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Notre Dame tops Ohio State at JLA to advance to CCHA Championship

Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 10:15 PM ET / Recap
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Notre Dame tops Ohio State at JLA to advance to CCHA Championship

By Stefan Kubus

DETROIT – Stingy defense on one end of the ice and a red-hot netminder at the other ultimately told the tale of the first of two last-ever CCHA championship semifinal games.

Notre Dame forced Ohio State senior goaltender Brady Hjelle – named CCHA Goaltender of the Year Friday evening at the CCHA Awards show – to make 41 saves, yet the Irish still clinched a spot in the CCHA championship game Saturday with a 3-1 win at Joe Louis Arena Friday afternoon.

On the flip side, the Irish only allowed a mere 17 shots, making life easy for junior goalie Steven Summerhays.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased with our effort tonight,” ND head coach Jeff Jackson said. “I thought we played a good 60-minute hockey game.”

From the get-go, Notre Dame controlled the pace, forcing the Buckeyes to play their game, as they tested Hjelle early with eight shots through the first half of the opening frame.

Yet it was the Buckeyes who struck first, and on their first shot of the contest, no less. Sophomore forward and leading scorer Ryan Dzingel finished off a beautiful 3-on-1 passing play to sneak a puck past Summerhays for the 1-0 lead.

But less than a minute later, sophomore Peter Schneider tied things up with a pretty, 3-on-1 goal of his own, showing patience and poise to rip a wrister past Hjelle. That’ the way the first frame ended, with the Fighting Irish holding an 11-5 shot advantage.

“Peter’s goal after Ohio State scored was huge for us,” Jackson said of Schneider’s responding goal. “Sometimes responding after having that first goal against is one of the most important things.”

Junior Alex Lippincott came centimeters from breaking the tie early in the second stanza, as he made a great deke to his right, snuck a backhand shot off the left post that bounced straight across the goal line, but Summerhays kicked it out from underneath him to keep it a tie game.

With that close call aside, the rest of the period calmed down, with Notre Dame still controlling the tempo and Hjelle still shutting the door. The teams also exchanged fruitless power play opportunities, and the game stood at 1-1 after two, with the Irish extending their shot advantage to 28-12.

T.J. Tynan finally found a way past Hjelle, ripping a shot past his blocker to make it a 2-1 Fighting Irish lead. Tynan’s tally held up despite a late surge of energy from the Buckeyes, largely in thanks to the Notre Dame’s stingy defensive play.

“We emphasized all week on getting pucks to the net,” Tynan said. “Obviously, [Hjelle] is an unbelievable goaltender.”

OSU head coach Mark Osiecki said after the game that, although it was not the finish he hoped for, he was thrilled with the battle his guys put up.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the way these guys responded to each other,” Osiecki said. “It was a great step for our program.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80