ND sweeps Michigan in road series
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 24, 2020
The Notre Dame hockey team swept the Michigan Wolverines this weekend at a series in Ann Arbor, successfully revenging a squad that beat them on their own ice earlier this season.
The Irish (14-12-6, 9-8-5-3) came into their matchup against the rival Wolverines (15-14-3, 10-10-2-1) after a disappointing weekend following a bye week against Minnesota, who tied the Irish in their first game and defeated them in the second. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were on a four-game winning spell after a sweeping series against Wisconsin and Michigan State. Although the Badgers and the Spartans are the two worst ranked teams in the Big Ten, they were surely ready to show Notre Dame the same game they had brought into Compton Family Ice Arena just over a month earlier.
Senior goalie Cale Morris would steal the show in the low-scoring battle that was the first game of the series. Morris would make his 100th appearance in net leading the Irish to a 2-1 victory on the first evening. Besides the one that snuck past him, Morris would stop 34 other shots from becoming goals during his 56th career victory, the third-most in program history. Fourteen of those 34 goals came in the final period as pressure was mounting on the Wolverine offense.
Both teams would struggle to find any offensive production, as the first game was still a deadlock as they headed into the final period. But just four minutes into the third, senior forward Cam Morrison punched in a trickling shot that had found its way past Wolverines sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann to put the Irish up by a goal with just about 15 minutes remaining. Sophomore forwards Alex Steeves and Michael Graham were credited with the assist.
Graham would come in with another nice pass a few minutes later when senior defenseman Tory Dello found him open in the corner, but defenders were quickly closing in. As Graham looked for an option, he spun around and served a pass that snaked between three Wolverine defenders to a trailing junior defenseman Matt Hellickson, who quickly fired a shot into the corner of the net that found twine, putting the Irish up 2-0.
Michigan was able to score with a minute left after they pulled Mann in favor of an extra attacker, but it was too little, too late for the Wolverines, and the Irish would seal the first game, 2-1.
The second evening in Ann Arbor went much the same way as the first. Both teams had not yet scored as they entered into the third and final period. Sophomore defenseman Spencer Stastney broke the ice with a goal just over 11 minutes into the third period. Morrison would add on another goal less than two minutes later, and Dello sealed the deal with an empty net goal to make the game a 3-0 Irish victory. The shutout marked Morris’ second this year and 10th of his career.
Next up, the Irish will close out their regular season with a series against Michigan State at home this weekend before they get ready for postseason play.