Heading into this weekend’s home series against No. 11 Notre Dame, the Michigan hockey team is not only looking to overcome its one-point deficit in the CCHA, but also to get revenge for some past history.

Any senior on the team will say that his favorite memory of this rivalry came during his first year in Ann Arbor, when the Fighting Irish came to the Yost Ice Arena for a midseason contest.

It was a matchup of CCHA heavyweights — the then-top-ranked Wolverines were 20-2-0 heading into the matchup, and Notre Dame was ranked eighth. Down 2-0 heading into the second period, Michigan made a comeback to tie the game at two.

As the clock ticked down to overtime, then-freshman Louie Caporusso led a rush and shoveled the puck over the goal line with 20.3 seconds left to capture the victory.

“(Michigan coach Red Berenson) said that it was the loudest Yost he’d ever heard,” Caporusso said on Thursday. “… I didn’t realize we were getting a monkey off our backs, but we had lost to them three times the year before. But I guess that just made it extra special, and that’s why the crowd went so crazy.”

But none of the seniors like to mention their last appearance that season against Notre Dame.

Michigan went into the Frozen Four in Denver, Colo., still clinging to the top ranking. But the Fighting Irish took the semifinal game into overtime and ended the Wolverines’ season with a 5-4 victory.

Caporusso and his fellow seniors haven’t forgotten that memory either.

According to Caporusso, every game against Notre Dame (4-1-1 CCHA, 6-2-1 overall) since then has carried added significance.

“Anytime you play Notre Dame you get a little extra excited,” Caporusso said. “They’re in our league, but it feels like a special game every time. It doesn’t feel like they’re in your league. It’s definitely something you look forward to.”

Though players and coaches consider this a rivalry series, Berenson is quick to point out that things weren’t always so competitive.

“I think Notre Dame has become a good rival since (coach) Jeff Jackson got there,” Berenson said. “He really has got that team playing the way they should play. He’s made them a legitimate contender in our league, and so they are a natural rival. I can’t tell you it was a good rivalry before he got there, their team wasn’t as competitive, but boy, they’re competitive now.”

Michigan (4-1-1, 5-2-3) boasts a 69-47-5 all-time record in the matchup, but since Jackson’s arrival in 2005, the Fighting Irish have won eight of the 15 contests.

This weekend series is the only regular-season meeting between the two teams this year, but Berenson insists that it is too early to consider this a significant battle for first place in the league.

“This is our third series in the league, and there are seven more teams to play,” Berenson said. “But these are important games for us, they’re home games, they’re against a good opponent.

“These are big weekends, but it’s not just how you do this weekend, it’s how it impacts you down the road. Does it help you, or does it hurt you?”

That said, both Michigan and Notre Dame are coming off disappointing seasons, finishing seventh and ninth in the division respectively, and this six-point weekend could boost one team into the driver’s seat in the CCHA.

Yost is expected to be sold out, and Berenson wants his players to take a cue from the fans this time.

“Our crowd has been more consistent than our team, and our team needs to really embrace the home ice advantage that we have, or that we could have. … Still, when we start playing well our crowd is really into it, they just sense it, and we need to give our crowd support.”

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