Men’s Hockey Series of the Week: No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 1 Michigan

Story posted November 18, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Maclain Young

The Wolverines are now the No. 1 team in the country after asserting their dominance with a 10-2 record over 12 games.

After stumbling in its first conference matchup against Wisconsin, Michigan has rattled off five straight victories including a recent sweep of the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley that saw the Wolverines outscore their opponents 11-3.

Wolverine stars Matty Beniers and Owen Power received Big Ten First and Second Star of the Week honors for putting up six points each in the series. For Beniers it was his second straight Big Ten First Star of the Week.

On the other side of the ice the Fighting Irish are coming off a dominant performance against Wisconsin where they outscored the Badgers 8-1 in the series.

Notre Dame has been an NCAA Tournament regular over the last few seasons but wants to prove itself as a Big Ten contender.

Coming into the season most were favoring Michigan and Minnesota to compete for the Big Ten title, but Notre Dame has an opportunity to step into that conversation with positive results this weekend.

The Fighting Irish are already respected nationally, coming in at No. 14 in the rankings but struggled in their first test against another Big Ten juggernaut.

When facing off against Minnesota on the road, Notre Dame struggled to score, potting just three goals in the series. 

The Fighting Irish were ultimately swept in Minneapolis, failing to capitalize on an opportunity to put themselves up with Michigan and Minnesota as contenders in the Big Ten.

That chance will present itself again to Notre Dame on the road this weekend in Ann Arbor. Even just a series split would be a positive result for a team that wants to show it can compete with the best.

For Michigan the goal will be to defend its recent placement as the No. 1 team in the nation, and a sweep over Notre Dame would certainly accomplish that feat.

Some players to watch include Notre Dame goaltender Matthew Galajda, who has stopped his last 46 shots faced, and forward Max Ellis, who has seven goals and seven assists over 11 games played this season.

For the Wolverines, outside of the obvious Beniers and Power, forward Brendan Brisson has been rolling with eight goals on the season, which is good for second on the team. 

Brisson has also been clutch this season, with half of his goals being game winners.

While the season is still relatively young, Michigan has a chance to start running away with the Big Ten. 

Fellow-favorite Minnesota has had its bumps early on while the Wolverines have passed every test with flying colors.

Notre Dame has a chance to bring Michigan back down to earth by neutralizing their immense talent and playing a defensive style of hockey.

However it may play out, this series will have major implications on the Big Ten and all of college hockey for the rest of the season.

 

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.