Trevor Janicke’s late goal helps No. 8 Notre Dame to 2-1 victory, sweep of No. 2 Michigan
SOUTH BEND — In his 16-plus years as Notre Dame’s all-time winningest head hockey coach, Jeff Jackson has seen his share of highlights — four Frozen Fours, two runner-up finishes and eight conference championships.
After Saturday night’s 2-1 Big Ten Conference victory by No. 8 Notre Dame over No. 2 Michigan at a sold-out Compton Family Ice Arena, Jackson couldn’t have been prouder of a team, particularly with the grit and determination these Fighting Irish showed in finishing off one of college hockey’s most talented teams.
“The guys the whole weekend paid the price and did what was necessary to score a few goals,” Jackson said after his Irish finished off the regular season with their fifth straight victory and improved to 25-9 overall and 17-7-0 in the Big Ten for 47 points and third place. “We had great goaltending, great play by our defensemen, and our forwards played well defensively and took advantage when we had the opportunities offensively. Michigan is a very talented team, very skilled. We just gritted it out.”
On a night when Jackson and his staff honored 11 senior and graduate players after the game witnessed by a standing-room only crowd of 4,903 at the Lefty Smith Rink, it was junior Trevor Janicke who made the biggest play. Janicke hustled off the bench on a line change and sped to the slot where he pounded home a rebound of senior Spencer Stastney’s shot to beat Michigan’s 6-foot-6 sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo for the game-winner at 16:52 of the third period.
“Honestly, it’s still kind of a blur,” said Janicke of the biggest of his 13 goals this season which came a night after Notre Dame had beaten the Wolverines 4-1. “I just got to the net, found the puck in the crease and put it home.”
Fellow senior defenseman Nick Leivermann also got an assist on the winning play which was started by Notre Dame’s fourth line of freshman center Hunter Strand and freshman left wing Justin Janicke, Trevor’s brother, and graduate-transfer right wing Jack Adams exerting the initial pressure.
Then in the final 3:08, the Irish survived an onslaught by the Wolverines, whose lineup features four recent Olympians – Americans Matty Beniers and Brendan Brisson and Canadians Owen Power and Kent Johnson, all first-round NHL draft choices – and three other first-round NHL draft choices.
Michigan tested graduate-transfer goalie Matt Galajda seven times before a scrum to the former Cornell goalie’s left with two-tenths of a second left effectively ended the game. Galajda finished with 31 saves, five more than Portillo, and ended the game on the bench as Jackson substituted fourth-string senior goalie Conor Klaers for the final puck drop.
The loss sent coach Mel Pearson’s Wolverines home at 25-9-1 overall and 16-8-0 in the Big Ten for 51 points and second place behind regular-season champion Minnesota. The Golden Gophers finished off a weekend sweep of visiting Wisconsin with an 8-0 victory.
It was Notre Dame’s fourth line, with Strand finishing off a nifty 2-on-1 break with Justin Janicke that the 6-foot-6 Adams had started with his cross-ice pass, that gave the Irish a 1-0 lead at 7:12 of the second period. Michigan would tie it at 6:11 of the third period on a power play when Beniers’ slapshot goal off feeds from fellow Power ad Brisson deflected off an Irish player behind Galajda.
Notre Dame’s fourth victory of the season over Michigan — the Irish earned a pair of overtime victories in Ann Arbor back in November — saw the Irish finish with 20 blocked shots (to Michigan’s four). Freshman defenseman Jake Boltmann blocked five shots, while fellow freshman blueliner Ryan Helliwell and grad-transfer (from Connecticut) Adam Karashik had four each. Karashik had five for the weekend and increased his Big Ten-leading total to 77.
The Irish also had a 34-20 edge in faceoffs despite being outshot by Michigan 32-28.
Both the Irish and Wolverines will be home for best-of-three, first-round series when the Big Ten postseason tournament begins Friday night. Michigan will play host to Michigan State, while Notre Dame will welcome Wisconsin, the last team to beat the Irish back on Feb. 12 in Madison in a COVID-delayed series. Notre Dame won its other three games against the Badgers. The other series matches No. 4 Ohio State playing host to No. 5 Penn State.
If Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State all advance, the Irish and Wolverines could meet in a semifinal game in Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 12.
NOTRE DAME 2, MICHIGAN 1
At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
Michigan | 0 | 0 | 1—1
Notre Dame | 0 | 1 | 1—2
First Period—Scoring: None. Penalties: Michigan 1-2, Notre Dame 1-2.
Second Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Hunter Strand 8 (Justin Janicke, Jack Adams) EV 7:12. Penalties (total): Michigan 2-4 (3-6), Notre Dame 1-2 (2-4).
Third Period—Scoring: 2. Michigan, Matty Beniers 17 (Owen Power, Brendan Brisson) PP 6:11. 3. Trevor Janicke 13 (Spencer Stastney, Nick Leivermann) EV 16:52. Penalties (total): Michigan 4-8 (7-14), Notre Dame 2-4 (4-8).
Shots on goal: Michigan 32 (6-11-15), Notre Dame 28 (11-6-11).
Goalie saves: Michigan (26), Erik Portillo 26 (11-5-10); Notre Dame (31), Matthew Galajda 31 (6-11-14) and Conor Klaers 0 (x-x-0).
Power-play opportunities: Michigan 1 of 3, Notre Dame 0 of 6.
Faceoffs won: Michigan 20 (6-7-7), Notre Dame 34 (9-14-11).
Blocked shots: Michigan 4 (0-4-0), Notre Dame 20 (7-7-6).
Referees: Tony Czech and Brett DesRosiers. Linesmen: Dan Cohen and Pat Richardson. Attendance: 4,903 (4,850).
Records: Notre Dame 25-9-0 (17-7-0 Big Ten for third place with 47 points), Michigan 25-9-1 (16-8-0 Big Ten for second place with 51 points).
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Pts, GP, W-L-T, SOW, OW-OL, GF-GA
Minnesota 55, 24, 18-6-0, 0, 1-2, 90-50
Michigan 51, 24, 16-8-0, 0, 0-3, 91-59
Notre Dame 47, 24, 17-7-0, 0, 5-1, 74-55
Ohio State 42, 24, 13-9-2, 1, 1-1, 76-59
Penn State 20, 24, 6-17-1, 1, 1-1, 63-92
Wisconsin 20, 24, 6-17-1, 0, 1-2, 53-96
Michigan State 17, 24, 6-18-0, 0, 1-0, 51-87
(Overall, W-L-T, .Pct, GF-GA)
Minnesota 23-11-0, .676, 124-77; Michigan 25-9-1, .729, 135-79; Notre Dame 25-9-0, .735, 117-71; Ohio State 21-11-2, .647, 118-79; Penn State 15-18-1, .456, 107-112; Wisconsin 9-22-3, .309, 69-124; Michigan State 12-21-1, .368, 75-107.
Friday, Feb. 25
Notre Dame 4, Michigan 1
Penn State 5, Michigan State 3
Minnesota 5, Wisconsin 0
Saturday, Feb. 26
Notre Dame 2, Michigan 1
Michigan State 2, Penn State 1
Minnesota 8, Wisconsin 0
Saturday through Sunday, March 4-6
(7) Michigan State at (2) Michigan
(6) Wisconsin at (3) Notre Dame
(5) Penn State at (4) Ohio State