With the overtime loss still in the back of its mind, No. 1 Michigan (10-4-0, 5-3-0 Big Ten) came out swinging in its second matchup against No. 14 Notre Dame (10-3-0, 4-2-0 Big Ten). A high tempo game from the start, the Wolverines looked to redeem themselves after Friday night. But it wasn’t their night, losing 5-4 in overtime.
Michigan had many chances in the first period, outshooting the Fighting Irish 8-5. It came together when freshman forward Mackie Samoskevich found the puck at the center of Notre Dame’s defensive zone and shot it off the post. Senior forward Michael Pastujov was in the right place and buried the rebound for the 1-0 lead.
The period advanced as sophomore defenseman Steve Holtz carried the puck along the right wing. Passing it towards the center, Samoskevich rifled off a shot and sophomore forward Thomas Bordeleau put away the rebound.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Fighting Irish came back with a quick response goal. The Wolverines ended the period up 2-1, with a long time left in the game.
One minute into the second period, Notre Dame ripped a shot off sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo’s pads leading to a back post rebound. As junior forward Nick Granowicz limped off the ice, the Fighting Irish scored another goal. After Portillo passed the puck to an opponent, the player skated around the net and scooped it around the post, giving Notre Dame its first lead of the night.
“That’s the risk you take when you wander out of the net,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “There’s probably a couple he would like back tonight. I don’t want to say that’s his weakest performance of the year but it might be.”
Soon after, freshman forward Dylan Duke did something similar. Duke wrapped the puck around the goal post and senior defenseman Nick Blankenberg pushed it past the line.
As the period came to an end, the Wolverines committed too many penalties. With junior forward Johnny Beecher already in the penalty box, Holtz hit a Fighting Irish forward at the top of shoulders and drove him into the boards. He earned a major penalty and Michigan was left with four players on the ice. It didn’t stop there, though.
Blankenberg chopped at an opponent’s knee and joined the crew in the box. The score showed 3-3, with three Wolverines out of the game. As Michigan struggled to defend the power play, Notre Dame scored its fourth goal.
“They got the goals they needed to get,” Pearson said. “Either one of those games could’ve gone either way. It’s when you get into that three on three it’s tough. We give them credit that they found a way to come in here and get some points.”
Although the Wolverines led in shots, Michigan ended the second period down 4-3.
The Wolverines outshot the Fighting Irish 6-1 in the first 10 minutes of the third period, but nothing found the back of the net. Six minutes left in the period, Bordeleau shot through the Notre Dame goaltender’s gloves and scored his second of the night.
In the final minutes of regulation Michigan had the edge — putting the pressure on the Fighting Irish’s defensive line and dominating possession. It wasn’t enough and the game headed into overtime for the second night in a row. An even display by both teams, Notre Dame scored with one and a half minutes left.
Fighting Irish forward Max Ellis shot the puck low under Portillo’s left pad and it trickled past the line for the golden goal victory.
“We’ve got to be able to play with the lead,” Pearson said. “We went up both nights 2-0 and that’s disappointing. 2-0 both games and we let them back in within a minute … that’s an area we’ve got to learn from and talk about.”
As the Wolverines dispersed off the ice, Notre Dame crowded together in front of a silent Yost. For the first time this season, Michigan was swept.