#4 Michigan is off to a hot start in the 2020-21 season. In four wins, the Wolverines have outscored their opponents 18-4. Four different players are at a point or more per game pace with freshmen Thomas Bordeleau and Kent Johnson leading the team with seven points apiece. Goaltender Strauss Mann touts a .952 save percentage and recorded a shutout against Arizona State.
If Michigan is off to a hot start, then Notre Dame is ice cold. The Irish have lost both games they’ve played this season, scoring just three goals while allowing seven. Senior Colin Theisen is the only player to have found the back of the net thus far, recording his first career hat trick in the team’s 5-3 loss to Wisconsin on November 14. Goaltender Dylan St. Cyr has allowed seven goals on 37 shots in his first two starts.
It could be a long weekend for Notre Dame. Michigan is lighting the lamp at an elite rate while the Irish have yet to find their scoring touch. For any chance to win, Notre Dame needs to have a stellar performance in net by St. Cyr while capitalizing on the few scoring chances they create.
Players to Watch
Alex Steeves – Notre Dame
After leading the Irish in scoring last season, junior Alex Steeves has yet to find the back of the net this year. Even though he hasn’t scored, he is still creating chances for himself and his teammates. Steeves assisted on all three of Theisen’s hat trick goals, including a highlight-reel move to set up the third goal.
Between the two games, Steeves has registered five shots and hopes to notch his first goal of the season this weekend against Michigan.
Jake Pivonka – Notre Dame
Junior Jake Pivonka can’t be blamed for not trying. In the first two games, Pivonka led the Irish with six shots and a 60% faceoff percentage. After registering just 11 points last season, Pivonka hopes for a career year this season. If he keeps creating chances as he has been, it’s only a matter of time before Pivonka lights the lamp. Expect him to be a force this weekend.
Thomas Bordeleau – Michigan
Freshman Thomas Bordeleau’s seven points are tied for third-most in the country. The second-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 2020 NHL Draft has two goals and five assists through his team’s first four games. His overtime winner in Michigan’s 2-1 victory over Wisconsin is an early candidate for goal of the year.
Kent Johnson – Michigan
Freshman Kent Johnson is no stranger to scoring goals. Last season, Johnson led the BCHL with 101 points in 52 games. He was voted as the Canadian Junior Hockey League Top Forward of the Year. In his freshman year at Michigan, Johnson has picked up right where he left off. He was voted 3rd Star of the Week in the Big Ten after a five-point weekend and has seven points total.
Johnson is eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and will likely go in the first round.
Will the Irish get off the schneid or will Michigan continue their early-season dominance? Tune in this weekend to find out. Puck drop is set for Friday, November 27th at 6 PM CT and again Saturday at the same time. Both games will air on BTN+ (Big Ten Network Plus).