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December 1, 2012

Irish golden in series opener

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Jeff Jackson might be sticking with gold jerseys for the first game of home series from here on out.

After losing the three straight series openers at the Compton Family Ice Arena in the home whites Jackson suited his team up in the gold editions Friday night. Sixth-ranked Notre Dame never trailed in a 3-2 win over Lake Superior State, setting up a potential sweep at home for the first time this season.

"I think whatever it takes for us to win," captain Anders Lee said. "If it's the gold jerseys then that's what it is. But I think we just played a pretty good game. We really started off and put them on their heels. We'll see what's in store."

Lee contributed to a strong first period performance for the Irish with a goal at 6:25. It is the ninth for Lee this season and 50th of his career and came when Lake Superior State left him uncovered in the high slot.

Bryan Rust served up the scoring chance with his sixth assist of the season. Jeff Costello picked up the secondary assist, his fifth.

Lee leads the team with his nine scores. Costello is next in line with five.

"It means I've been fortunate enough to have unbelievable teammates this whole ride," Lee said. "That was not the prettiest one but it was a setup by Rusty from a pass from Costello. We just worked together and I just benefitted from it. The biggest thing is we got that W tonight. That Friday win is huge for us."

Notre Dame (10-4-0, 6-1-0 CCHA) took that one-goal lead into the first intermission before what turned into a back-and-forth second period.

Mario Lucia extended the Irish lead to 2-0 just 35 seconds into the period with a power-play goal, his second of the season, by cleaning up a Robbie Russo shot that rattled off the cross bar. Russo picked up the first of two assists.

Lake Superior State (7-8-0, 4-5-0 CCHA) cut the lead to one with a goal from Kellan Lain at 5:15 but another power-play goal, this one from Mike Voran, at 7:24 made it a 3-1 game.

Voran deflected a Russo shot with the shaft of his stick and it skittered past Lakers goaltender Kevin Murdock, who finished with 32 saves.

"Me and Russo were joking about it because he always says I can only score off my body," Voran said. "I told him just to throw it at the net and I'll tip it in off my shoulder but it actually went in off the stick, so I was happy."

Before heading back to the locker room the Lakers cut into the lead again with a goal from Domenic Monardo. He beat Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays to the near post in transition, making it a 3-2 game.

Summerhays gave up the two goals on just 10 shots in the first two periods. But when it came to salting the game away in the final 20 minutes, he made eight saves. That stretch included another look for Lain that required a sprawling effort.

"A year ago I might have pulled him," Jackson said. "But not now. He's gotta learn to play these kind of games and fight through it and he did. He made some big saves in the third."

The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. tonight back at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

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