Silianoff’s OT winner completes Notre Dame's 3-2 comeback win over No. 3 Michigan
SOUTH BEND — Sometimes it’s the little things which make a difference between winning and losing hockey games.
The record will show that junior left wing Grant Silianoff scored the game-winner at 2:26 of overtime Saturday to give No. 18 Notre Dame a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory over No. 3 Michigan before a sellout crowd of 5,099 watching at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.
But if not for speedy junior right wing Ryder Rolston, whose hustling backcheck just seconds before prevented Michigan’s Rutger McGroarty from getting off a possible game-winning shot at Irish goalie Ryan Bischel during the 3-on-3, five-minute overtime period, Notre Dame’s recent winless drought of four games might have continued.
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What could have been another nightmare for coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish, who have had their share of nightmares of late – an overtime 1-1 tie to Michigan State followed by 4-1 and 3-0 losses at Minnesota last weekend and Friday’s 5-1 loss to the high-powered Wolverines – ended up being a night to remember for the Irish, now 5-5-2 and 2-3-1-1-0-0 in the Big Ten for six points.
“That was a big-time play by Grant,” Jackson noted. “But he was saved by Ryder’s backcheck. (Ryan) Helliwell made a bad play (at center ice) and turned the puck over. But Ryder made a great backcheck. That’s why you like to have speed guys on the ice in that situation.”
After Rolston swept the puck away from the 6-foot-1 Michigan freshman left wing, Helliwell regathered the puck, started up ice and found Silianoff streaking up ice toward Michigan goalie Erik Portillo.
“I saw two of their players going at Ryan, so I expanded the zone and Ryan made a good little bank pass,” said Silianoff, who carried the puck into the Michigan zone and then crossed the slot before firing at the 6-foot-6 Michigan junior goaltender from Sweden. Portillo made the initial save, but the puck bounced off Michigan defenseman Ethan Edwards and trickled into the net for the goal that capped off Notre Dame’s rally from a 2-0 first-period deficit.
“This (the victory) was huge,” said grad-transfer (from Omaha) center Chayse Primeau, who tipped in a shot by Nick Leivermann at 19:23 of the second period on a power play to tie the game at 2-2. “The last four games really haven’t gone our way. It’s been more of us shooting ourselves in the foot, taking bad penalties and giving up 50-60 shots (a game) at (Irish goalie) Bisch. That’s not Notre Dame hockey. Tonight, we were more focused making sure we played our game.”
Coach Brandon Naurato’s Wolverines, who fell to 9-3 overall and 2-2-0-1-1-0 for six points in the Big Ten, took a 2-0 lead to the locker room after the first period on goals by Edwards (at 3:32) and right wing Mackie Samoskevich (at 17:14 on the power play) against Bischel, who would not allow another goal and finished with 31 saves, three more than Portillo.
“Despite the score, I thought we were playing well and to me that was the most important thing,” said Jackson, who challenged his club before the game and by changing up his lines. The biggest change came to the fourth line where sophomore center Tyler Carpenter got new linemates in a pair of behemoths – 6-foot-4 freshman left wing Niko Jovanovic, who was playing his first career game, and 6-foot-6 second-year grad student Jack Adams, who returned from a lower-leg injury that shelved him for three games.
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Midway through the second period, Jovanovic came up with the puck near the blueline and fed it down to Adams, who drew a defenseman toward himself and then shoveled a pass to a wide-open Carpenter in front of the Michigan goalie. Carpenter stirred it behind Portillo at 10:55 and the Irish started to believe.
“That was a big-time goal,” Jackson said. “A nice play by the big lad – first game, first assist – and then Jack makes a nice pass. Those guys have good size and hockey sense, and Carpenter responded.”
Then late in the period with Michigan serving a bench penalty for too many men on the ice, grad center Jackson Pierson shoveled a pass to defenseman Nick Leivermann at the point, and the Irish captain sent a shot on net to Portillo’s left that Primeau tipped home at 19:23 to tie the game.
“We were definitely excited (going into the locker room tied 2-2),” Primeau said. “Our focus then was just to stick with it, put pucks behind them and then get pucks on the net.”
Though outshot 33-31 by Michigan for the 62:26, the Irish dominated the third period, outshooting the tiring Wolverines 13-9. They then survived a pair of shots by Michigan All-America sophomore defenseman Luke Hughes on which Bischel stood his ground early in the overtime period.
“We know we’re capable of playing a lot better,” Silianoff said. “We know we’re a better team than what we’ve been showing. We just have to compete for each other, play for the guy that is next to you, put the team first. That’s what we did tonight. It was a good step in the right direction.”
The Irish travel to Ohio State next weekend for a Friday (7 p.m.)-Saturday (5 p.m.) series with the No. 11 Buckeyes, who were swept by first-place Michigan State and now have lost three straight games.
SUMMARY: NOTRE DAME 3, MICHIGAN 2 (OT)
At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
First Period—Scoring: 1.Michigan, Ethan Edwards 1 (Adam Fantilli) EV 3:32. 2. Michigan, Mackie Samoskevich 10 (Luke Hughes, TJ Hughes) PP 17:14. Penalties: Michigan 1-2, Notre Dame 1-2.
Second Period—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Tyler Carpenter 1 (Jack Adams, Niko Jovanovic) EV 10:55. 4. Notre Dame, Chayse Primeau 3 (Nick Leivermann, Jackson Pierson) PP 19:23. Penalties (total): Michigan 2-4 (3-6), Notre Dame 2-4 (3-6).
Third Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Michigan 1-2 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).
Overtime—Scoring: 5. Notre Dame, Grant Silianoff 2 (Ryan Helliwell, Ryder Rolston) 3x3 EV 2:26. Penalties (total): Michigan 0-0 (4-8), Notre Dame 0-0 (3-6).
Shots on goal: Michigan 33 (14-8-9-2), Notre Dame 31 (10-6-13-2). Goalie saves: Michigan, Erik Portillo 28 (10-4-13-1), Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 31 (12-8-9-2). Power-play opportunities: Michigan 1 of 3, Notre Dame 1 of 4. Faceoffs won: Michigan 30 (10-8-11-1), Notre Dame 29 (9-10-8-2). Blocked shots: Michigan 8 (7-0-1-0), Notre Dame 14 (7-5-2-0). Referees: Colin Kronforst and Sean Fernandez. Linesmen: Pat Richardson and Justin Cornell. Attendance: 5,099 (4,850). Records: Michigan 9-3-0 overall, 2-2-0-1-1-0 Big Ten for 6 points; Notre Dame 5-5-2 overall, 2-3-1-1-0-0 Big Ten for 6 points.