ANN ARBOR — Michigan’s hockey team began Big Ten play Saturday with a victory over last season’s conference regular season and tournament champion.
The 14th-ranked Wolverines also avenged their Frozen Four loss to Notre Dame, beating the sixth-ranked Irish 2-1 at Yost Ice Arena.
Last season, Notre Dame scored with 5.2 second remaining for a 4-3 victory and a spot in the national championship.
Just after Michigan killed its second penalty of the third period, Notre Dame forward Alex Steeves was called for boarding with 3:52 to play.
Although the Wolverines didn’t capitalize to extend their lead, they drained valuable time off the clock. Notre Dame wasn’t able to pull its goalie until there was 44 seconds remaining, and it never had the chance to set up in the offensive zone.
Michigan (5-3, 1-0 Big Ten) took a 2-1 lead at the 7:35 mark of the second on a power-play goal from junior forward Nick Pastujov. It was the second power-play goal of the game for the Wolverines. Twelve of their 27 goals this season have come with the man-advantage.
With junior Hayden Lavigne struggling, freshman Strauss Mann received the start and made 26 saves to improve to 3-1.
Notre Dame (4-4-1, 1-2), which won three of the five meetings in 2017-18, struck first 1:35 into the second period on defenseman Matt Hellickson’s first goal of the season. Forward Dylan Malmquist made a move around a Michigan defenseman to create a two-on-zero break and fed the puck over to Hellickson for the goal.
Michigan answered less than three minutes later on junior forward Jake Slaker’s fifth goal of the year. He buried a loose puck in front after it deflect off the skate of Will Lockwood.
Junior Cale Morris, last season’s Mike Richter Award winner as the nation’s top goalie, made 35 saves.
The two teams meet again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Yost.