The Michigan hockey team heads into the meat of its Big Ten schedule beginning Friday with a weekend doubleheader at Minnesota. The Wolverines then head home for a pair with Penn State (Jan. 19-20) before heading to Columbus for two with the Buckeyes (Jan. 26-27).
Both Josh Norris and Quinn Hughes returned to the lineup against Notre Dame this past weekend after playing for the United States at the World Junior Championships.
Michigan is coming off a pair of tough, but well-played 2-1 losses in South Bend to the second-ranked Fighting Irish. Norris had Michigan’s goal with an assist from Hughes in Sunday’s loss to Notre Dame.
Michigan got a solid game in the pipes from Hayden Lavigne. The sophomore made 34 saves in the loss.
The two losses dropped Michigan to 8-10-2 overall and 3-7-2-1 in the conference.
Michigan Coach Mel Pearson was pleased with the pace his team played with during Sunday’s loss.
“We have to continue to play with that pace, that energy and that speed,” Pearson said after the game. “I think we are starting to get it now. They understand the expectations and we have some competition which I think is good. Guys are going to push each other. We are going to put guys in the lineup who are going to play with that pace and that attention to detail and that work ethic.
“I thought we saw a lot of real good things this weekend. I didn’t like the results but I can’t complain with the effort.”
Norris was glad to get a goal but disappointed not to get the win.
“I liked our effort,” he said. “They did a great job coming out as five and that’s something we need to work on. I thought (Sunday) we did a good job of that.”
Lavigne, who kept the Wolverines in the game, liked what he saw from his teammates in front of him.
“I felt good but at the end of the day it’s not about me it’s about the team and we are leaving here without a win which is what we came to get,” he said. “We played well as a team and everyone gave their fair share and if we keep playing like that we will come away with a lot of wins down the road.”
The Wolverines split a pair with the Golden Gophers in November. U-M won the first game 5-4 in overtime before falling in a shootout after the team’s skated to a 6-6 draw in the second game.
Tony Calderone had three goals in the two games against Minnesota. The senior forward has 15 goals and nine assists on the season.
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