It was a good day for Michigan Wolverines athletics. First, Michigan basketball beat Ohio State, and hours later the U-M hockey team was victorious over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
No. 18 Michigan won both games against No. 1 Notre Dame this weekend, and appear to be a lock to be the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and receiving a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan won in South Bend on Friday 4-2, and tonight Michigan won 1-0. This is the first time Notre Dame has been swept in a series in two years.
The game showed how good of a defense Michigan has, and Notre Dame showed their defensive prowess as well. Both teams have the same type of scheme, they play good defense and create their offensive opportunities by capitalizing from offensive mistakes by the other team.
The lone goal came from Michigan Center Tony Calderone late in the second period. Calderone was assisted beautifully on the play by a Cooper Marody pass. Calderone fired a strike into the net and it was the lone mistake committed by Fighting Irish goalie Cale Morris.
Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne recorded his third shutout of the season, and a shutout was necessary tonight for Michigan to be victorious. In the final three minutes of the game Notre Dame had an onslaught of fierce shots Lavigne defended. It wasn’t easy, but he get the job done.
There were two shots by ND in the final minutes that Lavigne caught breaks on. A shot by Cam Morrison hit the post, and With less than two minutes left Andrew Oglevie he had a clean lane to poke the puck into the net up close but his attempt went wide and ND players and coaches put their hands on their heads.
In all, there weren’t a lot of mistakes made by either team. The Wolverines may be the third youngest team in college hockey, but they don’t play like it, and have now beat the No. 1 team in the country in back to back games. That’s an impressive feat, and may give them great momentum and confidence heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan will likely rise in the rankings big time after beating the #1 team twice, and showed they are as good of a team as the Fighting Irish are. From the way the teams play, to the amount of shots fired at one another over the weekend (73-71 Michigan), to their head to head W-L this season (tied 2-2). At this point, it would be a shame if they don’t meet again in 2018.
Michigan’s coach Mel Pearson has this team playing at a high level. It should be an interesting month of March for Michigan hockey, and their games are becoming must-see events.