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Hockey: Notre Dame sweeps Michigan at Yost Arena

By Conor Kelly | Monday, November 19, 2012

Notre Dame completed its first sweep of Michigan at Yost Arena on the strength of a 4-1 win over the Wolverines on Friday night, netting third period goals from freshman Mario Lucia, junior forward Jeff Costello and sophomore Robbie Russo, who also recorded a first period goal to put the Irish on top ahead.

Coming on the heels of a 3-1 win on Thursday, the win pushed the Irish to 5-1 in the CCHA (8-3 overall). Notre Dame continued to excel on the road, now undefeated away from Compton Family Ice Arena.

“We’ve played great on the road, and we need to bring that back into the home environment,” Jackson said. “I’m sure it gives our team confidence to know that we can go into a place like Yost and win. This year there’s no question in my mind they’ve shown signs of being a great team.”

Russo opened the scoring on the powerplay in the first period, putting a screened wrist shot past Wolverine netminder Steve Racine off a pass from junior defenseman Stephen Johns. Though Michigan tied the game in the second, junior goaltender Steven Summerhays turned aside all 14 shots in the third, and Costello found the net late in the third off of a feed from junior forward Bryan Rust to take the lead for the Irish. Goals from Lucia and Russo finished the scoring in the third.

For Jackson, it was critical for the team to come out strong and weather the storm early against a strong team in a hostile environment.

“I think it was important that we held the fort early on when they had chances to score and Steven made a big save or they missed the net,” Jackson said. “We came out flying in their building and were able to grind it out and get our legs underneath us.”

The Irish have became a better team with the addition of Lucia, who returned on Thursday night from a broken leg that has kept him out of the lineup for the first six weeks of the season. Though he played only ten minutes in each game, recording his first collegiate action, he rewarded Jackson’s decision to put him on the ice when he finished a centering pass from junior defenseman Stephen Johns to put the Irish up 3-1 in the third.

“He certainly showed on Friday night that he is going to be a contributor for us offensively,” Jackson said. “He’s still learning the system and other things. He hasn’t been on the ice with us for the first six weeks. He did real well for his first weekend of collegiate hockey.”

As he has all year, Summerhays proved to be the backstop for the Irish, making 28 saves on 29 shots to keep Notre Dame in the game.

The Irish will face North Dakota at home on Friday at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Contact Conor Kelly at ckelly17@nd.edu