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December 8, 2012

Irish sweep aside Sparty

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Scoring when it looks like the period is all but complete has a way washing away whatever happened the previous 19 minutes.

Fourth-ranked Notre Dame found itself outshout by Michigan State in the first period Saturday even when Anders Lee scored with eight seconds remaining. But that staked the Irish to a lead they would never surrender en route to a 5-1 win and Central Collegiate Hockey Association sweep.

"I think the shots were really low and not much going on," Lee said. "Very lackluster almost. Pretty quiet. So, yeah, it got us going a little bit. Nice little boost going into the locker room and a little momentum going into the second."

Lee notched his 11th goal of the season into an open net after a feed from Bryan Rust. Notre Dame (13-4-0, 9-1-0-0 CCHA) took its lead into the first intermission despite managing just six shots while allowing eight.

Michigan State (4-10-2, 3-8-1-0) would maintain its advantage in shots (30-23) but never mount a serious challenge to the lead as Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays made 29 saves and more goals piled up.

Mike Voran scored his third of the season at 13:50 of the second period and Steven Fogarty added his fourth at 15:31 to make it a 3-0 game heading into the second intermission.

"Until we scored that second goal I thought we were only okay," said head coach Jeff Jackson. "We scored that second goal and we came to life and that's good. That's important that we have the ability to do that. I don't profess sitting on the lead. I wanna keep pushing the pace. I don't tell guys to change their game. We wanna be moving forward all the time, not back tracking."

Two more goals came in the third period. David Gerths scored the first, his third of the season at 8:16. Thomas DiPauli made it a 5-0 game at 12:30.

Summerhays would maintain the shutout until 17:22 when Spartans winger Matt Berry put in his eighth of the year on assists from Jake Chelios and Matt DeBlouw. On an otherwise sharp night, Summerhays was frustrated to see the shutout evaporate.

The junior from Anchorage, Alaska, has two shutouts this season.

"I think it's more that I just pride myself this year on not giving up goals in the third," Summerhays said. "I think that's even more frustrating because we've been even more successful in the third so we don't want to get into bad habits like that."

Notre Dame now carries a five-game winning streak into finals week and one last game, Saturday at Bowling Green, before the holiday break. Momentum is starting to build for a team already ranked in the top five.

"It's gonna be a tough week," Jackson said. "We're only gonna be able to practice probably twice this week. They need to focus on their schoolwork right now but try to get them refocused. We'll skate a couple times."

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