Notre Dame Claims Final CCHA Crown


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Notre Dame center T.J. TYNAN (10), the junior out of Orland Park, Illinois, who was the third round choice (# 66 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2011 National Hockey League Draft, looks to shield the puck from tenacious Michigan defenseman MAX BENNETT (23), the junior from Narragansett, Rhode Island, who was the third round selection (# 79 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2009 NHL Draft, during the departing Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s post-season tournament final contested at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
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Three unanswered goals in the second half of the contest left absolutely no doubt as to which side had been in command throughout as # 9 NOTRE DAME rallied past streaking MICHIGAN 3-1 in the 42nd and last-ever edition of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s post-season tournament final.

The Wolverines had entered this historical meeting with the Fighting Irish at the Joe Louis Arena having already knocked out Western Michigan, the defending CCHA playoff titlist from last season, as well as Miami University, the CCHA tournament champion in 2011 who just barely edged Notre Dame for the final CCHA regular season crown during this 2012/13 campaign. Nine victories on the trot had evened resurgent Michigan’s record for this term at 18 wins against 18 losses with three ties but victory over the Fighting Irish in Detroit was necessary if the Wolverines’ current record of 22 consecutive appearances at the annual NCAA tournament was to be extended. To put things in proper perspective, only eight of the 20 Notre Dame players in uniform for the 2013 CCHA playoff tournament final were even alive the last time that head coach RED BERENSON’s club failed to qualify for the NCAA’s post-season party on ice in 1990.

But, Notre Dame had already beaten Michigan in all four CCHA regular season contests earlier this term and were keen to wni the conference playoff title for only the third time in school history. And so it came as no great surprise that the Fighting Irish took the game straight to the Wolverines, as might be indicated by the shots-on-goal statistics (18-6) for the opening frame. Michigan were fortified by a strong effort between the pipes from STEVE RACINE, the 21-year-old freshman from Williamsville, New York, who had started all nine games for the Wolverines in conjunction with its current winning streak.

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Notre Dame goaltender STEVEN SUMMERHAYS (1), the junior shot-stopper from Anchorage, Alaska, makes a nifty save with his arm and hip to rob Michigan left wing JUSTIN SELMAN (10), the 19-year-old freshman from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, who totaled four goals and ten points in 30 games for the Wolverines this season, during the CCHA Final watched by the crowd of 9,576 spectators at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
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The Wolverines, who were aiming for the 10th CCHA tournament title in school history at the expense of the favored Fighting Irish, also managed to score the game’s first goal while skating a man short late in the first period, as well; Michigan right wing KEVIN LYNCH, the homegrown senior from Grosse Pointe who had three assists in the Wolverines’ 6-2 win over Miami University in the CCHA semifinals, started a rush which ended with junior DEREK DEBLOIS, the undrafted right wing from Narragansett, Rhode Island, swiping home a centering pass from highly-touted freshman defenseman JASON TROUBA with exactly one minute to play before the first intermission.

Notre Dame had also surrendered the first goal in their CCHA semifinal contest with underdog Ohio State, however, and were prepared to continue with their patient, disciplined style of hockey. Indeed, the Wolverines would generate even fewer shots on target (four) in the second period than it already had in the opening twenty minutes at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, hauled themselves level just a little past the halfway point of this 42nd CCHA Final after a point shot from defenseman STEPHEN JOHNS, the junior from Wampum, Pennsylvania, who was the second round pick (# 60 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2010 National Hockey League Draft, missed the net completely.

Left wing JEFF COSTELLO controlled the rebound of the end boards and immediately sent the puck in front for Notre Dame captain ANDERS LEE and the junior from Edina, Minnesota, who was the sixth round selection (# 152 overall) of the New York Islanders at the 2009 NHL Draft had no trouble finding the back of the net for his team-leading 20th goal of the season at the 10:34 mark of the second session.

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Michigan defenseman JON MERRILL (24), the homegrown junior from Brighton who was the second round choice (# 38 overall) of the New Jersey Devils at the 2010 NHL Draft, leans on Notre Dame rookie center STEVEN FOGARTY (26), the freshman from Edina, Minnesota, who was tabbed by the New York Rangers in the third round (# 72 overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, during the noteworthy CCHA Final at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
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For the game-winning goal in the last-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoff tournament final, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame would be forced to wait until the puck dropped to start the third period — but not much longer thereafter.

Less than half a minute had elapsed when center T.J. TYNAN rushed the puck into the Michigan zone and dished off to youthful winger MARIO LUCIA, the talented freshman from Plymouth, Minnesota, who was taken in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild, on the right. The Wolverines defense swarmed the Notre Dame rookie with great haste but right wing AUSTIN WUTHRICH, the sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska, who was the fourth round choice (# 107 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft last summer, was on hand to fire the loose puck past the Michigan netminder Racine. From there on out, Notre Dame sought to protect what had already been gained and, accordingly, relied heavily on its goaltender, the undrafted junior STEVEN SUMMERHAYS, the rest of the way.

Costello, the third leading scorer for Notre Dame this season with 30 points despite having only played in 32 games, caught Michigan in the midst of pulling its goaltender and shot the puck into an unguarded net from long distance to clinch a memorable victory on behalf of the Fighting Irish. The 3-1 triumph over the Wolverines marked a third CCHA tournament title in Notre Dame school history and also made certain that the Fighting Irish will be making its xth all-time appearance at the annual NCAA tournament this spring. As for Notre Dame head coach JEFF JACKSON, who used to be in charge at Lake Superior State before taking over in South Bend, this particular 2013 Mason Cup success marks the seventh occasion that the 57-year-old skipper has steered his school to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association post-season tournament championship.

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Highly-regarded Michigan defenseman JACOB TROUBA (8), the homegrown freshman from Rochester who was the first round pick (# 9 overall) of the Winnipeg Jets at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft last summer as well as the third highest scorer for the Wolverines this season with 29 points (12 goals), hopes to steal the puck from Notre Dame left wing JEFF COSTELLO (11), the junior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was the fifth round choice (# 146 overall) of the Ottawa Senators at the 2009 NHL Draft, during the very last Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoff tournament final at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
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CCHA Final
Joe Louis Arena – Detroit, Michigan
NOTRE DAME 3 – MICHIGAN 1

19:00 … MICH – DeBlois 11 (Trouba, K. Lynch) – shg
30:34 … ND – Lee 20 (Costello, Johns)
40:29 … ND – Wuthrich 5 (Lucia, Tynan)
58:53 … ND – Costello 11 (unassisted)

NOTRE DAME : Summerhays – Lind, Johns ; Johnson, Russo ; Taker, Calabrese – Costello, Lee, Rust ; Lucia, Tynan, Wuthrich ; Larson, Gerths, Nugent ; Di Pauli, Fogarty, Schneider

MICHIGAN : Racine – Bennett, Trouba ; Moffie, Merrill ; Szuma, Serville – Di Giuseppe, Nieves, K. Lynch ; Guptill, Copp, DeBlois ; Sinelli, Treais, Moffatt ; Selman, T. Lynch, Hyman

Notes — for this last-ever CCHA playoff tournament final, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame featured no less than 12 players who have been drafted by National Hockey League clubs while the opposing Michigan Wolverines deployed another 11 skaters who have already been reserved by the NHL professionals.

The CCHA all-tournament team chosen by officials featured Steve Racine of Michigan in goal, a defense pairing of Stephen Johns of Notre Dame and Jacob Trouba of Michigan as well as the forward line of Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan and Austin Wuthrich along with Andrew Copp of Michigan.

Fighting Irish center T. J. Tynan was selected as the 2013 CCHA tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

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