Michigan lost its regular season finale on Saturday night in a tough 2-1 overtime loss at the hands of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Wolverines finish the regular season with a 20-11-3 overall record and a 12-10-2 record in the Big Ten.
Michigan had already locked down the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament heading into Saturday night’s game, but Brandon Naurato’s team still had a lot to play for. Although it has already been determined that the Wolverines will host the No. 7 seed Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament next weekend, the PairWise ranking is still of vital importance.
The Wolverines entered Saturday night’s game as the fourth team in the PairWise rankings, which would have earned them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if it started today. With the loss, Michigan now sits fifth in the standings, which would likely translate to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Neither side scored in the first half, but the first 20 minutes were certainly not without enthusiasm.
There were six penalties combined in the first period – three for each team – the last resulting in a game misconduct for Michigan’s Adam Fantilli. The freshman Hobey Baker Award contender was disqualified from the regular season finale with 32 seconds left in the first period.
Fantilli’s exit marked the end of his 12-game streak with at least one point.
The second period did not feature as many penalties. Notre Dame also committed a five-minute major in the middle frame, but Michigan was unable to convert on extended man advantage.
The teams were scoreless for two periods, but the tie was broken early in the third.
Forty-three minutes into the game, the first goal was scored as the Fighting Irish beat Michigan keeper Erik Portillo for the first time of the night.
A few minutes later, rookie Rutger McGroarty tied the game by scoring Michigan’s first goal of the game. It was McGroarty’s 11th goal this season.
Neither team could score in the minutes after the third period, and Michigan headed to overtime for the fourth time in its last five games.
The Fighting Irish were the most desperate side though, and it showed in extra time. Notre Dame formed a three-on-one run, and it resulted in the winning goal. The Irish needed two points to secure home ice in the Big Ten tournament, and they got it with the game winner.
Michigan is set to host Wisconsin next weekend in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. It will be a best-of-three format between the Wolverines and Badgers.
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