Hockey preview capsule: Notre Dame vs. Michigan

Staff reports
ND Insider

WHO: Notre Dame (12-12-6 overall, 7-8-5-3 Big Ten) at Michigan (15-12-3 overall, 10-8-2-1 Big Ten).

WHEN/WHERE: Friday 6 p.m. and Saturday 4 p.m. at Gordon “Red” Berenson Rink in Yost Ice Arena (5,800), Ann Arbor, Mich.

TV: Big Ten Network.


RADIO: WZOC-FM (94.3) and

RECAPS: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish coming off 3-3 overtime tie (shootout loss) Friday and 2-1 loss Saturday to visiting Minnesota. … Coach Mel Pearson’s Wolverines won at Michigan State 5-1 Friday and beat Spartans 4-1 Monday at Lil Caesars Arena in Detroit.

RIVALRY: Michigan leads Notre Dame 80-61-5 following 3-0 and 3-1 victories in South Bend Jan. 10-11.

SHAVINGS: Wolverines are 8-2-1 since beginning of 2020 and have won four straight to jump into solo third place in Big Ten with 33 points, three behind co-leaders Minnesota (36) and Penn State (36) and two ahead of Ohio State (31) and four up on Irish (29). … In those 11 games, Michigan averaging 3.9 goals and allowing 2.2. … Left wing Jake Slaker leads Michigan in scoring with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) ahead of right wing Will Lockwood (8-12-20) with another four players (Nick Pastujov, Johnny Beecher, Jacob Hayhurst and Jack Becker) with seven goals each. … Freshman Cam York (5-11-16) and sophomore Nick Blankenburg (4-10-14) lead defense. … Sophomore Strauss Mann has 2.00 goals-against average, .935 saves percentage, 15-11-3 record and four shutouts, including shutout at Notre Dame Jan. 10. … Right wing Alex Steeves (9-13-22) and left wing Cam Morrison (8-14-22) lead Irish in scoring with Mike O’Leary (9-12-21) and Cal Burke (7-13-20) next. … Sophomore Spencer Stastney (2-14-16), junior Matt Hellickson (4-10-14) and sophomore Nick Leivermann (5-7-12) lead defense. … Senior defenseman Tory Dello has blocked 68 shots this season, second in country. … Senior Cale Morris has 2.65 average, .913 saves percentage, 9-11-6 record and one shutout this season.

POSTSEASON CHANCES: In the latest PairWise Ranking that mimics the criteria used by the selection committee to select the 16 teams for the upcoming NCAA tournament, Michigan stands 20th and Notre Dame is tied for 22nd with Michigan State. The tournament field will be announced Sunday, March 22.

QUOTING JACKSON: (Minnesota series) “The biggest disappointment for me is both nights we lost the lead in the third period. That’s something that’s been a hindrance all season long. … We have to be smarter. We can’t take bad penalties or make blatant turnovers.” (Playing hot Michigan team) “They’ve found their groove. They went through the first half of the year dinged up. They started getting some confidence after Christmas and that started here when we played them. They’ve got good talent up front, a good back end now and the kid in goal (Mann) is playing as well as any goalie they’ve had the last several years.”

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