The No. 1 ranked Michigan Wolverines’ ice hockey team had been dominant so far to begin the 2021-22 campaign. Holding a 10-2 record, with their only losses coming to Western Michigan and Wisconsin, the team hosted the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Yost Ice Arena for a two-game weekend series.
Needless to say, this weekend wasn’t all that great for Michigan thanks to game-altering penalties in both games, resulting in Michigan getting swept for the first time this year.
In Game 1 on Friday evening, penalties plagued the Wolverines throughout and eventually lead to their demise. With 1:48 left in overtime with the game knotted up at 2, senior forward Garrett Van Wyhe was given not only a major penalty, but also a game misconduct for hitting a Notre Dame player from behind.
The Irish had a 4-on-3 powerplay and took advantage just 24 seconds later, winning 3-2. Scoring for Michigan on Friday were Matty Beniers and Brendan Brisson. Erik Portillo was in net and played relatively well, giving up three goals on 39 shots.
If you look at the box score for Game 2, you would’ve thought Michigan dominated and won big. Well, I suggest you don’t look at the box score.
Things started off strong for the Wolverines Saturday night, having a 2-1 advantage at the end of the first period with goals from Michael Pastujov and Thomas Bordeleau, who finished with two goals on the night.
But it was a pesky second period by the Irish that allowed them back into the game. It took less than two minutes into the period for them to tie the game at 2, and then took the lead, 3-2, just a few minutes after that.
Michigan’s Nick Blankenburg evened it up at 3 about halfway through the second frame, but Notre Dame took the lead back with less than a minute before the intermission thanks to another five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for hitting from behind, this time from Steve Holtz.
Bordeleau notched his second goal of the evening in the third period to tie it back up. Despite the Wolverines holding the advantage in shots on goal (38-19) and faceoffs (32-20), they couldn’t find another goal in regulation and went to overtime searching for an answer.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they are unable to find that answer. With 1:31 left in the overtime period, the Irish found the back of the net and took the series. Michigan finished with 41 shots to Notre Dame’s 21.
After the weekend sweep, Michigan is now 10-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten, while Notre Dame improved to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten.
Just one week after being crowned the No. 1 team in the country again, the Wolverines will lose that title and look to rebound this upcoming week at home for a couple non-conference games against Niagara. Puck drop for Friday’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m., while Saturday’s is at 7 p.m. If you can’t make it down to Yost Ice Arena, both games will be available live on B1G+.