Hockey arrives at Soldier Field

The tailgates were at full steam hours before noon. Snow covered gray slats dropped on the Soldier Field turf. And they dropped a rink in the middle of a football field.

Hockey arrived by the lake on Sunday, with four college teams taking part in the first Hockey City Classic. Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) battled first, with Wisconsin and Minnesota set to meet in the second game of the doubleheader.

Notre Dame emerged with a 2-1 win over Miami in the first matchup, cutting the front-running RedHawks CCHA lead to three points. Wisconsin then held on late to upend Minnesota 3-2 in the second game.

It's the first hockey event at Soldier Field and, possibly, a sort of dry run to see if the building can house an NHL Winter Classic involving the Blackhawks -- who skated at the venue with wounded military veterans on Saturday -- in the future.

As for the hockey, Notre Dame's Mario Lucia opened the scoring in the second period and then Jeff Costello added another tally early in the third period to provide a two-goal Irish bulge. Miami's Kevin Morris cut the deficit in half midway through the final frame, but the RedHawks couldn't equalize with the goalie pulled in the final minute or so.

In the second game, Wisconsin broke the game open with three second-period goals in a span of three minutes and change, tallies by Kevin Schulze, John Ramage and Sean Little to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Minnesota answered with a Seth Ambroz goal early in the third period and then a Zach Budish goal late, but could not find the equalizer with the goalie pulled late.

Twitter @ChiTribHamilton

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