Junior goaltender Steven Summerhays was solid throughout the year for 2013 CHA tournament champion Notre Dame, but when he got to Joe Louis Arena he wanted to prove he was the best goalie on the ice.
“I think it was tough this weekend when you only face so many shots a period,” Summerhays said. “Then the other team has a flurry of shots and you see the other goalie make some great saves down at the other end. I was happy we got away with two wins this weekend.”
2013 CCHA Championship
Follow all our coverage of the CCHA postseason at Playoff Central
Most importantly, he made the key saves when the game was on the line.
“Obviously, your goalie needs to be a big difference in the game,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “He didn’t have much action this weekend but he made some great saves when we needed them in the end. That is what you need to win a championship.
“He made some key saves down the stretch, and that certainly is a sign of a championship goalie.”
In the CCHA championship game Sunday against Michigan, Summerhays made saves with his stick and glove side, but most importantly took away any one-timer opportunities from a pesky Michigan squad.
After the Fighting Irish took a 2-1 lead just 30 seconds into the third period, Michigan was trying to get every chance they could at tying up the contest, but Summerhays was a brick wall in crunch time, stopping all 11 shots that came his way.
“I just tried to stay focused,” Summerhays said. “I knew Michigan was going to make a push in the third and I was happy to come up with some critical saves for us.”
The Fighting Irish will be playing next week in the NCAA tournament as a higher seed and in a good position, with a confident goalie.
“You know, winning a league tournament feels pretty good right now,” Summerhays said. “It might be a short turnaround, but winning makes everything easier and I think we are poised for a great run in the tournament.”