With a weekend series in South Bend, Indiana against the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Michigan hockey team knew they could gain a lot of momentum with a sweep over their rival.
Momentum is precisely what they acquired during the two-game series.
On Friday night the Wolverines got off to a fast start with a first period goal by Nick Pastujov and never looked back.
Nick Pastujov with a in each of the last ✌️games!— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 11, 2020
Watch now on NBC Sports pic.twitter.com/9x9yrYxdcf
The Irish outshot the Wolverines 32-18 on Friday, but Michigan found the back of the net three times, while ND failed to do so. Michigan goalie Strauss Man engineered a shutout and thwarted a few impressive efforts from Notre Dame to secure Michigan’s victory.
Game No. 2 on Saturday started in a different manner for the Wolverines, they trailed 1-0 after the 1st period. The 2nd and 3rd period, however, belonged to the Wolverines. Mann ended up saving 25-of-26 shots, and the Wolverines picked up goals from Nick Blankenburg and Jack Summers in the 2nd to put Michigan up 2-1. Michigan would end up winning 3-1 after Jake Slaker notched an empty net goal with 20 seconds left in regulation.
Summers— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 12, 2020
Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1 pic.twitter.com/MaLL7RHdjt
The sweep was Michigan’s first on the road since January 2018. “It’s about time,” head coach Mel Pearson said after the game.
The sweep over Notre Dame helped Michigan out tremendously in the Pairwise Rankings, moving up to No. 32.
The 9-11-2 (4-7-1-0 in Big Ten) Wolverines have another big road series this weekend against No. 5 Pairwise ranked Penn State (16-6, 8-4 in Big Ten).