Irish hockey clinch 2nd in CCHA with 4-1 win

Senior goaltender Mike Johnson stopped 26-of-27 shots he faced and fellow senior Nick Larson scored a goal and an assist to help lead Notre Dame to a 4-1 win over Bowling Green on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The win, coupled with a Western Michigan loss at Michigan State, puts the Irish in second place in the final regular-season standings, three points behind CCHA regular-season champ, Miami.

Larson was joined on the score sheet by freshman Mario Lucia with a goal and an assist, and juniors David Gerths and Anders Lee who chipped in one goal each in the win. Andrew Wallace scored the lone Bowling Green goal on the night.

Notre Dame finished the regular season by going 5-1-3 in its last nine games and is now 21-12-3 overall and 17-8-3-2 in the CCHA, good for 56 points. The loss dropped the Falcons to 13-18-5 for the year and 10-15-3-1 in the conference. They lost out on their bid for home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs and finished ninth and will travel to Lake Superior State.

“I thought we played really well tonight,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.

“I was really happy with the way we played in the third period. We played a smart third period. We have had the tendency to do something in the third that changes the momentum.”

Notre Dame will return to action at the Compton Family Ice Arena the weekend of March 15-17 against the second lowest remaining team in the standings.

“For what happened to us in January, for us to rebound the way we have in the last month is really good,” said Jackson.

“At least we are going in the right direction heading into the playoffs. Hopefully we aren’t done getting better. We have to play better for our second round opponent. We’ll have a tough second round. We reached our first objective, finishing in the top four. Now our next objective is to get to Detroit and Joe Louis Arena.”

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