March 10, 2012 - 6:36pm
BY LIZ VUKELICH
Earlier this week, Michigan coach Red Berenson said scoring the first goal could be critical in determining the course of the game. Michigan took the momentum just over a minute in — but couldn't do anything with it for the rest of regulation play. Or the first 20 minute overtime period.
The night ended early in double overtime, when junior forward Chris Brown sent a quick snipe into the net to capture the 2-1 win and send the Yost Ice Arena crowd into a frenzy.
But it started earlier — much earlier — with Michigan's first shot of the night.
Junior forward A.J. Treais knocked the puck away from the Irish in the neutral zone, where freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe took the puck to the net. His shot was slowed down by Notre Dame netminder Steven Summerhays and bounced off the post, where senior forward Luke Glendening tapped it in to give Michigan the first lead of the night.
The Wolverines were the first to score, but also the first to go on the penalty kill — Notre Dame is known for having some of the fewest penalty minutes in the conference. Junior defenseman Lee Moffie — one of the Wolverines’ best penalty killers — went to the box midway through the first frame. But the Irish didn’t get any good looks on net, and Michigan came out unscathed.
The second period remained scoreless, though the Wolverines had perhaps the best look of the period, with a three-on-one rush. Freshman forward Alex Guptill had breakaway opportunity with no Irish defensemen in sight. He dished the puck to senior forward David Wohlberg whose shot from the crease hit the cross bar. The play went under review, but stood as called.
But most of the stanza belonged to senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick who came up with nine saves on various Notre Dame breakaways. The second frame also gave Michigan three power play attempts.
For all of the Wolverines’ power plays, they start the final period on the kill. And though they didn’t score, it was much more productive than its first attempt — freshman forward Travis Lynch’s shot went wide, and sophomore defenseman Derek DeBlois had a great hustle play to knock a lose puck away from Hunwick.
Michigan couldn’t keep hold of its lead forever, and Hnwick could only make so many big saves. With eight minutes left in the game, the Irish brought the puck down to Michigan’s zone. Notre Dame couldn’t finish on its first attempt, a fake, and Hunwick made the save. But the Irish took control of the puck again, and Hunwick was screened by freshman defenseman Brennan Serville and the puck beat him gloveside. Michigan couldn't find the equalizer, sending the game into a sudden-death overtime period.
Overtime started with a frenzy around Summerhays, and a Notre Dame penalty. The Wolverines easily dominated the overtime period, keeping it in its attack zone. During the penalty, Michigan had two shots hit the posts, and continued to cluster around the goal, without finding the back of the net.
Play like that continued until the first 20 minute overtime expired. So the teams started again.
This time, it only took five minutes, and junior forward Chris Brown fired a wrister of Summerhays' shoulder to end the game after over 85 minutes of play.