Nov 21, 2012, 12:27 PM EDT
The brooms and dust pans had to be pulled out at Yost Arena for the first time in 34 years this past weekend. The Fighting Irish pulled a remarkable feat of sweeping Michigan (a perennial powerhouse) in its home rink for the first time since 1978. Beating a team like Michigan is difficult enough, but to do it in front of 6,000 roaring Ann Arborites makes it all the more impressive. To put the icing on the cake, the Irish did it in decisive fashion, outscoring Michigan 7-2 on the weekend. Head coach Jeff Jackson even admitted to the press, “For us to be able to come in here and win two games, it’s hats off to our kids. I thought we played six real good periods of hockey in this series.” Two more notches in the team’s belt, and two more extrapolations on the team:
- Russo rising to the occasion. Robbie Russo is producing and assuming a leadership role on this team. Only a sophomore, Russo’s skill and poise (especially in special teams situations) is getting him noticed as a top defenseman for the Irish. Russo put up two goals on Friday night—one being a power play goal early in the first, and the other being an empty netter which sealed the deal for the Irish victory. There should be no doubt that we can expect big things from Russo this season as well as seasons to come.
- Summerhays is the backbone. There are few things more reassuring than playing in front of a hot goaltender, and right now, Steven Summerhays is on fire. Goaltenders, like quarterbacks in football, have a way of controlling the outcome of games and Summerhays is doing just that. He is pulling the Irish through tough games and making saves which are the difference between victory and defeat. The Irish were outshot 29-19 Friday night, a statistic not usually indicative of a victory, but Summerhays came through in the clutch and stopped 28 of 29. He has been a catalyst for victory, and can hopefully keep it up.
The Irish welcome North Dakota to the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend for a two game series (Friday at 7:35 pm, Saturday at 5:05 pm – watch both live on UND.com). The Fighting Irish are coming off of an excellent weekend so they’ll be looking to keep applying what they’ve learned to their gameplay. Hopefully Robbie Russo and Stephen Summerhays can keep contributing and lead the Irish onward to victory.
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