Yost Ice Arena. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Wolverines fall 4-1 to Fighting Irish on Yost rededication night

Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey

By Michael Caples –

ANN ARBOR – It was supposed to be a night of celebration in Ann Arbor, as the University of Michigan welcomed back 93 hockey alums to Yost Ice Arena for a rededication ceremony.

The festive atmosphere was short-lived, however, as Michigan fell to the Fighting Irish4-1 Friday night.

Notre Dame’s Jeff Costello broke a 1-1 tie with nine minutes left in the third period, scoring just above the Wolverines’ crease, on a set-up by Novi native Bryan Rust after a turnover by Lee Moffie behind the UM goal. The Fighting Irish would add two more goals en route to the 4-1 win.

Jacob Trouba scored the lone goal for the Wolverines, who dropped to 4-6-1 overall, and 2-5-1-1 in CCHA play with the loss.

“A disappointing finish,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “I liked our start, I think our team came out with renewed energy, we felt bad about last night’s game and they wanted to make up for it and they couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t get the offense going, and it was a defensive battle. I mean, it was a 1-1 game again with [nine] minutes left in the third when they scored the go-ahead goal. On the plus side, we had chances to score, but we didn’t score.

“I don’t want to lament offense, but we just have to be even tighter defensively. A week ago we were the No. 1 team offensively in the country and worried about defense. Now, we’re worried about both. Nevertheless, I thought our goalie was good, I thought our team played hard, we played a better game, and they were a better team I think, when it came right down to it.”

Steve Racine played strong in goal for the Wolverines once again, yet only had 15 saves to show for it. The freshman now holds a 3-3-1 record.

Michigan assistant captain Kevin Lynch said that confidence is not the problem for the Wolverines, who have now lost three straight games.

“I’m not sure if it’s confidence,” the Grosse Pointe native said. “I think we’re just struggling to find a full-team effort. We’ve got half the guys playing well, and half the guys aren’t. Just inconsistency is what we’re fighting right now. You’ve gotta find it somewhere, and we need to find it right now before it’s midway through the season or at the end.”

Notre Dame’s Robbie Russo opened the scoring in the contest, firing a shot through traffic on the power-play at the 11:41 mark of the first period.

Trouba responded with a blistering slap shot from above the right circle, beating ND goaltender Steven Summerhays high-glove, to even the score at one.

Yet Costello’s goal returned the lead to the Irish, and Mario Lucia increased it when he roofed a loose puck past Racine at the 13:30 mark of the third.

Russo picked up his second goal of the night when his clearing attempt rolled into the empty Michigan goal with 49 seconds remaining, after the Wolverines had pulled Racine in a last-ditch effort to find offense.