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Notre Dame tops Michigan 3-1 to win final CCHA Championship game

March 24, 2013 - Matt Wellens

DETROIT — The last time Michigan's record-breaking streak of NCAA tournament appearances was on the line, the Wolverines defeated defeated Northern Michigan as a No. 7 seed in the CCHA Championship game for an improbable automatic berth.

Once again on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the Wolverines were the No. 7 seed in a CCHA title game, but a 23rd-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and final Mason Cup just wasn't meant to be.

"We probably had as much momentum as we've had all year," UM coach Red Berenson said. "We were in a good place and we had a tough game last night against Miami. That was a huge win for our team just to get into this game and maybe we didn't have enough gas.

"We were on a mission and we got cut short."

After dismantling NMU, Western Michigan and Miami to reach the league's final game after 42 seasons, Michigan came up short against Notre Dame, 3-1, in the last CCHA Championship game ever.

For the Irish, it's their third ever Mason Cup with all three coming under head coach Jeff Jackson, who was hired in 2005.

"The team did everything that we asked of them and beyond," said Jackson, who previously won four CCHA tournament titles in five years with Lake Superior State from 1991-1995.

"I thought the guys deserve all the credit for paying the price, laying it on the line and doing what they had to do to be successful.

"We're just proud to raise another banner."

Notre Dame sophomore Austin Wuthrich scored the game-winner 29 seconds into the third period to put the Irish up 2-1 via assists by freshman Mario Lucia and T.J. Tynan. It was only the fifth goal of the year for Wuthrich and 12th of his brief collegiate career.

For junior captain Anders Lee, who scored Notre Dame's first goal, it was satisfying to be the team that ended the Wolverines' run.

"They obviously had to win the tournament to continue their season and for us to do that, it's very difficult," Lee said. "Any time you're trying to take someone out of their season, it's going to be hard and they put up an absolute fight. They were resilient all game, especially in that first period."

The Wolverines led 1-0 after the first via a Derek DeBlois shorthanded goal with a minute remaining before the first intermission.

DeBlois took a pass from freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba that passed through the Irish crease with goaltender Steve Summerhays out of position. The ND netminder stopped an initial shot by UM sophomore Kevin Lynch, then slipped trying to get back to the net.

Up until the 19-minute mark of the first period, Michigan had been outshot 18-6 and out-chanced as well with freshman UM netminder Steve Racine being forced to stop Tynan on a one-on-one breakaway.

Notre Dame finally converted in the second on a score by Lee at the 10:34 mark, this time with Racine scrambling while juniors Jeff Costello and Stephen Johns set up the goal.

"Obviously Notre Dame got a great start," Berenson said. "Even though the game was tied, they were right there and they were all over us. They didn't give us much and we didn't get much."

Notes: Costello added an empty netter with 1:07 to play for the honor of scoring the final goal in the history of the CCHA. ... Racine finished with 30 saves after making 18 in the first period, but only three in the third. ... Summerhays stopped 20 shots with 11 coming in the final 20 minutes. ... The CCHA all-tournament team consisted of ND's Tynan, Wuthrich and Johns, plus UM's Racine, Trouba and freshman Andrew Copp.



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University of Notre Dame Junior Jeff Costello lifts the Mason Cup after winning the final CCHA Championship Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Joe Louis Area. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)