South Bend, IN -
The Michigan Wolverines hockey team (15-13-3) had a lot on the line Friday night in South Bend against the #1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-7-2). A win would just short of put them in the NCAA Tournament, and a loss could make those hopes fade. Hope is still very much alive, as Michigan pulled off a big upset and won the tilt 4-2.
This game showed what No. 18 Michigan is made of. U-M battled a top ranked team on the road in front of a sold-out crowd that was incredibly loud and rowdy. It was a “White Out”.
Chicago Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison got the crowd fired up before the puck dropped with his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and it put the fans in a frenzy as they cheered him on.
By the time the puck dropped, you couldn’t even hear the person next to you, even if they were shouting.
A rowdy Notre Dame crowd at the start of the hockey game versus Michigan pic.twitter.com/B7OSIM5PD8— Trevor Woods (@WoodsFootball) February 17, 2018
The Wolverines came out swinging in the first period, recording 17 shots to ND’s 6. In every facet of the game, U-M was bringing it to ND. In terms of physicality, speed, defense, and offense, Michigan was the better team.
Michigan scored two goals (Adam Winborg tip off a Quinn Hughes shot, Dexter Dancs) in the first period, and jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. But the second period provided power play opportunities for Notre Dame, and they cashed off them twice.
A Joe Wegwerth goal made it 2-1, three minutes later Tony Calderone answered back for Michigan, and near the end of the period ND’s Bobby Nardella scored on a power play, cutting Michigan’s lead to 3-2.
In the third period, Michigan added a goal by Michael Pastujov to make it 4-2. Late in the third Notre Dame scored a goal, but the play was reviewed for over five minutes with no replay being shown on the big video board. The call goal was disallowed because of a high stick re-directing the puck into the net.
There were many standout players in this game for the Wolverines, such as Cooper Marody, Quinn Hughes, Tony Calderone, and goalie Hayden Lavigne. Lavigne looked like a pro and was a savior that saved 34 of the 36 shots sent in his direction. Lavigne set the tone early when ND right wing Bo Brauer got in his face after a shot attempt, Lavigne got right back in his grill and the two had to be separated.
Michigan plays Notre Dame again tomorrow night in Ann Arbor, and if they beat the Fighting Irish again, it would be safe to say they can beat anyone on any given night once they get into the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Michigan hockey is for real, and now is a good time to get on the wagon.