Jan. 3, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. -
University of Notre Dame freshman left wing Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.) has been named the CCHA Gongshow Rookie of the Month for the month of December. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association made the announcement earlier today.
In four games for the Fighting Irish, Lucia tied linemate T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) for the team lead in scoring with three goals and four assists for seven points. Two of his goals came on the power play and he was +4 over the four-game span while recording the first three multiple-point games of his career.
The 6-3, 193-pound left wing is in the midst of a personal five-game point-scoring streak that has seen him score four goals with four assists for eight points since Nov. 30. During the month of December, Lucia was twice named the Gongshow Rookie of the Week, taking the honor on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.
A second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2011, Lucia got December off to a fast start with the first multiple-goal game of his career, scoring twice (one power-play goal) in a 6-1 win over Lake Superior State on Dec. 1. He had two shots in the game and was +1 on the night while being named the Perani Cup Second Star of the game.
Six days later, on Dec. 7, the talented scorer notched one goal and added an assist for two points in a 3-2 win over Michigan State at the Compton Family Ice Arena. He had two shots on goal in the game and was even for the night while taking Perani Cup First Star honors.
The following evening, Lucia was held to one assist and was +1 in the game as Notre Dame defeated Michigan State with a 5-1 home victory to run the team's winning streak to five straight and seven in a row in CCHA play.
On Dec. 15, in the final game of the first half for the Irish, Lucia closed out his month with two assists in a 4-1 win at Bowling Green. In that contest, he had two shots on goal and was +2 for the game.
After missing the first nine games of the season due to a broken leg suffered in the preseason, Lucia has made a strong return to the lineup, scoring five goals and five assists for 10 points in his first nine games back. He is tied for the team lead with three power-play goals and is +4 for the season.
Notre Dame's four wins in December extended the team winning streak to six games overall, eight in CCHA play and the Irish are now 14-4-0 on the season and 10-1-0-0 in conference action. They are tied for first in the CCHA with Miami while having three games in hand on the RedHawks.
While Notre Dame broke for the Christmas holidays, Lucia joined the United States Junior National Team as they headed to Ufa, Russia to participate in the IIHF World Junior Championships. In six games with the United States team, he has picked up one assist, as Team USA will play for the gold medal on Saturday, Jan. 5 versus Sweden.
The Irish, currently ranked second in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and third in the USCHO.com poll, have not played since Dec. 15. They return to action on Tues., Jan. 8 versus the top-ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, Minn. Game time at Mariucci Arena is set for 7:07 p.m. (CT).