Michigan Hockey returns from a long layoff to take on the rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Frozen Four from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
There is no love lost between these schools on any playing surface and this will serve as not only a palate cleanser from basketball’s loss on Monday night and those wanting to be held over until football season, but it also provides an opportunity to cap off what has been a pretty special season for Mel Pearson and his squad during his debut season behind the bench in Ann Arbor.
Here is the essential info for Thursday night’s showdown in the Twin Cities:
Who: No. 8 Michigan (22-14-3) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
When: Thursday, April 5, 9:30 PM EDT
Broadcast Info: ESPN2/ESPN app for streaming
- This is Michigan’s 25th appearance in the Frozen Four, the last coming in 2011 when they lost to Minnesota-Duluth in the title game
- The top three teams in the Big Ten are all in the Frozen Four with ND/U-M taking each other on and Ohio State playing in the first game against Minnesota-Duluth
- The Wolverines have not lost a game in regulation since Feb. 3
- Michigan and Notre Dame split the season seasons in a pair of home-and-home series, though the Wolverines swept their most recent weekend matchup with 4-2 and 1-0 wins in February
- This is Notre Dame’s second-straight appearance in the Frozen Four
Similar to what the concerns were for U-M basketball heading into the tournament, it will be interesting to see how the Wolverines on ice come out after what has been a lengthy layoff for them, as well, especially with how hot they have been the last two months of the season.
ND goaltender Cale Morris has a 1.91 goals-against average and leads college hockey with 26 victories and stopping 94.5% of the shots he sees. This is going to be tough to overcome and it may take one of those weird bounces to turn the tide of this hockey game for Michigan.
The Irish have won with goaltending and defense all season long and Michigan is going to need some of the best games we have seen from guys like Tony Calderone and Cooper Marody to get this one done. The good news for them is they have done it twice before and have played ND hard in all four games this season.
An Ohio State win in the first game of the night sets up the potential for a National Title showdown with the Wolverines if they are able to take care of business. Even the most casual of fans would come out of the woodwork to get their shots in for that one.