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January 22, 2012 - 12:20pm

Behind embattled power play, Michigan downs Notre Dame to salvage split


SOUTH BEND — The Michigan hockey team made a startling discovery in South Bend.

Apparently, the power-play unit is actually allowed to score. Like, even multiple times.

After surviving an early Notre Dame flurry in of Saturday’s finale against the seventh ranked Fighting Irish, Michigan lit the lamp twice with two power-play goals to earn a 2-0 lead. The lead would hold up for the remainder of the game.

From the opening faceoff, Notre Dame played with the physicality that made Friday’s contest especially chippy. The Irish peppered shots on fifth-year senior goalie Shawn Hunwick, one of which clanged off the post, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Meanwhile, Michigan could muster only one shot in just under half on the first period.

That changed in the 12th minute with a picturesque goal by freshman forward Alex Guptill. On the power play, senior defenseman Greg Pateryn sent in a shot from the blue line that Guptill picked out of the air to redirect into the goal.

With under a minute remaining in the period, junior forward A.J. Treais fired a wrister from the bottom of the circle for Michigan’s second power-play goal of the night.

The Wolverines tallied a power-play goal last night and hadn’t converted on a chance with the man advantage since the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 30.

Notre Dame answered quickly in the second period. Slightly over one minute into the frame, Notre Dame forward Anders Lee sent a pass across the crease to forward Austin Wuthrich, who one-timed a shot into the back of the net.

With three minutes remaining in the second frame, the Wolverines failed to convert on an opportunity handed to them on a silver platter. Brown and Guptill found themselves on a 2-0 break with no defenders near the zone. After several passes, Brown sent a puck just out of reach of Guptill. The pair didn’t manage a shot on the chance.

In the third period, Michigan clung to a one-goal lead when it picked up a penalty early in the frame. It killed the penalty and thwarted the Notre Dame offense for the rest of the game.

Hunwick made several key saves and watched helplessly on multiple other occasions as pucks narrowly missed the cage. Early in the period, Hunwick deflected a goal-ward puck that he sent floating slowly through the air.

It landed just on top of the net, about an inch away from becoming the equalizing goal.

With the win, Michigan moves to fourth place in the CCHA, jumping Notre Dame.