Mar 5, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT
The Fighting Irish could not have ended their season at the Compton in a more fitting way. With their parents in the stands and no doubt a few tears in their mothers’ eyes, the senior players on the Fighting Irish put on a show for the crowd. Each senior played his role to the fullest Saturday night. Mike Johnson stopped 26 of 27 shots between the pipes and remained poised and confident throughout the evening. Kevin Nugent could again be seen as one of the hardest working players on the ice. He may have hands of stone, but he has a heart of gold. Sam Calabrese did as he always does: played the reliable style of defense which has defined his career at Notre Dame. To top off the weekend, Nick Larson scored the final goal of the game and, in a manner which spoke for all the seniors on the team, took a bow to the crowd—a fitting gesture for a fantastic season at the Compton. Although this weekend capped off the regular season, there is still plenty of postseason action to come. The Irish have a weekend off before returning to the Compton Family Ice Arena for the second round of the CCHA conference playoffs. Now, for some reflections on this past weekend and projections for the weeks to come:
- Lucia stepping up for the Irish. Mario Lucia has been a standout freshman for the Irish Icers this season, and he has been one of their top producers as of late. He was recently named the CCHA Postgame Offensive Player of the Week after his game-changing performances this weekend. He’s shown that he can step up in big situations, and he must continue to do so.
- Gerths has been the Unsung Hero of late. You won’t see David Gerths’ name popping up on the score sheet too often (although he had a rather nice goal this weekend), but the Fighting Irish would not be as successful as they are without a player like him. Gerths does all the little things that not everyone notices. He finishes every check, never holds on to the puck for too long, makes the safe play, and plays fearlessly. Look for him to be an influential player during the conference playoffs.
There’s no doubt about it, the Irish have the talent to make a run in the final year of the CCHA playoffs. For that to happen, big players will need to make big plays. Guys like Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan will be expected to step up. Steven Summerhays and Mike Johnson will need to continue being the back-bone of this team; and Coach Jeff Jackson will have to prepare his team for the most important weekend of the season. It’s a “show up or go home” situation; let’s see what the Irish are capable of.
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