ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After Notre Dame’s Ryan Bischel and Michigan’s Strauss Mann kept the game scoreless for over 57 minutes in their respective goals, Spencer Stastney’s tally late in the third period led to an eventful finish that saw the Fighting Irish post a 2-1 win to sweep third-ranked Michigan at Yost Ice Arena on Saturday night.
Notre Dame evened its record at 2-2-0 on the season (2-2-0-0-0-0 B1G), while Michigan is now 4-2-0 (2-2-0-1-0-0 B1G) on the season. Dating back to the 2018-19 season, Notre Dame has won a program-best five consecutive games at Yost Ice Arena.
“Obviously I am very proud of our guys after a tough opening weekend and then final exams, maybe focusing on hockey for the last week or so helped,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “To play a team with so much offensive firepower, they also do a good job trapping up the neutral zone so we had a hard time generating a lot of offense.
After Stastney’s first tally of the season at 17:46 of the third, Alex Steeves scored his first of the year at 18:29 on an empty net.
Michigan then answered with Jacob Truscott’s shot from the point finding a way through at the 19:16 mark. The Irish were called for a delayed penalty, enforced after the goal and the defense held the rest of the way, seeing off Michigan’s 6-on-4 advantage to come away with the sweep.
“It was nice to get that one goal with the Slaggert line out there and then the empty-net goal gave us enough breathing room, Jackson added. “We’re really excited now about moving forward and we can see if we can continue to get better.”
The Irish outshot Michigan 31-24, with Bischel totaling 23 saves to earn his second consecutive road win. Mann ended up with 29 saves.
Notre Dame was 0-for-2 on the power play, though one chance was an abbreviated power play, while Michigan was 0-for-3.
How It Happened
The teams played a scoreless first period, which included the Irish outshooting the Wolverines 7-4 even though Michigan had the period’s lone power play.
Colin Theisen and Alex Steeves forced Mann into his best saves of the first 20 minutes, with Bischel flashing his glove to deny Michael Pastujov on Michigan’s best look.
In a more wide open second period, both Bischel and Mann continued to keep the game scoreless. With the teams skating four-on-four Mann denied Graham Slaggert at the far post after a Max Ellis pass on an odd-man rush.
The Irish also got their first two power-play chances of the series in the second but despite looks from Stastney, Theisen, Alex Steeves and Michael Graham they could not solve Mann. Michigan scored at the end of the very end of the period, but time had expired and the teams headed to the locker room still knotted at 0-0.
After two periods, the Fighting Irish were outshooting the Wolverines 18-17.
Notre Dame came out with the pressure in the third, at one point owning a 10-3 shots on goal advantage for the period, but still could not solve Mann. The chances included a two-on-one for Jake Pivonka and Stastney, a great look by Janicke off a Graham Slaggert drop pass and a Graham wrister from the slot.
Bischel answered the bell to keep things scoreless with 5:31 when he denied Brendan Brisson alone in front.
- Seniors Matt Hellickson and Colin Theisen skated in their 121st-consecutive games, dating back to the first game of their freshman season.
- Ryan Bischel posted the first two road wins of his Irish career in the weekend sweep.
- For the weekend, Bischel stopped 55 of the 58 shots he faced for a .948 save percentage to go along with a 1.50 goals against average.
- Notre Dame owns a five-game winning streak at Yost Ice Arena for the first time in program history.
- Prior to this weekend, Notre Dame’s last sweep of a top-10 opponent was Nov. 8-9, 2019 vs. #8/9 Ohio State.
- Alex Steeves scored his third career game-winning goal.
- Notre Dame’s five goals in the series were scored by five different players, while 10 players had at least one point.
- The Fighting Irish begin a six-game homestand to close out the opening portion of their 2020-21 schedule, beginning with a two-game non conference series versus Arizona State on Thursday, Dec. 3 (NHL Network) and Friday, Dec. 4 (NBCSN).
- Both games at the Compton Family Ice Arena will begin at 7 p.m.