Bavaro’s two goals, Bischel’s 49 saves provide Irish home ice after 2-1 OT win at Michigan

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Notre Dame defenseman Drew Bavaro (24) skates with the puck during the Michigan State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

The third shot was the charm for defenseman Drew Bavaro and No. 19 Notre Dame Saturday night — good enough for home ice in the upcoming Big Ten Postseason Tournament.

The junior transfer defenseman from Bentley, Bavaro took three overtime shots at Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo, who made saves on the first two but not on the third and the Fighting Irish beat No. 4 Michigan 2-1 at 3:30 in overtime before a sellout crowd of 5,800 watching at the Red Berenson Rink in the Yost Ice Arena at Ann Arbor, Mich.

It was Bavaro’s second goal of the game and sixth of the season, and his offensive output was all the Irish would need after another big performance in net by senior goaltender Ryan Bischel. The Irish goalie finished with 48 saves, including 26 in the third period when the Irish (15-14-5 overall, 10-10-4 Big Ten for 35 points) and Wolverines (20-11-3, 12-10-2 Big Ten for 38 points) did all their scoring.

Bischel big again in shootout win as ND earns two points after tie at No. 4 Michigan

The game-winning goal came during the 3-on-3 five-minute overtime, and it was set up by center Hunter Strand finding Bavaro at mid-ice. The Irish defenseman then skated in on Portillo and took his first shot. Portillo stopped that one and Bavaro’s next one as well but was out of the net when Bavaro gathered the second rebound and put it into the empty net.

Up next for coach Jeff Jackson’s team is a best-of-three series with Michigan State (16-16-2, 10-12-2 Big Ten for 34 points) Friday through Sunday at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena. Michigan, which finished second behind regular-season champion Minnesota, which will host seventh-place Wisconsin, and Ohio State will be host to Penn State in the other first-round playoff series.

Bavaro, who hails from Lakewood Ranch, Fla., near Bradenton, is no relation to former Irish All-America tight end Mark Bavaro. But in addition to his two goals, Bavaro also had a team-high four of Notre Dame’s 18 blocked shots. 

With the game scoreless after two periods, Bavaro first came up big with a blast from center point to beat a screened Portillo at 3:35 of the third period with Michigan’s Eric Ciccolini off for interference. Notre Dame’s 6-foot-6 Jack Adams was screening Portillo, but Grant Silianoff and Trevor Janicke got the official assists.

The Wolverines, who would outshoot the Irish 27-6 in the period, got even when Rutger McGroarty took a pass from Seamus Casey on the doorstep to beat Bischel at 9:59. The Irish would have two good chances to beat Portillo, who finished with 20 saves, as the period ended. But first Chayse Primeau and then Tyler Carpenter hit pipes, the second and third of the period for the Irish, who hit metal eight times during the weekend.

But the Irish, who entered the weekend tied for fifth with Penn State and were in sixth place to start the night, showed their true mettle when the series was over, taking four of a possible six points. Now they will try to finish the Big Ten playoffs with a .500 record or better in order to earn their seventh straight NCAA tournament berth when bids come out March 19.

The Irish got plenty of good news before the game when Big Ten champion Minnesota finished a sweep of Ohio State with a 5-2 victory and last-place Wisconsin scored a 2-1 victory at Penn State. The results left the Buckeyes with 36 points, two more than the Nittany Lions and Michigan State Spartans and three over the Irish.

The Wolverines got some good news, too, with the return of sophomore All-America defenseman Luke Hughes, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

But late in the penalty-marred first period, Michigan lost freshman center Adam Fantilli after he made contact to the head of Irish defenseman Chase Blackmun at 19:28 of the period. It was the second penalty of the period for Fantilli, the nation’s leading scorer with 20 goals and 50 points who scored the game-tying goal in Friday’s 3-3 tie which the Irish followed with a 1-0 shootout win to gain two points.

Each team had three power-play opportunities and neither scored. But Notre Dame, which got its first shot on goal at 10:35 but outshot Michigan 7-6, had 4:28 remaining on Fantilli’s major to start the second period. 

The Irish looked sluggish in the first two minutes of the 5-on-4 advantage, and the Wolverines got even on the ice when Irish defenseman Nick Leivermann took an interference call on Frank Nazar early in the second period.

Notre Dame got another power-play opportunity at 11:34 when Nolan Moyle went off for boarding, but the Wolverines had the better scoring opportunity with a 2-on-0 break late in the penalty that fortunately for Bischel and the Irish did not produce a shot.

The Irish then lost Jesse Lansdell for a five-minute major of cross checking at 15:16. But a penalty against Michigan’s Eric Ciccolini eventually countered that and the second period ended with the teams scoreless despite Michigan having a 16-6 edge in shots in the 20 minutes and 22-13 for the game.


At Red Berenson Rink in Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Notre Dame0011—2

First Period—Scoring: None. Penalties: Notre Dame 3-6, Michigan 4-19.

Second Period—Scoring: None. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 2-7 (5-13), Michigan 2-4 (6-23).

Third Period—Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Drew Bavaro 5 (Grant Silianoff, Trevor Janicke) PP 3:35. 2. Michigan, Rutger McGroarty 11 (Seamus Casey, T.J. Hughes) EV 9:59. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (5-13), Michigan 1-2 (7-25).

Overtime—Scoring: 3. Notre Dame, Drew Bavaro (Hunter Strand) 3x3 EV 3:30. Penalties (total): Notre Dame 0-0 (5-13), Michigan 0-0 (7-25).

Power-play opportunities: Notre Dame 1 of 6, Michigan 0 of 5. Shots on goal: Notre Dame 22 (7-6-6-3), Michigan 49 (6-16-27-0). Goalie saves: Notre Dame, Ryan Bischel 48 (6-16-26-0), Michigan, Erik Portillo 20 (7-6-5-2). Faceoffs won: Notre Dame 29 (10-8-10-1), Michigan 27 (7-9-11-0). Blocked shots: Notre Dame 18 (6-5-7-0), Michigan 7 (4-0-3-0).

Referees: Andrew Bruggeman and Barry Pochmara. Linesmen: Nicholas Bet and Jake Davis. Attendance: 5,800 (5,800). Records: Notre Dame 15-14-5 overall, 10-10-4 Big Ten for 35 points; Michigan 20-11-3 overall, 12-10-2 Big Ten for 38 points.


Saturday’s results: Notre Dame 2, Michigan 1 (OT); Wisconsin 2, Penn State 1; Minnesota 5, Ohio State 2.

Standings: 1. Minnesota 19-4-1, 57 points (25-8-1 overall); 2. Michigan 12-10-2, 38 points (20-11-3 overall); 3. Ohio State 11-11-2, 36 points (18-13-3 overall); 4. Notre Dame 10-10-4, 35 points (15-14-5 overall); 5T. Michigan State 10-12-2, 34 points (16-16-2 overall); 5T. Penn State 10-13-1, 34 points (20-13-1 overall); 7. Wisconsin 6-18-0, 18 points (13-21-0 overall).

March 3-5 first-round, best-of-3 playoffs: Michigan State at Notre Dame; Wisconsin at Michigan; Penn State at Ohio State.