Power play back on course for Notre Dame in playoff run

The Notre Dame power play was effective at the beginning of the 2012-13 season but hit a lull in January, scoring on just five of 39 opportunities.

Then the CCHA playoffs came along and the Fighting Irish are back to where they started after a 3-1 victory over Ohio State on Saturday in the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

2013 CCHA Championship

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Their power-play scoring run started in their last series of the season as they went 4-for-6 in sweeping Bowling Green. Then in the quarterfinal round the Fighting Irish were 2-for-10 in once again sweeping the Falcons.

The series-clinching game was won by the power play, which contributed a power-play goal and a penalty shot goal from Bryan Rust in a 4-3 win.

“People look at our statistics,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “In the first half of the year [the power play] was 20 percent and our penalty kill was 90. January came along and our numbers dropped off a lot. Those numbers were influenced by a tough spell we had in the middle of the season.”

The Fighting Irish continued their trend Saturday as junior center T.J. Tynan beat Buckeyes’ goalie Brady Hjelle’s glove side on a power play to give them a 2-1 lead four minutes into the third period and really turned the game in Notre Dame’s favor.

“I saw an opening and I thought maybe David Gerths would maybe tip it or something but it just went straight in the net and I was pretty excited and we just went from there,” Tynan said.

It was his team-leading fifth power-play goal of the season. Tynan leads Notre Dame’s active roster with 12 career points against the Buckeyes.

“I thought that we had good puck movement,” Jackson said. “Tynan’s unit had real good puck movement at times.”

Notre Dame finished the regular season first in the CCHA standings in power play at 21.6 percent (25-for-116).

“We emphasized all week getting pucks to the net and getting guys to the net,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of been a problem for us all year, but today we did a pretty good job of that.”