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OSU searches for luck of the Irish in trip to Notre Dame

Paul Woo / Lantern Photographer

The Ohio State men’s hockey team (2-4-0) stays on the road to compete against the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-3-0) in a two game series Friday and Saturday.

The Irish are the defending CCHA regular season and tournament champions.

After losing the first game of a two-game series against Lake Superior State last weekend by a score of 3-2, OSU had to find a way to rally back in the second contest.

The Buckeyes were trailing 2-0 in the first period, but tied the game after goals by Matt Bartkowski and Sergio Somma. After Lake Superior State put another puck in the net, Peter Boyd and Patrick Schafer responded with goals of their own to give the Buckeyes their second victory of the season.

The Buckeyes hope to ride Saturday’s 4-3 comeback victory over Lake Superior State into South Bend, Ind. The Irish, however, have been one of the most dominant teams in college hockey in the past three seasons.

Since 2006, they have posted 90-29-10 overall record and a nation-best .742 winning percentage. Notre Dame won the CCHA regular season titles in the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons. The team also competed in the 2008 national title game, but fell to Boston College.

The team has gotten off to a disappointing start compared to last season as the Irish are currently sitting at a .500 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s most notable win this season was a 3-0 victory at Boston University, its only away game of the premature season.

Notre Dame had to replace six seniors who were vital parts of its team last season, but brought back a crop of athletes to fill in the holes left by the graduating senior class.

Junior defenseman Ian Cole was a first team All-American last season and senior right wing Erick Condra was a second team All-American. Senior left wing Ryan Thang will wear the captain stitching for the 2009-2010 season. Thang is tied for first all-time with 13 game-winning goals.

Jeff Jackson is in his fifth season on the bench as the Irish’s coach. During his Irish career, he has compiled a 103-48-14 record. Jackson was the 2006-07 Coach of the Year, leading Notre Dame to the first Frozen Four appearance in school history.

OSU split the series versus Notre Dame last season, winning, 4-1, and losing, 4-3, in overtime at the Schottenstein Center. 

It does not look as if Buckeyes coach John Markell has selected a true starting goalie for his team yet. Cal Heeter and Dustin Carlson each started one of the games in the past series versus Lake Superior State. Heeter has been in goal when the Buckeyes have won both of their contests, but Markell still has not made the decision if there will be one starting goalie this season.

The coach has insisted that for his team to be successful he does not need just one starting goalie, just someone to fill in the spot between the posts and help his team win.

The Buckeyes will play the Irish at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 5:05 p.m. Saturday at Joyce Center Rink.

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