The last time the Michigan № 4 hockey team faced Notre Dame, its top line of Matthew Benier, Brendan Brisan and Kent Johnson was uncharacteristically silent. The trio just walked out of the Olympics to score just one goal in two games.
However, on Saturday he will be eliminated from the Big Ten tournament.The line of heroes”Justified his nickname.
Due to the fact that the Irish are committed to universal backing, Wolverines faced a difficult battle, trying to find a net. But, scoring a puck and sorting through Notre Dame’s defense, Michigan’s top line scored both goals to bring Wolverine into the Big Ten championship game.
“They were all happy to play with each other,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “You can see it on the first goal, just the creativity and skill they had. You don’t want to give them a lot of time, space or space because they can make you pay. ”
However, this payment had to wait for some time, thanks to a combination of blocking the blows of the Irish and the star gate of Matthew Gileida. Of the seven top-throw attempts in the first period, only four reached the goal, while Brisan’s one-shot hit the corner. They knocked on the door, but Notre Dame kept them closed.
“Right behind the goal we got a lot of chances by scoring goals into the net,” Benier said. “I just said every time we went back to the bench: ‘It’s coming, it’s coming, we’re getting it.’ ”
But while the players were confident, they recalled their previous disappointments in the South Bend. Due to the game in the Big Ten Championship on the line, Wolverines needed them to step up.
This was what the top line was preparing for. In practice Pearson talked to them about their role. He kept his message simple:
“Just do what you’re good at,” Pearson said. “Just play. Just play with your strengths and abilities and do it very well. ”
And what they were able to do – to kill – soon showed. After Johnson held the puck against two defenders, he gave it to Beñesz to blow up the unstable Irish defenders. After Benier and Brissone walked back and forth to make Gilead bite, Beniers jumped past him and led him forward.
The top line is back.
And when Notre Dame tied the game and Michigan needed a three-pointer to deliver again, it happened.
As the Wolverines scored a puck along the boards and pulled the Irish out of their defensive structure, Bryson slipped through the free space into the still ice. Showing his usual telepathy, Benier grabbed the puck and met Brissone on his tape. The result was inevitable:
Brisan slipped for a second and let go past Gileida, scoring the ultimate winner of the game.
“I wasn’t going to try to change on the go, I trust our guys will play (against Michigan’s top line),” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “They just became capitalized. They are good players and that is what will happen. “
After returning from Beijing, Michigan’s top line has finally rediscovered its potential. Their awesome bombing talent created problems for opponents, but they couldn’t put much on the scoreboard. But at the biggest moment of the season they demonstrated their superiority.
In the process, they may also have blocked their nickname.