SOUTH BEND, Ind. — After being defeated Friday, Michigan wanted to come out of the gate better in Saturday night’s contest against Notre Dame, looking to put more traffic in front of Irish freshman netminder David Brown.
The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, didn’t want to lose their last regular-season game at home — otherwise known as Senior Night.
They didn’t. The Irish defeated the Wolverines 5-2, riding the outstanding performances of Brown and their senior-laden defense, despite being dominated in the first two periods.
The second period was a whirlwind of activity, after Michigan exited the first down 1-0. The Irish took five shots on net in the second, and two ended up as goals.
Twenty seconds in, Wolverine sophomore forward Jeff Tambellini scored to bring the game even, and less than two minutes later, sophomore forward Andrew Ebbett managed to slide the puck behind Irish goalie Brown during a mad scramble in front of the net to give Michigan the lead.
Irish coach Dave Poulin called timeout to settle his team down, and after weathering the emotion the Wolverines brewed with their quick duo of goals, they came back.
Almost 16 minutes into the second period, Irish defenseman Neil Komadoski took a shot from the blue line through traffic, and the puck hit the back of the net to tie the game at two.
17 seconds later sophomore forward Matt Amado blasted a shot over Ruden’s shoulder to give the Irish the lead they held.
Early in the third, senior forward Rob Globke added a goal to give the Irish the two-goal cushion, and Cory McLean scored an empty-netter in the 17th minute to round it out.
“We had the game 2-1 and then two goals in one shift really got them going,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “From then on, the game was a close game. The next goal was a big goal, and we couldn’t get it.
“You look at the scoreboard and say, ‘Geez, you’ve got 41 shots on goal.’ We gave up too many too easily and they were hard to come by offensively. When you’re on the road, you’re not going to win when you give up four or five goals against.”
In the first period, the Irish only managed three shots on sophomore goaltender Noah Ruden, but the Wolverines found themselves down by a goal going into the first intermission.
A shot by sophomore forward Mike Walsh looked like it was going to miss the net, but went off a Wolverine defender’s ribcage and slid past Ruden for the first tally of the evening.
“Getting out of the first period up one-nothing was enormous, obviously,” Poulin said. “We talked before the game that Michigan was going to play tremendous in front of [Ruden]. He made some pretty good saves, and we couldn’t get to him.
“It was important that we not get frustrated. I think we got out of our game, totally, but we didn’t get frustrated, and then when they came back to 2-1, we had to stop the flow, and we did. … Then I thought in the last six minutes of the second period we played like we were capable of playing, and then the third period we were very good.”
“That was the challenge to our team — to give Noah a chance — and we did,” said Berenson. “But they still took the game away from us in the second and then we couldn’t get it back in the third.”
With the loss, the Wolverines again failed to clinch first place, and have two games against the Michigan State Spartans in the final weekend of CCHA play; Friday night is at Munn Arena in East Lansing with game time set at 8:05 p.m., while Saturday is at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The Irish have a two-game road series against the Lake Superior State Lakers in Sault Ste. Marie.