All good things come to an end.
Michigan has been one of the best teams in all of college hockey in 2020, and heading into their series against Notre Dame this weekend they were 8-1-1 this calendar year. However, all the momentum Michigan gained of late came to an abrupt halt during their final home series of the season vs. the Fighting Irish.
With the Wolverines in must-win mode to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, things looked good on paper heading into the weekend tilt with ND. Michigan swept them in South Bend in early January, but in this rivalry each team gets their licks in throughout the season, and it was ND’s turn to land the significant strikes.
In Friday’s game things remained scoreless through the first two periods, but the Irish scored two goals in a row and were up 2-0 in the final minutes of the game. Once Michigan sent goalie Strauss Mann to the bench for an extra attacker, UM finally got on the board with a Jacob Hayhurst goal.
CLIP: Hayhurst scores a goal for a 5⃣th consecutive game!!! pic.twitter.com/11wSBiUwyl— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) February 22, 2020
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the Hayhurst goal was the only one they’d muster and lost Friday’s game 2-1.
With Friday’s loss, Michigan desperately needed a win on Saturday night, which happened to be senior night. Just like Friday, the game remained scoreless through two periods. And just like Friday, it was Notre Dame who pulled ahead in the final period, scoring three goals in all. The Wolverines were shutout in Saturday’s game, losing 3-0.
Michigan now sits at 15-14-3 on the season and 10-10-2-1 in Big Ten play. Michigan is currently No. 5 in the Big Ten Standings with 33 points, just four points behind Ohio State and Minnesota, who are tied for 2nd place. Michigan will close out the regular season next weekend on the road against Minnesota before the Big Ten Tournament gets underway in early March. For the Wolverines to get into the NCAA Tournament, they’ll have to run the gauntlet and win the Big Ten Tournament to receive an automatic bid to the dance.