Saturday, January 5, 2019

Michigan 4, No. 6 Notre Dame 2: Hockey Night In South Bend with a Wolverine twist

Photo Credit: Michael Caterina- Tribune Photo

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

NOTRE DAME, IN— The No. 6 University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish decided “Let’s Take This Outside” and welcomed their rivals, the University of Michigan Wolverines.

As the name of the contest suggests, this game was not played in the Compton Family Ice Arena, but rather under the lights of historic Notre Dame Stadium. A Notre Dame record 23,422 fans attended Hockey Night In South Bend, which saw the Wolverines (7-7-6, 3-4-4-2 Big Ten) upset the No. 6 Fighting Irish (12-6-1, 5-4-0-0 Big Ten), 4-2.

“Overall, pleased with our team and some huge, huge points in the standings for us,” said Michigan coach Mel Pearson. “It’s been a while since we won so while they played well, we played hard.” Pearson was correct in how big the win was for the Wolverines, as they now move into a first place tie in the Big Ten with Notre Dame.

The Irish and Wolverines split a two-game series in Ann Arbor earlier this season. Michigan took the first contest by a score of 2-1 while Notre Dame avenged the loss the next day and came away with a 6-2 victory.

A mild, winter day in Indiana was a factor in the puck drop delayed by an hour. The universities decided to push the game back in the interest of player safety. The official temperature at puck drop was 49 degrees.

Once the opening face-off occurred, Michigan was able to get out to a fast start against No. 6 Notre Dame. At the 4:42 mark in the first period, Michigan’s Joseph Cecconi scored his second goal of the season from beyond Michigan’s own blue line. 16 seconds later, Michigan lit the lamp again with a Will Lockwood’s sixth goal of the season. Nick Pastujov picked up his fifth and sixth assists of the season, contributing on both goals.

Later in the period, Michigan was able to extend their lead to three when Nolan Moyle beat Cale Morris and found the net. Dakota Raabe and Luke Martin picked up assists on Moyle’s second goal this season.

The Irish cut the Wolverines lead to two when Cam Morrison netted a power play goal at the 5:30 mark in the second period. Morrison netted his seventh goal of the season with the help of captain Andrew Peeke and Bobby Nardella.

Morris and Hayden Lavigne were able to keep the teams from finding the net to keep the score locked at 3-1 for the remainder of the second period and well into the third period.

Notre Dame went with an empty net to gain an extra attacker with just over four minutes to play in the third period. The gamble paid off as Alex Steeves beat Lavigne off of the assist from Jake Pivonka to cut the deficit to just one goal.

With 11.3 seconds remaining in regulation, Michigan recorded an empty net goal from Raabe to secure the victory. Lavigne finished the contest with 30 saves on the evening.

Three Stars:

1) Hayden Lavigne (Michigan) – 30 Saves, Win
2) Dakota Raabe (Michigan) – Goal (3), Assist (3)
3) Cam Morrison (Notre Dame) – Goal (7)

Looking Ahead:

Notre Dame will remain in South Bend and will face the University of Minnesota in the Compton Family Ice Arena on Jan. 11 and 12. Michigan will return to the Yost Ice Arena to take on Merrimack on Jan. 8 before heading to Columbus to take on Ohio State on Jan. 11 and 12.