It’s better to be lucky than good and tonight the Michigan hockey definitely had their share of luck en route to a 5-3 victory over Notre Dame to split the weekend series.
Despite another strong start to the game for the Wolverines, for the second night in a row it was the Irish who struck first when Anders Lee found T.J. Tynan all alone at the left hash mark and he ripped a one-timer past U-M goalie Bryan Hogan 5:15 in to the game.
The Wolverines would tie the game at 9:42 of the opening stanza when Chris Brown fired a shot off the end board that was misplayed by Notre Dame behind the net. Luke Moffatt tried a wrap around that missed the net but found A.J. Treais at the back door all alone for the slam dunk.
The Irish would retake the lead with 6:38 left in the period when Lee grabbed a bouncing puck while coming in to the Michigan zone and slapped the puck past Hogan in to the far top corner of the net.
Notre Dame carried a 2-1 lead heading in to the second period. And then things got interesting.
At 10:28 of the middle frame, Greg Pateryn dumped the puck in to the corner. Carl Hagelin raced to get it and threw a pass out that deflected off a skate and Matt Rust picked up the puck in the right circle. He worked his way between the circles and fired a shot past Mike Johnson to tie the game, 2-2.
“I’ve been playing pretty garbage this season. Fighting confidence, just not getting the puck touches I want,” said Rust, who hasn’t scored since October 8. ”It’s good to have Carl back on my line. Obviously he’s sparked me before, and he and Lynch sparked me again tonight. Hopefully I can carry this confidence in to practice and next weekend.”
“He’s one of the guys who should be contributing offensively,” U-M head coach Red Berenson said. ”I know its bothered him probably more than it should, but it has and that’ll be a monkey off his back.”
Just 28 seconds later Jon Merrill fired a shot from the left side of the blue line that deflected in to the air and landed in the right circle. Chad Langlais grabbed it and fired it in to an open net. You see, EVERYONE on the ice had no idea where the puck was. They were all looking to the right, including Johnson, who was still positioned on the right side of the net. But it was Langlais way over on their left that had the puck and got a freebie of a goal.
“I don’t know what happened,” Langlais said. ”Everyone was looking the other way and it was an easy tap in for me. Lucky goal, felt good.”
Shortly thereafter, Calle Ridderwall ripped a shot off the post, then he and Rust would go to the penalty box for roughing after the whistle.
During the four-on-four the Irish re-tied the game. Tynan skated in on the right but got stood up at the line by Langlais. He still managed to push the puck ahead and it looked like it went off Langlais’ body and Joe Lavin scooped it up, went in alone from the right and beat Hogan five hole.
The Wolverines would break the tie with 3:33 left in the period on yet another oddball goal. Tristin Llewellyn got the puck at the blue line and flipped what seemed to be a harmless backhander that appeared to go off an ND player, off Carl Hagelin, and in to the net.
Michigan would take the 4-3 lead over to the third period and early on get another big break. Ridderwall came in to the U-M zone alone and both defenders doubled him up in the corner. But he still got the puck and found Ryan Guentzel all alone between the circles and he fired a shot wide of the net.
Then Luke Glendening went on a hitting spree, decking one Notre Dame player with a forearm then a few minutes later leveling Sean Lorenz at the blue line.
With 7:40 left in the third period, goofy goal #3 would come when Greg Pateryn fired a shot from the right point that went off a defender, popped up in the air over Johnson, who was already down from the initial shot, and landed behind him in the net.
“It’s the most puck luck I’ve seen in one game,” Berenson said. ”When you work hard, it’s amazing how lucky you might get, and we were lucky tonight, no question.”
The Irish had several chances during the last six minutes of the game as they spent nearly the entire time on the power play as the Wolverines were whistled for three minor infractions. But Hogan came up with some key saves and the defense bailed him out on others to preserve the two goal lead and victory. Hogan finished the game with 34 saves.
“I thought our team played harder tonight from the get go,” Berenson said. ”We liked the way we started last night, but we didn’t like the way we finished. I thought we played three complete periods tonight.”
The Wolverines will host Lake Superior State at Yost next weekend.