Two goals were reviewed Saturday at Yost Ice Arena. One was allowed, one disallowed. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, both calls went against them, resulting in a 3-2 loss to No. 1 Notre Dame …
The Fighting Irish lit the lamp first, 8:15 into the game when forward Billy Maday redirected the puck into the net with his skates – a no-no in college and professional hockey. However, not one of the two referees and two linesmen saw it and video replay, which is limited to the goal crease, could not refute the on-ice call.
Had Michigan benefited from a video replay one might have chalked it up to karma but U-M's review did not go the Maize and Blue's way. Trailing 3-2 with less than a minute to go, the Wolverines blitzed goalie Jordan Pearce with a flurry of shots. As the puck squirted free, Michigan junior defenseman Steve Kampfer buried it but in an odd explanation, the referees ruled that the net had been dislodged rather than claiming a whistle had blown. It was a ridiculous ruling.
"That's the part as coaches – you can't question the officials but there was definitely a question about the goal that went in off the player's skate," head coach Red Berenson said. "It wasn't under the review camera so they couldn't see it and we had to go by the referee's judgment and that's not always as accurate as it might be. It's disappointing because it was a close game and came down to one goal.
"[On the disallowed goal] that's a tough call because the puck was loose."
ND expanded its 1-0 lead with a penalty-shot goal 4:03 into the second period after Kampfer hauled down Ryan Thang from behind. U-M actually generated more shots than Notre Dame in the second but the Irish scored twice, opening up a 3-0 at 12:50 of the period.
With The Golden Domers playing it safe in the third period, giving up on their smothering forecheck, Michigan generated 14 shots compared to ND's three. Two of them paid off as the Wolverines netted a pair of power-play goals.
Sophomore forward Aaron Palushaj scored the first, wheeling and dealing from the slot at 4:27. Palushaj then threaded a perfect pass to freshman forward Robbie Czarnik for a one-timer and a man-advantage marker at 8:45. The marker was Czarnik's second of the season and first since Oct. 25.
"I was pretty happy [to end my slump]," Czarnik said. "Our team was on a roll. After we scored on the first power play, when Palushaj got that, we were out there again and we were determined to get another one. He gave me a pass and I didn't even expect it. A great pass, I drove to the net and got in it."
The Maize and Blue could not capitalize off the tilted ice, though, until the final minute when a slew of chances were turned aside.
"The pucks were right there and we couldn't put them in," Palushaj said. "We have to give them credit for how they play defensively but we have to find a way to put those in."
To the Wolverines' credit, they didn't make excuses after the loss, even though there were two they could have. They were proud of their effort; disappointed in the result.
"I think it showed the character of the team to come back [from down 3-0] -- guys weren't going to quit," junior captain Chris Summers said. "It's a shame we had to play the way we did in the first two periods. I thought we had glimpses of solid play in the first two periods – cycling them down low – but we didn't play a full 60 minutes."
"We had a great crowd. We were on the verge of having a great weekend," Berenson said. "We had a good third period and easily could have tied this game.
"We're disappointed. Coming up short is not good enough. We had to win this game at home. Our team gave a good road effort at their place and we needed to have a better game at home."