Michigan Hockey continued their winning ways this week, sweeping Notre Dame to secure their third and fourth victories in a row. The Wolverines haven’t won four consecutive games since they swept the first two series of the season against Arizona State and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Michigan took a while to get going before exploding for four goals in the second period. After both the Wolverines and Notre Dame added a goal in the third period, Michigan came away with the 5-1 win. On Friday, Michigan and Notre Dame were locked in a 1-1 tie until Nick Granowicz netted the go-ahead goal with 7:55 remaining in the third period. The Wolverines ultimately won by the score of 3-1.
Michael Pastujov is having a year
Coming into this season, there was a lot of hype surrounding Michigan’s bumper crop of electric freshmen. The freshman have lived up to expectations, with guys like Kent Johnson, Thomas Bordeleau, and Brendan Brisson contributing mightily to the Wolverines’ attack. But senior Michael Pastujov has also been having an excellent year. Pastujov leads the team with seven goals this season, already more than doubling his tally from last season and well on the way to eclipsing his previous season high of nine goals in his sophomore campaign. He also ranks fourth on the team in +/-. Pastujov opened the scoring for Michigan in the Friday game, finding and attacking open space like a veteran forward should.
Michael Pastujov from Owen Power and Thomas Bordeleau and less than 2 minutes in Michigan is on the board pic.twitter.com/SnRmTC7ll0— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 22, 2021
The goalies continue to come up big
Erik Portillo made his second collegiate start on Thursday and again looked very capable in goal. I don’t know if these starts are related to rest management for Strauss Mann or what, but Michigan has been well-served by Portillo when he’s in goal. He stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced and even picked up an assist on Cam York’s goal in the second period. In the Friday game, Mann put in a strong performance. There were a few precarious moments, and Mann was called upon to make some tough saves when Michigan turned the puck over, but he fought through to make 35 saves on the 36 shots he faced.
Strauss Mann FLASHES leather! pic.twitter.com/1A23jtI3dy— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 23, 2021
Michigan has a chance to string some wins together
Mel Pearson’s team has won four straight games, and five of six since the second half of the season started. Could the Wolverines be starting to hit their stride? There are opportunities ahead for Michigan to extend their winning streak and strengthen their position in the Big Ten and nationally. The Wolverines next play Penn State, a .500 club who has to face Notre Dame before traveling to Ann Arbor. After that, Michigan has Michigan State at home for one game and then a home series against Wisconsin before going on the road to Ohio State. With the Wolverines sitting at 10-6 (8-4), good for second place in the Big Ten, this home stretch against beatable teams could be just what the doctor ordered.
Michigan will be back in action on Wednesday February 3rd and Thursday February 4th against Penn State. Both games will start at 7:00 p.m. and the broadcast networks have yet to be announced.