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November 15, 2012

Lackluster effort dooms Wolverines in 3-1 loss to ND

Clunker. Following an embarrassing 7-2 loss at Michigan State a week ago, Michigan was eager to play its best game of the year when it welcomed Notre Dame to Yost on Thursday. Instead, U-M played one of its poorest.

The Wolverines were tied 1-1 late into the third when the Irish scored on a wraparound goal at 14:22, sullying what was otherwise the lone highlight of the night - freshman goalie Steve Racine's play between the pipes. Racine turned aside 29 shots, many point blank, but he was slow to reposition, yielding an open net to Bryan Rust for the game-winning tally.

It was that kind of night.

"Your goalie keeps you in the game and is playing well and the wraparound goal is a tough goal," said head coach Red Berenson, who called it "sloppy."

Michigan led early when freshman Justin Selman capitalized off an ND turnover in burying the first goal of his career just 4:38 into the game. It looked then that maybe the Wolverines had learned their lesson from last weekend's humiliation, but the rest of the period transpired without U-M doing much.

The Maize and Blue had a chance to take a 2-0 lead when they went on the power play, but lacking urgency, they turned the puck over, and watched helplessly as Notre Dame scored a shorthanded goal at 4:04 of the second period. From then on, the game belonged to the Blue and Gold, who peppered Racine with 13 shots in the frame.

"That shorthanded goal in the second period really turned the game the other direction," Berenson said. "When you get your power-play guys out there and they get scored on, it's a huge goal for a road team, and they took advantage of it. I thought they carried the play the rest of the second period.

"Our team has to realize they can't just go out and turn it on. It's not like flipping a switch. Our effort has to be better. Our execution has to be better."

Senior center A.J. Treais had a chance to reestablish Michigan's lead in the third period, but he missed on a breakaway at 4:11, and sophomore left winger Alex Guptill hit the crossbar at 6:58. U-M wouldn't sniff a quality scoring chance the rest of the game, and watched feebly as Notre Dame applied pressure and scored the soft game-winning goal.

"You can say we were unlucky but I thought they outworked us," Treais said. "I had a chance to get our team back in it and didn't. Guptill had a nice chance … but that's the way things go in this league. Goals are really precious."

ND would finish off the Wolverines when Peter Schneider's point shot ricocheted off Racine to the side of the net, where it hit U-M sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson square in the shins and deflected across the goal line.

It was that kind of night. A clunker.


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