Hockey preview: Everything you need to know about Notre Dame's weekend series at No. 1 Michigan

By John Fineran
ND Insider

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-3-0, 2-2-0 Big Ten) vs. Michigan Wolverines (10-2-0, 5-1-0 Big Ten)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Where: Yost Ice Arena (6,637), Ann Arbor, Michigan

TV: None

Streaming: Big Ten+

Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and UND.com

Rankings: Michigan is ranked No. 1 in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) and USCHO.com (media) polls. … Notre Dame No. 15 in coaches’ poll and No. 14 in media poll.

Notre Dame's Max Ellis (21) tries to get past RIT's Jake Joffe (9) during the Notre Dame vs. RIT NCAA hockey game Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend. Ellis leads the Irish in scoring this season with 14 points.

Recaps

Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish on four-game winning streak after sweeping Wisconsin 5-1 and 3-0 at Compton Family Ice Arena last weekend. … Coach Mel Pearson’s Wolverines also riding four-game winning streak after 5-1 and 6-2 sweep at Penn State last Thursday and Friday.

Rivalry

Michigan leads series 82-65-5, including 42-30-3 in Ann Arbor. … During last two seasons, visiting team has swept all four series. … In 2019-20 season, Michigan swept at Notre Dame 3-0 and 3-1 in January but Irish returned favor at Michigan 2-1 and 3-0 in February. … Last season, Irish won 3-2 and 2-1 in Ann Arbor in November but Wolverines scored 5-1 and 3-1 victories in January at Compton. … Michigan will visit Notre Dame Feb. 25 and 26 to end regular season.

Scouting Irish

Junior right wing Max Ellis leads Irish in scoring with seven goals, seven assists and 14 points and leads nation with two shorthanded goals. … Ellis plays on line with junior center Solag Bakich (3-7-10) and junior left wing Jesse Lansdell (2-3-5). … Second line is centered by senior Graham Slaggert (4-2-6) with junior left wing (and brother) Landon Slaggert (4-4-8) and junior right wing Trevor Janicke (5-3-8). … Seniors Nick Leivermann (3-4-7) and Spencer Stastney (0-7-7), grad-transfer (from Connecticut) Adam Karashik (0-6-6) and freshman Jake Boltmann (1-5-6) lead the defense. … Grad-transfer goalie Matthew Galajda has won four straight games, is 7-1-0 in eight starts with a 1.38 goals-against average and .943 saves percentage. … He earned Big Ten Third Star of Week honors for his performance against Badgers that included his second shutout of season (and 21st of his career including 19 at Cornell). … Irish in NCAA team stats: Offense (3.64 goals per game, 11th); Defense (1.73, 6th); Scoring Margin (1.91, 6th); Penalty Kill (0.953, 41 of 43, 1st); Power play (0.150, 6 of 40, 41st). 

Scouting Wolverines

Five current players were taken in the first round of July’s NHL Draft – defenseman Owen Power (1st overall by Buffalo), center Matty Beniers (2nd by Seattle), defenseman Luke Hughes (4th by New Jersey), left wing Kent Johnson (5th by Columbus) and right wing Mackie Samoskevich (24th by Florida). … Michigan’s top line is all sophomores – leading scorer Johnson (4-16-20), Beniers (9-6-15) and right wing Brendon Brisson (8-5-13). … They’ve also scored 12 of the team’s 15 power-play goals (Beniers 6, Brisson 4, Johnson 2). … Sophomore Thomas Bordeleau (3-9-12) centers third line. … The top defensive unit is 6-foot-5, 214-pound sophomore Powers (3-15-18) and senior Nick Blankenburg (3-1-4). … Sophomore Hughes (6-7-13) is paired with classmate Jacob Truscott (1-6-7). … Sophomore Erik Portillo (6-foot-7), a native of Sweden, has played in all 12 games, has 2.08 goals-against average and .927 saves percentage with one shutout. … Beniers (3-3-6) and Powers (1-5-6) were Big Ten First and Second Stars after their performances at Penn State. … Wolverines in NCAA team stats: Offense (4.33 goals per game, 1st); Defense (2.17, 12th); Scoring Margin (2.17, 3rd); Penalty Kill (0.837, 41 of 49,21st); Power play (0.312, 15 of 48, 3rd).

Quoting Jeff Jackson

(Michigan) “They are probably as talented a team as I can ever remember at Michigan. Top to bottom, every position they are loaded. That’s the biggest challenge – their depth. They have four good lines upfront, and they are not a whole lot different on the back end. They are as deep a team as there is in college hockey.”

(Keys to winning) “You have to do a good job staying disciplined because their power play is exceptional. You need to do a good job managing the puck because they are very good on transition. Those are big factors for us – to stay out of the penalty box, to play with discipline … short shifts … manage the puck well.”

(His team) “We’re playing very well now. We have to go in there and play our game. Since the Minnesota series, we’ve gotten better. We’ve improved in our own end defensively. That was a big factor, especially against Wisconsin. We’re starting to see some progress on the power play, but I don’t think we’re over the hump yet.”

— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent

BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Conference)

Pts, GP, W-L-T, OW-OL, SW, GF-GA

Michigan 15, 6, 5-1-0, 0-0, 0, 26-11

Minnesota 13, 6, 4-2-0, 0-1, 0, 19-12

Ohio State 12, 6, 4-2-0, 0-0, 0, 19-11

Notre Dame 6, 4, 2-2-0, 0-0, 0, 11-8

Wisconsin 5, 6, 2-4-0, 1-0, 0, 10-20

Michigan State 3, 4, 1-3-0, 0-0, 0, 7-16

Penn State 0, 4, 0-4-0, 0-0, 0, 6-20

(Overall, W-L-T, .Pct, GF-GA)

Michigan 10-2-0, .833, 52-26; Minnesota 7-5-0, .583, 40-31; Ohio State 7-3-0, .700, 34-17; Notre Dame 8-3-0, .727, 40-19; Wisconsin 4-8-0, .333, 20-40; Michigan State 6-5-1, .542, 27-31; Penn State 6-5-0, .545, 36-35.

Friday, Nov. 19 schedule

Notre Dame at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.

Wisconsin at Michigan State, 7 p.m.

Penn State at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20 schedule

Notre Dame at Michigan, 8 p.m.

Wisconsin at Michigan State, 8 p.m.

Penn State at Minnesota, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 schedule

Penn State at St. Thomas, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 23 schedule

Penn State at St. Thomas, 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 25 schedule

Boston College at Notre Dame, 5 p.m.

Mercyhurst at Ohio State, 5 p.m.

Minnesota at North Dakota, 8 p.m.

Niagara at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.

Clarkson at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 26 schedule

Mercyhurst at Ohio State, 5 p.m.

Clarkson at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.

Niagara at Michigan, 7 p.m.

Minnesota at North Dakota, 7 p.m.