This is the third installment of our series counting down the 12 most memorable events of the 2012-13 academic year. With the last final exams turned in, it’s time to look back at all the highs and lows of an eventful year in South Bend. These aren’t the best times or the worst times, simply the moments we’ll remember most when looking back.
Junior goalie Steven Summerhays helped the Irish capture the final CCHA Tournament with a 3-1 win over Michigan.
10. Hockey Leaves The CCHA On Top
March 24, 2013
Irish hockey coach Jeff Jackson played his college hockey at CCHA historical powerhouse Michigan State. He won four conference championships at Lake Superior State, and three more since coming to Notre Dame in 2005. It seemed fitting that he was the final coach to hoist the Mason Cup before the league officially closed its doors at the end of March.
Notre Dame clinched the last CCHA title with a 3-1 win over Michigan on March 24. The win was the fifth of the year against the Wolverines, the first time in program history Notre Dame has done that. It was also the third time Jackson and the Irish beat longtime Michigan coach Red Berenson in the championship game.
The win marked the high point of an up-and-down season for the Irish, who were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in January before falling off and eventually losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was also the end of a meaningful and emotional weekend for Detroit native Jackson.
“We were looking to hang banners and make memories, and that’s what we did here today,” junior T.J. Tynan said following the win.
Tynan scored the game-winning goal in the semifinals a day earlier and assisted sophomore Austin Wuthrich on the eventual game winner against Michigan. He won the tournament MVP award for leading an offense that took 76 shots during its two games at Joe Louis Arena.
Wuthrich scored early in the third period to give the Irish a 2-1 lead. Michigan drew first blood in the game, building on its momentum from an unexpected run through the conference playoffs. Irish captain Anders Lee, now a member of the New York Islanders, tied the game in the second period. Junior Jeff Costello added an empty-net goal to end any possibility of a Wolverines comeback.
“There was a day that this thing meant more than being in the NCAA Tournament,” Jackson said during the post-game press conference. “Winning a conference championships should be special. The CCHA has done a good job of making this special. It’s a great venue for college hockey. It’s a great city for college hockey.”
In a year that has included a substantial list of conference champions at Notre Dame, the hockey team’s win stands out because they beat a red-hot Michigan team to get there and because of the significance it held for Jackson and his players.