Facing CCHA-leading Notre Dame in the first game of a weekend series at Yost Ice Arena, the No. 9 Michigan hockey team couldn’t shake the monkey off its back and earn a Friday night win.
Before taking on the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish, the Wolverines had not won a Friday contest since an Oct. 8 game against Bowling Green. And in front of a sell-out crowd against Notre Dame, the story stayed the same, as Michigan fell, 3-1.
The teams wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. Notre Dame struck first at 16:59 of the first period, when forward Nick Larson scored off a wrist shot from the slot.
But just nine seconds later, directly off the ensuing faceoff, senior forward Carl Hagelin broke in alone on Fighting Irish goaltender Mike Johnson and buried the puck into the left-hand corner of the net.
From that point, the goalies took over the game. After two goals were scored on the first three shots of the game, the netminders pushed aside a combined 32 consecutive shots. Due to some defensive lapses by the Wolverines, senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick was forced to stop two breakaways in the first two frames to preserve the 1-1 tie.
But in the third period, Notre Dame scored the final two goals of the game.
After a shot hit the crossbar behind Hunwick and came to the other side of the ice, he lost track of the puck. It allowed the Fighting Irish to bounce a relatively poor shot over his pads from the side boards.
Nine minutes later, the Fighting Irish capitalized on a two-on-one attack to boost their lead to 3-1, which is how things ended.
Perhaps the most surprising factor from the night was that the Wolverines — the most penalized team in the nation — didn’t receive a single penalty. But their opponents picked up just two penalties themselves, and neither power play opportunity resulted in a shot for Michigan.
The loss boosts Notre Dame into a two-point lead in the conference, while the Wolverines fall back to third place behind Miami (Ohio), who beat Alaska (Fairbanks) on Friday night, 4-0.
The teams will be back in action on Saturday evening in Ann Arbor. Senior goaltender Bryan Hogan is expected to get the starting nod for the Wolverines, who are unbeaten when playing on Saturday this season.