It wasn’t easy, in fact, it was a lot more exhilarating than the box score will lead you to believe, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish escaped Yost Arena on Red Berenson Night to remain the nation’s only team with a perfect road record. The #1 ranked Irish came up big against the Michigan Wolverines when they needed to, thanks to two early goals from the Irish powerplay and the outstanding play of goalie Cale Morris.
Earlier in the week, I made mention of the potential of these schools carrying their hatred on the football field onto the ice. This theory was on full display as things were chippy between the teams for all 3 periods. Things got started early with the Sanchez on Gilbert elbow to the head. This led to the first goal of the game as freshman defenseman Matt Helickson found the back of the net with 1 second left in the powerplay with the assists from Cam Morrison and Cal Burke. A second dirty play proved costly for the Wolverines as ND went back on the powerplay thanks to a boarding call on Adam Winborg near the halfway point of the first period. 1:04 into the powerplay, Andrew Oglevie capitalized thanks to a beautiful assist from Jordan Gross to give the Irish a commanding 2-0 lead. The goal was Oglevie’s 8th of the year.
After digging themselves into the hole of a two goal deficit, the Wolverines stepped up by consistently keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Tony Calderone scored his 15th goal of the season to cut the Irish lead to 1 at 15:52 on a goal from to liven up the unusually quiet Yost crowd. The third and final penalty of the game came at 17:05 in the first when junior forward Dylan Malmquist was called for slashing. While the ND penalty kill had a tough time keeping Michigan’s powerplay unit out of their zone, they prevented the Wolverines from scoring and Michigan would finish the night 0 for 1 with the man advantage.
The second period had a lot of back and forth offense, with neither team lighting the lamp. Michigan had a couple good scoring chances but Morris wasn’t making it easy for them. At the 2nd intermission, Michigan out-shot ND 22-20 and won 27 out of 41 face offs. This play carried into the 3rd period as the Irish and Wolverines were both getting scoring chances but to no avail. Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne played well until being pulled with 1:04 left to give Michigan an extra attacker. This electrified the Yost crowd, but the Irish defense stepped up when it mattered by not giving Michigan any serious looks at the net.
After a faceoff with .01 seconds left, the horn sounded and the Irish remain the only team in history to have never lost a Big Ten hockey game... ever. The win was their 14th straight, the longest streak in the nation, and made the treacherous walk back to the car in the subzero Ann Arbor weather not as bad, as I really didn’t want to start my One Foot Down hockey writing career 0-1.
The Irish improve to 17-3-1 and 11-0-0 in Big Ten play. Michigan falls to 8-9-2 and 3-6-2-1 in Big Ten play.
ND - Matt Hellickson (1) on the PP at 4:04 of the 1st with assists from Cam Morrison (9) and Cal Burke (4)
ND - Andrew Oglevie (8) on the PP at 9:55 of the 1st with assists from Dylan Malmquist (4) and Jordan Gross (13)
Mich - Tony Calderone (15) at 15:52 of the 1st with assists from Dexter Dancs (11) and Cooper Marody (22)
ND - Cale Morris stopped 35 of 36 shots, improves to 16-1-0
Mich - Hayden Lavigne stopped 25 of 27 shots, falls to 4-5-2
Mich - Jesse Sanchez, 2 for elbowing at 2:45 in the 1st
Mich - Adam Winborg, 2 for boarding at 8:51 in the 1st
ND - Dylan Malmquist, 2 for slashing at 17:05 in the 1st
1. Andrew Oglevie
2. Nicholas Boka
3. Cale Morris
Notre Dame heads home to Compton on Sunday to take on Michigan for the second game of the series. Puck drops at 3:05 PM EST and can be seen on NBC Sports Network.