ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There’s nothing unusual about No. 8 beating No. 13 by two goals, but the score of Notre Dame’s 3-1 over Michigan doesn’t tell the whole story.
“It was a weird game for me,” said ND coach Jeff Jackson. “I thought pucks were bouncing real funny. I don’t know if it was the ice conditions – I don’t know what it was. It was a funny game in a lot of ways. I couldn’t quite figure it out.”
Jackson might not have been able to put his finger on the source of the oddities, but in the end, Notre Dame came out on the right end of the funny business.
“They had a couple breaks they could’ve taken advantage of early in the game,” said Jackson. “And we got a few in the end.”
In this one, every goal was quirky.
The Wolverines took a 1-0 lead early in the first when Justin Selman intercepted Robbie Russo’s attempt to clear the puck from in front of the Notre Dame net.
The Fighting Irish tied the game early in the second when T.J. Tynan and Mike Voran created a shorthanded two-on-one break, with Voran putting away Tynan’s cross-crease pass.
Notre Dame’s go-ahead goal was Bryan Rust’s wraparound late in the third period, with Michigan goaltender Steve Racine so far away from the corner into which Rust tucked the puck that he barely made it back to the point of entry before the lamp was lit.
Then with less than two minutes to go in the game, the Irish recorded their third goal … which was scored by Michigan defenseman Mike Chiasson, who was trying to defend the open goalmouth, but instead redirected the puck into his own net.
For his part, Michigan coach Red Berenson pointed to the shorthanded goal as a deciding moment in the game.
“I liked our start,” said Berenson. “I thought we were starting to play better in the first period. I think that shorthanded goal in the second period really turned the game in the other direction. When you get your power-play guys out there and they get scored on, that’s a huge goal for a road team and they took advantage of it. I thought they carried the play the rest of the second period.”
Jackson expected the Wolverines to come out hard in the first following Michigan’s 7-2 loss to Michigan State last Saturday, Nov. 10.
“I thought that they had a lot of energy and we didn’t necessarily match it, especially in front of both nets,” Jackson said. “They had wide-open nets a couple times; they could’ve scored a couple more goals in the first. We were fortunate to get through that.”
When the bounces were going Notre Dame’s way in the third, Jackson said that the Irish didn’t do enough to maintain an attack.
“On the road, you have to be patient and try not to overextend yourself,” said Jackson. “I thought we did a much better job in the third period of not giving up a lot, but I also was concerned that we weren’t pushing the pace at all, either. I thought we were sitting back and I didn’t want us to sit back. I wanted to go for the win because it was one to one at the time. In one of the TV timeouts, I told them, ‘Let’s not play this game not to lose. Let’s play to win this game.’”
Steven Summerhays made 24 saves in his sixth win of the season, while Racine stopped 29 in his second loss.