Site: St. Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center)
Event: Frozen Four (Semifinal)
Score: No. 1 Notre Dame 4, No. 2 Michigan 3
Records: U-M (22-15-3), ND (28-9-2)
Next U-M Event: Season concluded
- PAUL, Minn. — The University of Michigan’s ice hockey team dropped a heartbreaker to conference rival Notre Dame, 4-3, in a Frozen Four semifinal on Thursday night (April 6). In their 25th appearance in the Frozen Four the Wolverines tied the game at three apiece late in the closing period before the Fighting Irish found the back of the net with five seconds remaining to seal their trip to the title game.
Less than a minute into the contest, junior forward Cooper Marody was sent off for hooking. The subsequent penalty kill was successful and momentum shifted toward the Maize & Blue, who opened up the scoring several minutes later. Senior forward Dexter Dancs entered the offensive zone and found senior captain Tony Calderone in the corner. As Dancs cycled toward the goalmouth and provided traffic in front, Calderone skated to the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot short-side past several bodies in front to put the Wolverines up by one. With Michigan holding a 10-9 advantage in shots, they went to the locker room up 1-0.
17 seconds into the second frame, the “DMC” line struck again. Dancs threw a shot in the direction of the net from the half boards and it deflected off a Notre Dame defender’s shoulder past Mike Richter Award finalist Cale Morris’ glove to give Michigan a two-goal lead. Assists on the goal went to Calderone and junior defenseman Joseph Cecconi.
At the 2:41 mark, just nine seconds into its second power play of the game, UND found the back of the net after a blocked shot off the faceoff skittered out to a Fighting Irish forward who wasted no time before firing a shot past sophomore goaltender Hayden Lavigne. Under four minutes later, the Irish won another offensive zone faceoff and tied the game at two off of a slap shot from the slot. Lavigne came up big several times to keep the game knotted up after two periods.
Just 95 seconds after the puck dropped for the third period, Notre Dame seized their first lead of the game when a centering pass off of a rush was finessed across the goal line. ND’s tally marked the first time in the tournament that the Wolverines had trailed. The Maize & Blue were behind for half a period before freshman forward Michael Pastujov buried a loose puck in front of the crease to tie the game at three. His brother, sophomore forward Nick Pastujov, collected an assist on the tying goal along with freshman forward Jack Becker.
With overtime on the horizon, the Wolverines had an offensive zone faceoff with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Notre Dame won the draw and eventually broke the puck out of their zone. After skating down the ice and reaching the circle to Lavigne’s right, the Fighting Irish player found a teammate in the slot who was able to push the puck five-hole with just 5.2 seconds left in the tilt for the game-winning goal.
The loss marks the end of their Michigan careers for seniors Tony Calderone, Dexter Dancs, Cutler Martin, Sam Piazza and Niko Porikos, along with graduate student Alex Roos. The five seniors finished with an overall record of 81-58-11, captured the 2015-16 Big Ten Championship and earned two NCAA Tournament appearances.