ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For the second night in a row, Michigan’s power play was unstoppable.
Chad Kolarik scored two with the man advantage and Andrew Cogliano added another in No. 3 Michigan’s 4-2 win over Notre Dame, sweeping the weekend series. Michigan had previously netted four goals on the power play Friday night in an 8-5 win in South Bend.
“You have to compliment Michigan’s power play,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “A lot has to do with their talent out there, and they’re just clicking right now. I’m sure they’ll be some point in time where they’ll go into a slump, but unfortunately we won’t be there to enjoy it.”
While Kolarik credited luck as part of the reason Michigan’s power play is so lethal this season — the Wolverines have scored a power-play goal in each of their eight games — he also pointed to the Wolverines’ talented roster.
“You can pretty much put all 23 guys out there on the power play and we all can do something,” Kolarik said.
Cogliano gave Michigan the lead five minutes into the game with his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Andrew Ebbett circled all the way around the back of the zone before finding Cogliano open at the right point. Cogliano skated into the right faceoff dot before unleashing a slapshot that slipped through Jordan Pearce’s five-hole.
Cogliano, a freshman, extended his point streak to six games, after being held scoreless the first three games of the season.
“The first few games, I was just getting adjusted to the game itself,” Cogliano said. “But then I got a little luck going, got some goals and points rolling, and I just built some confidence. It’s going well right now — I’m playing hard, getting chances and burying them.”
Like Cogliano, Kolarik is also starting to build momentum. He scored his first goal of the season Friday and netted two more for the Wolverines Saturday. With just five seconds left in the first, Kolarik knocked a Jack Johnson rebound past Pearce to send the teams to the dressing room tied 2-2.
The Wolverine power play converted again on the game winner with five minutes left in the second. Cogliano threaded a perfect pass across to Kolarik, who buried his one-timer in the empty side of the net for his second of the game.
But while Michigan dominated special teams, Notre Dame had the better of play five-on-five. The Fighting Irish kept the Wolverines hemmed in their own end for extended periods of time, but goaltender Billy Sauer kept the score close until Michigan broke out late in the second.
“Obviously, we have to play better hockey as a team,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “And I can’t make excuses, whether it’s a lot of new players, or not jelling, or not putting our chances in — it’s a part of the game we’re concerned with.”
Notre Dame controlled play in the first, stunning the Yost Ice Arena crowd with a goal just two minutes after Cogliano’s initial tally when Matt Amado capitalized on a scrum in front of the Michigan net. Sauer made the first stop on the rush, but Amado found the puck amidst chaos to push it by the Wolverine netminder.
Notre Dame continued to pour on the pressure, keeping Michigan running around in its own zone. Midway through the period, Michael Bartlett rocketed a shot from the left half boards that sneaked between Sauer’s right shoulder and the post.
But the Fighting Irish couldn’t escape the period with the lead, when Kolarik netted his first.
Both teams seemed afraid of repeating the wild 8-5 shootout from Friday, buckling down defensively in the second. The difference came solely on Michigan’s two power-play goals.
T.J. Hensick scored Michigan’s fourth goal on a dazzling individual effort. Hensick curled the puck from behind the net, wheeled out front and backhanded a quick shot that eluded Pearce.
Notre Dame came close to drawing the game six minutes into the third, when a goal was negated due to the net coming off its moorings. Sauer also made two clutch back-to-back saves on Bartlett and Jason Paige with eight minutes remaining to solidify the win. He stopped 27 of 29 shots on the night.
With the loss, Notre Dame slipped to 1-5-0 overall.
“We’re making progress,” Jackson said. “It’s been a tough three weeks, and we should have won against Princeton. Playing in Denver, Colorado College and then coming back to play Michigan for two games — for a team that finished in 12th place last year, that’s a pretty tough schedule.”