DETROIT — Just minutes into the second period of Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Notre Dame, the Michigan hockey team drove the puck down the middle and into the opposing zone.

Carrying a 1-0 lead but being heavily outshot, it needed something to preserve the game and a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Skating faster then anyone else, junior forward Luke Moffatt took a stab at the goal before being denied. But his speed and an opposing defenseman drove him into Fighting Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays, prompting a whistle. Moffatt was called for interference on the play, forcing the Wolverines to play without a man.

More importantly, it forced Michigan back into its own zone again when it needed shots the most.

“Even though the game was tied, they were right there, and they were all over us,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “They didn‘t give us much, and we didn‘t get much, and that is how the game went on.”

Although time of possession isn’t measured, the Wolverines found themselves skating in their own zone, trying to clear the puck away from the net for much of the game.

Junior defenseman Jon Merrill and sophomore defenseman Brennan Serville struggled to handle the puck near the net, giving up easy turnovers to Notre Dame’s strong forechecking forwards.

It didn’t help the offense when senior defenseman Lee Moffie took another penalty with Moffatt still in the bench.

“It’s tough to get off,” Berenson said. “You’re playing and playing and playing and you can’t change and they played tired.”

Looking fatigued and panicked, the Wolverines allowed their first goal of the game minutes after Moffie’s penalty expired, unable to clear the puck they poked away in their own zone.

The offense never recuperated in the second period, and not until the third period when desperation set in. Yet even then, Michigan played exasperated during the end of the third period. The Wolverines played without sophomore defenseman Mike Szuma for more than half of the third period, alternating five worn-down defensemen to bring the puck up and skate back in odd-man rushes.

When Michigan needed its energy reserves the most, it was left stalling. Even if it was in the opposing zone.

END OF AN ERA: Michigan’s unprecedented run of 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament came to a close on Sunday, but another streak ended as well.

The CCHA concluded the final chapter of its 42-year history with the Fighting Irish’s victory on Sunday. The 11 teams remaining in the conference will leave for different conferences next year. The Wolverines will leave for the Big Ten Conference in its first year, while Notre Dame heads to the Hockey East Association.

The CCHA’s first tournament was held in 1972 when Ohio State brought home the hardware after defeating Saint Louis. The trophy was later named for former Michigan State, Bowling Green and Lake Superior State coach Ron Mason, who has won 13 championships.

Michigan coach Red Berenson, who coached in the CCHA his entire career, has been at the helm for all nine Michigan Mason Cup victories.

“I think it will take awhile before the smoke clears,” Berenson said. “The CCHA can be proud of all the team members and all the championships. The great players they’ve produced and the great people they produced as student-athletes and not just NHL players.

“It’s been a great league. They have nothing to apologize for, it’s just too bad it’s over.”

MORE HARDWARE: Not all of the Wolverines went home empty handed.

With red faces and their shoulders slumped in defeat, three freshmen represented Michigan on the CCHA All-Tournament team. Forward Andrew Copp, defenseman Jacob Trouba and goaltender Steve Racine were all honored for their performances this weekend.

Notre Dame also had three players take home awards, including the MVP — forward T.J. Tynan.

Copp had two goals in a victory over Miami on Saturday to end his season with 11 goals. Trouba, a Winnipeg Jets draft pick, added two assists and four blocks while not recording a single penalty minute at Joe Louis Arena. Racine, who led Michigan to a 9-1-1 record in the final 11 games, made 63 saves on the weekend.

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