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CCHA Hockey: Notre Dame's Mario Lucia makes collegiate debut tonight against Michigan

Notre Dame freshman forward Mario Lucia, a 2011 second round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, makes his collegiate debut tonight against Michigan after missing the first nine games of the season with a broken fibula.

Bruce Bennett

There are many interesting storylines to follow for tonight's Michigan-Notre Dame game but one in particular is the collegiate debut of one of the more intriguing freshman coming into college hockey this season in Fighting Irish forward Mario Lucia.

Lucia, a 2011 second round pick of the Minnesota Wild and son of University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, missed Notre Dame's first nine games of the season after breaking his fibula and suffering tendon damage back in August. The original prognosis at the time was that he would miss the first three months of the season but has come back much earlier.

His return gives Notre Dame another offensive weapon up front. The freshman finished third in the BCHL last year with 94 points (42G-52A) for the Penticton Vees. It also gives Lucia a chance to make Team USA for the World Juniors in late December. He took part in the evaluation camp earlier and had a realistic chance to make the roster before his injury.

Mario, for his part, seems to be taking tonight's game in stride.

Finally get to put on the Irish jersey. About time. Here we go. #irish

- Mario Lucia (@MLucia2293) November 15, 2012

Notre Dame (6-3-0, 3-1-0-0 CCHA) and Michigan (4-4-1, 2-3-1-1 CCHA) play tonight on CBS Sports Network (check out the listings here) at 7:30 p.m. ET.