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December 8, 2012

Irish turn penalty into points

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Not often does a hockey team turn killing off a major penalty into an advantage.

Fourth-ranked Notre Dame did just that Friday in its 3-2 in over Michigan State, scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 9:53 of the second period after captain Anders Lee departed the game with a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind.

“That was a huge penalty kill for the most part then we ended up getting a power play at the end of it and scored a goal,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “Certainly, it was the game-winner and changed the momentum of the game for us.”

Lee headed to the dressing room at 6:13 of the second period with the game tied 1-1 after goals from Nick Larson (Notre Dame) at 10:50 of the first period and Brent Darnell (Michigan State) at 2:43 of the second.

Notre Dame went to the penalty kill until Spartans defenseman Jake Chelios took a cross checking penalty. Defenseman Matt Grassi also cross checked 26 seconds later.

When Grassi hit the penalty box it gave the Irish (12-4-0, 8-1-0-0 CCHA) a 4-on-3 power play. Mario Lucia cashed it in with his fifth goal in seven games since returning from a leg injury. T.J. Tynan and Robbie Russo assisted in capturing a 2-1 lead.

“Any time you get a five-minute (penalty) obviously it’s not a good thing,” Tynan said. “But I think we did a really good job of keeping momentum down for them anyways. Five minutes is a long time to kill off a penalty. We did a great job and I was really proud of our guys for that.’

Michigan State (4-9-2, 3-7-1-0 CCHA) lost the man advantage and never recovered.

Tynan extended the lead to 3-1 at 17:48 of the second with a power play goal, his fourth of the season overall and second in as many games. Lucia fed the puck to a wide-open Tynan to the right of Spartans goaltender Jake Hildebrand, who finished with 36 saves.

Lucia has seven points total in as many games.

“That was one of the better passes I’ve gotten in my life to be honest with you,” Tynan said. “I don’t really know how it got through I was just happy that it did. I knew if I missed that I would be hearing it from the boys for a long time, so I was just worried about putting that in.”

Notre Dame maintained its two-goal lead until just over five minutes into the third period when Darnell scored his second goal of the night, this one coming on a power play.

Aside from that, Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays faced only four more shots in the period. Summerhays finished with 22 saves in helping extend a four-game winning streak, Notre Dame’s longest of the season.

“It was another tough game for (Summerhays),” Jackson said. “Not a lot happening for large periods of the game then all the sudden, boom, he’s gotta make a save. But he did what he had to do and made the saves that he needed to, especially with them making it within one goal. I thought he did a good job after that and settled down.”

 

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