No. 8 Michigan completed a statement sweep against No. 16 Notre Dame with a 3-1 victory against the Irish. The Wolverines won the series opener, 5-1, on Thursday.
Jay Keranen’s seeing-eye shot from the point with 7:55 remaining broke a 1-1 tie. Brendan Brisson netted an insurance marker exactly four minutes later.
Jay Keranen wrists one on goal and he is credited with the goal. Beecher and Ciccolini with the assists pic.twitter.com/y9MUlzhgxc
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 23, 2021
It was a game that Michigan controlled early on, scoring 1:21 into play on a Michael Pastujov shots that pinballed off a Notre Dame defender. The Wolverines then peppered the Notre Dame net with scoring chance after scoring chance only to run into Dylan St. Cyr (32 saves).
Michigan seemed comfortable, dominating play after Thursday’s 5-1 win. And for coach Mel Pearson, they maybe got a little too comfortable when Notre Dame took over in the second, evening the game on an Alex Steeves goal, his team-leading seventh of the season.
“We got off to a good start and we sagged in the second,” Pearson said. “You can get away from your game and start pressing. I thought we did that in the second period.
“They had a couple of wide open shots from the slot.”
For Michigan, the second period solution was goaltender Struass Mann (35 saves), who stopped 14 of 15 shots from the Irish, including a breakaway late in the frame.
“We got a chance to hang around and score,” Pearson said. “We got one more break than they did tonight. There wasn’t a lot of difference between these two teams.”
If there was a turning point in the third, it came after Michigan killed a Johnny Beecher boarding penalty. That kill seemed to elevate the Wolverines game leading to the late offensive success.
“We look at penalty killing as a chance to gain momentum rather than just sitting on our heels to survive,” said Pastujov. “Any time you can kill a late penalty, it can kill their momentum.”
The series sweep gives Michigan four straight wins and five victories in six since the calendar turned to 2021. Now, though, the Wolverines will have to wait two weekends before they return to the ice to play Wisconsin.
Though Pearson wishes his team could keep playing, there is plenty of areas to seek improvement.
“We’re pretty good in many areas, but we have to keep getting better,” said Pearson. “We have to work on our breakouts. They hemmed us in a little tonight.
“We’re making strides, we’ll get healthy, which is good. We have to make sure to use the days properly.”
Connecticut 3, No. 1 Boston College 3 (OT/UConn wins shootout, 2-0)
Trailing 3-1 late in the third, upstart UConn scored twice in the game’s final minutes to force overtime and, after a scoreless overtime, earned the extra Hockey East point as both Vladislav Firstov and Jonny Evans scored in a shootout.
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) January 23, 2021
Evans, in fact, forced the overtime with his extra attacker goal with 59.8 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the score at 3. That came after Marc Gatcomb cut the BC lead to one with 3:01 remaining.
Boston College jumped to a 2-0 lead on a first period goal by captain Marc McLaughlin and another tally at 12:37 of the second by Harrison Ray, his first collegiate goal.
Yan Kuznetsov scored for UConn at 2:43 to cut the lead to 2-1 only to have BC’s Casey Carreau respond at 5:38.
The two teams will rematch on Saturday in Storrs, Conn.
Bemidji State 3, No. 5 Bowling Green 1
Alex Ierullo’s goal at 5:50 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie as Bemidji State upset fifth-ranked Bowling Green, 3-1.
Brendan Harris scored an empty-net tally with 28 seconds remaining.
Senior goaltender Zach Driscoll made 32 saves for the Beavers
— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) January 23, 2021
The Beavers never trailed as Owen Sillinger broke a scoreless tie with 50 seconds remaining in the first period. Bowling Green’s Garrett Daly even the game at 6:12 of the second.
Zach Driscoll made 32 saves to earn the victory for the Beavers.