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Hockey: Irish set to face Ferris State

Kyle Cassily | Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No. 12 Notre Dame split its last regular season series two weekends ago with Western Michigan and after sitting out the first round of the CCHA playoffs with a bye, the Irish will play Ferris State in the second round.

The Irish (22-12-4) will play the fifth-seeded Bulldogs in a best-of-three game series this weekend at home starting Friday night and running through Sunday, if necessary. Ferris State (17-15-5) was one of four higher-seeded teams to win its first-round series last weekend as the fifth-through-eighth place squads advanced, while first-through-fourth place teams sat out.

The Bulldogs swept their first-round opponent, Western Michigan, by scores of 4-3 in overtime and 6-3. Those wins came a weekend after the Irish were shut out 3-0 on the road to Western Michigan before winning at home on senior night, 3-1.

Notre Dame and Ferris State were cluster-mates this season, playing each other four times – two at home and two on the road. The Bulldogs frustrated the Irish, gaining a 2-1-1 edge. The two teams last played in a two-game set at the Joyce Center, where Ferris State won 5-3 before they tied 2-2 on Feb. 8-9.

In other parts of the CCHA, first-place Michigan takes on Nebraska-Omaha while second-place Miami faces Bowling Green. Third-place Michigan State and Northern Michigan complete the second-round matchups. The winners will meet at Joe Louis Arena next weekend for the semifinals and finals.

Notre Dame’s 3-0 loss to Western Michigan on the first weekend of spring break continued a long scoring drought for the Irish when they fired 40 shots on net without hitting the twine. But during the season finale, the Irish found a way to light the lamp three times for the 3-1 win on senior night.

All three goals came on the power play and were scored by consistent, but snake-bitten, Irish snipers Ryan Thang, Erik Condra and Mark Van Guilder.

The second-round series against Ferris State will begin Friday night at 7:35 p.m. at the Joyce Center, while Saturday’s game will begin at 7:05 p.m. Sunday’s game, if necessary, will begin at 7:05 p.m.