseman Ian Cole ('10) Friday from AHL Peoria. The former first-round pick has one goal and three assists in his last 10 NHL games. Although the spotlight is on the NHL, there are a few former Irish players who hope to be the future of their franchises. Here's a glimpse through the AHL ... Having played one game for the Vancouver Canucks this season, right winger Victor Oreskovich ('06) has contributed 12 points in 28 games for the AHL Chicago Wolves. Right winger Kyle Palmieri ('10) has played with both the AHL Syracuse Crunch and the NHL Anaheim Ducks this season. Currently on the Crunch's roster, Palmieri has scored an impressive 30 goals and 16 assists in only 34 AHL games. Having made his NHL debut Oct. 31, winger Ryan Thang ('10) has netted 24 points in 50 games for the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville AHL affiliate. - Craig Chval ('15)
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