Site: South Bend, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)
Score: #14 Notre Dame 5, Michigan 2
Records: U-M (12-12-6, 8-8-4-2 B1G), Notre Dame (15-10-3, 8-8-2-2 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 22 — vs. Ohio State (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 7:30 p.m.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Michigan ice hockey team was unable to mount a comeback on Tuesday night, falling 5-2 to No. 14-ranked Notre Dame at Compton Family Ice Arena. The game served as the back end of the two-game series beginning on January 5 when U-M defeated the Irish outdoors at Notre Dame Stadium by a score of 4-2.
On the first shift of the game, the starting line of juniors Will Lockwood and Nick Pastujov alongside sophomore Jack Becker created an early chance before Lockwood was sent off for interference following a big hit behind the Irish net 27 seconds into the game. The Michigan penalty killers were able to get in shooting lanes and block several quality shot opportunities before Notre Dame opened up the scoring just 2:11 into the first period on their first shot on goal.
As Michigan began their first power play of the night following a Notre Dame high-sticking penalty, the puck was worked around the zone as they unsuccessfully tried to set up a backdoor one-timer. With 45 seconds left on the advantage, Pierce Crawford poked the puck away from a Wolverine defenseman at the point. Crawford sped off on a breakaway and flipped the puck past Hayden Lavigne to score his first collegiate goal and put the Fighting Irish up 2-0 with 7:57 left in the opening frame.
The Wolverines would threaten to cut the deficit several times, including a Jake Slaker wrist shot that rung off the crossbar, but couldn’t crack All-American goaltender Cale Morris.
The middle frame was filled with back-and-forth play that had both teams threatening to score. Jimmy Lambert had the best chance, a failed redirection off of a 2-on-1 rush, before Lockwood got the Wolverines on the board with an unassisted goal 12:33 into the period. After collecting a takeaway in the Michigan end, Lockwood skated up the ice and stickhandled through traffic just inside the ND blue line. The junior calmly deked before burying the puck for his 14th of the year past a sprawling Morris, cutting the lead to 2-1.
50 seconds later, the Fighting Irish re-established their two-goal lead. Two shifts after, UND’s centerman won a faceoff in the Michigan zone to the right of Hayden Lavigne. He pulled the puck back just enough for his crashing winger to pick it up and wrist it shortside to put Notre Dame up 4-1 with 5:52 remaining in the second period.
Three and a half minutes into the third, Michigan went on their second power play of the evening after Slaker was hit from behind into the boards behind Michigan’s new goaltender, freshman Strauss Mann. For the second time, the Maize and Blue PP units moved the puck around the zone efficiently with shooters constantly popping out to test UND’s goalie with one-time opportunities, but to no avail. The Maize and Blue are now just 1 for its last 27 on the man advantage.
Just over halfway through the final period, a long goal review took place after the Fighting Irish appeared to score while the Michigan net was being pushed off of its moorings when a netfront scrum bubbled over into the crease. After the officials conferred for several minutes, it was ruled “no goal” due to goaltender interference. With the game winding down, the Wolverines took back-to-back minor penalties. It remained 4-1 until Wolverine forward Garrett Van Wyhe picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated down to bury a shorthanded breakaway opportunity through Morris’ five-hole. Dakota Raabe picked up an assist on Van Wyhe’s fourth of the year which made it 4-2 with 4:11 left in the contest and 1:12 left on the penalty kill.
25 seconds later, Notre Dame converted for their second PPG of the night, cementing their lead and sealing the game at 5-2. Michigan finished with 38 shots to Notre Dame’s 30 but went 0-2 on the power play while the Fighting Irish were 2-6.
“We worked hard to try and get our goals and it just wasn’t our night tonight,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “I like both our goalies and how they played, however, it wasn’t our night. I thought we skated well for the most part.”
The Wolverines will be off this weekend (Feb. 15-16) on a bye before hosting rival Ohio State for the final regular season series of the year at Yost Ice Arena on Feb. 22-23. Be sure to stick around following Saturday’s game as we honor and thank the three seniors on Senior Night!