After losing on Friday night to the Wolverines, there was a need for an Irish victory on Saturday night. The Irish needed to come out of the locker room and get that puck moving on the ice. Getting the momentum back from Friday night’s loss against the rivals from the North is key to trying to set the pace for the remainder of the season.
What’s the best way to start off a game when you need momentum, you score a goal at the 1:45 mark. Graham Slaggert got the puck by Strauss Mann. Mann had not given up a goal in sixty minutes of play on Friday. Lighting the lamp early against Mann was just what the Fightin’ Irish needed to do to set the pace. Slaggert took advantage of the space given by the Wolverines.
After the goal by Slaggert, Michigan turned the tables and forced the Irish back to the outside perimeter of the Irish offensive end. Meanwhile on the Michigan offensive end, Cale Morris was doing “Brickwall” things. Denying the Wolverines was just what the Irish Puckers needed Morris to do. The Wolverines shot from outside the crease and from the left and right hand side of the blue line. In the end, the Irish successfully killed off two penalties while going 0-2 on the power play. The Irish took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Michigan came out of the locker room with a chip on their shoulder and they dared the Irish to knock it off. Michigan knew what they had to do. If you were to look at the shot chart, you would see that they took premium shots. Five were in front of the goal, one was just outside left face-off circle. The remainder were between the blue line and the face-off circles. Unfortunately at 11:28 Nick Blankenburg on the power play, launches a one timer and gets the puck by the Irish defense from the blue line and Morris to get the equalizer to bring the score even at 1-1.
Michigan was done yet. They continued to fire shots on Morris and wore him down once again. At 16:33 Jack Summers from between the two face-off circles fired on goal once again and lit the lamp. The Wolverines get the go ahead goal 2-1. That is the score they take into the second intermission. Mann once again was stopping everything fired at him.
With a 2-1 lead, Michigan knew they had to protect their lead. The Irish knew they had to figure out a way to score a goal or two. The Irish did everything they could to score a goal. They were actually able to spot up a couple times in front of the crease and actually shoot on goal. Though a majority of their shots came from near the blue line. Michigan wasn’t giving up a quality shot on goal. The Irish fired twenty shots at the the Wolverines goal tender, ten of them were on target and Mann was not going to lose the game late in the period.
At 18:39 the Coach Jackson opted for the extra attacker and pulled Morris from between the pipes. But the extra attacker wasn’t enough as the Irish turned the puck over and Jake Slaker takes and throws the puck from the Irish on on goal and seals the deal for Michigan for a final of 3-1.
Post Game Press Conference
Shake Down The Thunder Sports Question: “Coach, Michigan seemed to spread you out pretty well throughout the game. And by looking at the shot chart, they were able to get in on the crease and get those up close shots. How do you bring that back to team and say you got to spread them out and not get those close.”
Coach Jackson’s Response: “We practice it, we work on that. It’s a matter of execution. Sometime’s it’s like a baseball player when he is in a slump. Sometimes it impacts his fielding, his running, his catching, and the fact that we are not scoring. I had to have a talk with our Captain this morning, tonight he was much better game in my opinion. But I think the guys put the wight on their shoulders, cause the they are not scoring. They get away from doing the things we need to do as a team, and that’s been more of the collective thing more than an individual thing. Guys when you start pressing, that when things start to go the other way. It’s a matter of getting them back into mindset that we need to focus on the details of our game. Those are the things that are on us as coaches and not so much on the players. We got to get them to make sure they understand how to play in those situations.”
I think Coach Jackson summed it up perfectly. The guys are trying to hard as individuals and playing as a team. This team has the talent that at any moment can take over the conference. They need to realize that before the season gets to far away.
The Irish are off to Ohio State University for a two game set against the Buckeyes. 6 PM EST Friday night and Saturday night at 5 PM
📺 TV Friday Night Big Ten Network
Cheers and Go Irish!🍀🏒🥅🚨⚡