College Hockey:
Michigan gets puck luck in win over Notre Dame

Pucks bounce. They bounced and then they bounced some more, off just about everything possible three different times for Michigan Saturday night.

Those bounces enabled the Wolverines to take a 5-3 decision from Notre Dame at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.

Michigan’s final three goals resulted from crazy bounces that went their way, one by Chad Langlais in the second period and then one each by Carl Hagelin and Greg Pateryn to help ice the Michigan win in the third period.

With score tied at 2-2 midway through the second period, Jon Merrill fired a shot from the left point that bounded off teammate Luke Moffatt’s shoulder high into the air. Everyone on the ice lost the puck except Michigan defenseman Langlais, who streaked in from the right point to plant the puck into the unguarded Notre Dame net at 10:56.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Langlais. “Everyone was looking the other way and it was an easy tap in for me. It was a lucky goal and it felt good. I think that when you’re working your hardest, you’re going to get some bounces your way. I think this was just a testament to how hard we worked all night.”

After Fighting Irish defenseman Joe Lavin tied the game back up at 3-3, Michigan had one more bouncing puck trick up their sleeves before the second period ended.

At 16:27, with his back toward the Fighting Irish goal, Wolverines defenseman Tristin Llewellyn backhanded a shot in the direction of the Notre Dame net. Hagelin was in the right spot at the right time. The puck deflected behind Notre Dame netminder Mike Johnson off Hagelin’s leg to give Michigan a 4-3 lead and the game-winner.

Defenseman Greg Pateryn completed Michigan’s trifecta of crazy goals at 12:20 of the third period with a shot from the right point that, again, bounced crazily in front of the net and somehow found its way past Johnson.

T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee scored first period goals for the Fighting Irish with an answer from Michigan’s A.J. Treais in the first and then Matt Rust in the second stanza before the puck-bouncing goals commenced.

Both team’s head coaches were quick to reference the crazy bounces after the game.

“We’re not the offensive juggernaut we were once and we’ve got to be a blue-collar lunch bucket hockey team,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We’ve got got to kick ‘em in, deflect ‘em in, bounce ‘em in and we did and that way, you find a way to win.”

“They scored three goals that must have bounced off 15 things,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. “It was a weird night in that regard.

“Bounces come for a reason. They worked extremely hard in the offensive zone and they got those bounces. I thought that we weren’t as sharp in our own end and, in that situation, that’s when those bounces happen.”

Even with the bad puck luck, Notre Dame had a golden opportunity late in the game to pull even with Michigan.

Three Wolverines minor penalties in the game’s waning moments provided the Fighting Irish with plenty of offensive chances to pull within one goal.

Three Wolverines minor penalties in the game’s waning moments provided the Fighting Irish with plenty of offensive chances to pull within one goal.

Despite pulling their goaltender to gain a six-on-four advantage, Michigan’s penatly killing unit and Wolverines goaltender Bryan Hogan held off the heavy Notre Dame offensive attack to secure the win.

“I thought our team played hard tonight from the get-go,” said Berenson. “We liked the way we started the game last night, but we did not like the way we finished. I thought we played three complete periods tonight, even though the momentum went back and forth.

“I thought our team responded much better to it whether we were ahead or behind. We had to hang on at the end of the game and kill the penalties, but, for the most part, we stayed out of the penalty box all weekend.”

For all the talk of bounces and lucky goals, the game was a splendid exhibition of hockey with few penalties overall, up and down play, hard hitting, good puck movement and a furious finish.

“It was a great game,” said Jackson. “We had lots of momentum.  Michigan’s depth caught up to us a little bit tonight. I thought we played well at times. It’s early in the year, but it’s two good teams.  I love playing in these types of games. It’s disappointing that because of our schedule the way that it is that we don’t play them again.”

The Wolverines’ victory pulled them back to within one point of Notre Dame in the CCHA standings.

Michigan (6-3-3, 5-2-1-0 CCHA) stays home next weekend to host fellow CCHA foe Lake Superior in a two-game set while Notre Dame (7-3-1, 5-2-1-1 CCHA) hosts Michigan State twice over the weekend.

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