After a weekend off, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returned to the ice on Friday night. At Yost Ice Arena, one of the true cathedrals of college hockey, they faced off with the no. 4/3 Michigan Wolverines in their 149th all-time meeting. Fourth year head coach Mel Pearson and his Wolverines came into the contest 4-0, having swept the Arizona State Sun Devils and Wisconsin Badgers, respectively.
Much of Michigan’s success throughout this young season can be attributed to their exceptional power-play. Entering Friday’s match-up, the Wolverines were 37.5% on the man advantage with six different players contributing. They found themselves on the power-play in the first thanks to a slashing call on Irish captain Nate Clurman. However, the Irish were able to kill off the penalty with only one true scoring chance for Michigan.
Midway through the opening frame, a Nick Leivermann wrist shot from just inside the right circle broke the scoreless tie. The goal from the offensive defenseman was the first time this season Notre Dame had scored in the first period.
In the second, Landon Slaggert created a turnover in the offensive zone which would lead to Clurman ripping a shot from the center point through traffic to make it 2-0 for his first collegiate goal. Seventy-eight seconds later, Grant Silianoff scored on a breakaway for the first collegiate tally of his own. The goal was set up by a Max Ellis extension pass after taking the puck away from Michigan forward Matty Beniers.
Now up 3-0, it should’ve come as no surprise that a Michigan offense averaging 9 goals per series was not going out without a fight. The Wolverines would finally get on the board with just over two minutes left in the second with a Luke Morgan goal, set up by Jacob Truscott. After two periods, the Wolverines had out-shot the Irish 22-15, but trailed by a score of 3-1.
Michigan’s momentum would carry over quickly into the final frame. The Wolverines got one early to cut the Irish lead in half when Michael Pastujov took advantage of a Notre Dame line change and put one past Ryan Bischel. Pastujov would have a couple more excellent scoring opportunities in the period but couldn’t get anything else past Bischel.
With just over two minutes left in regulation, Michigan pulled Strauss Mann for the extra attacker. Despite getting five offensive zone draws after yanking their goalie, it would not be enough, as the Irish kept the Wolverines off the scoreboard and earned their first win of the season.
Notre Dame: Nick Leivermann at 10:31 of the 1st, assisted by Michael Graham and Alex Steeves
Notre Dame: Nate Clurman at 06:13 of the 2nd, assisted by Graham Slaggert and Landon Slaggert
Notre Dame: Grant Silianoff at 07:41 of the 2nd, assisted by Max Ellis
Michigan: Luke Morgan at 17:48 of the 2nd, assisted by Jacob Truscott
Michigan: Michael Pastujov at 02:25 of the 3rd, assisted by Jack Summers
Notre Dame: Nate Clurman, 2 for slashing at 05:48 of the 1st
Notre Dame: Ryan Bischel stopped 32 of 34 shots to improve to 1-0-0
Michigan: Strauss Mann stopped 15 of 18 shots to fall to 4-1-0
Notre Dame takes on Michigan in the series finale on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET. The game can be streamed on BTNPlus.com