Dec. 10, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
For the second consecutive week, University of Notre Dame hockey freshman left wing Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.) has been selected as the CCHA Gongshow Rookie of the Week as he helped the Irish to a series sweep last weekend versus Michigan State.
In two games versus the Spartans, Lucia scored once and added a pair of assists for three points. He had three shots on goal and was +1 in the 3-2 and 5-1 victories for the Irish. The talented left wing now has a four-game point streak that has seen him score four goals and add a pair of assists for six points.
The two wins give Notre Dame five straight overall and seven consecutive victories in CCHA action. The Irish are now 13-4-0 overall and 9-1-0-0 in conference play, good for 27 points. Saturday night's win over the Spartans, coupled with Miami's loss to Lake Superior State moved Notre Dame into first place in the conference with a two-point lead over the RedHawks with two games in hand. The Irish are now ranked third in the nation in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and the USCHO.com rankings.
In Friday's 3-2 win, Lucia scored on the power play and assisted on T.J. Tynan's (Jr., Orland Park, Ill.) power-play game winner while getting two shots on goal and being even for the game. His goal came at 9:53 of the second period and broke a 1-1 tie as he scored off a pretty passing play from Tynan. Defenseman Robbie Russo (So., Westmont, Ill.) moved the puck from the center point to Tynan in the left circle. The junior center zipped a pass across the slot to Lucia who was camped on the doorstep. The freshman left wing just one-timed the pass behind the Michigan State goaltender to make it 2-1. For Lucia, it was his fifth goal in seven games since returning to the lineup.
Later in the period at 17:48, Lucia returned the favor as he set up Tynan, threading the needle with a pass across the crease to Tynan on the right side of the goal to make it 3-1.
On Saturday, in Notre Dame's 5-1 victory, Lucia helped set up Mike Voran's (Jr., Livonia, Mich.) game winner at 13:50 of the second period. He had one shot on goal and was +1 in the contest. On the goal, Lucia moved the puck from below the goal line on the right side to defenseman Sam Calabrese (Sr., Park Ridge, Ill.) who one-timed a pass to Voran at the top of the crease on the left post. Voran one-timed the pass behind Michigan State goaltender Will Yanakeff to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.
For the season, Lucia has now played in eight games since returning from a broken leg that sidelined him for the first nine games of the season. He has five goals and three assists for eight points with three power-play goals and is +2 for the year.
Lucia and the Irish will take their final exams this week before returning to action in a 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday, December 15 at Bowling Green. He then leaves on Dec. 16 to attend USA Hockey's training camp prior to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia, Dec. 26-Jan. 5.