(Photo Courtesy of Michigan Athletics)
The postseason presents an opportunity for players to step up and make big plays on a stage unlike any other all season long.
Michigan’s Peter Thompson took that exact opportunity and cashed it in on Sunday afternoon as he had a career-high four goals to help his hometown team secure their first ever NCAA Tournament victory over Cornell, 15-14, in overtime.
Thompson’s fourth and final score of the day was the most memorable as he found himself open on the doorstep, grabbed the cross-crease feed from Isaac Aronson, and put home the game-winner.
Minutes earlier, Thompson had helped the Wolverines gain a two-goal lead as he scored twice off a dodge from up top; going down the left alley on the first one and left to right across the face of the cage on the second. Thompson’s consecutive goals gave himself a hat trick and made it a 13-11 Michigan lead with 4:39 remaining.
That lead, however, would not stand long as the Big Red were able to punch back just as they had throughout the contest. Hugh Kelleher scored with 4:14 left and Jack Cascadden scored just seconds later at the 4:05 mark following a faceoff win. Cascadden’s score tied things up at 13-13 and added to what was a solid effort for the faceoff man as he went 12-for-25 (48%) overall against the Michigan duo of Nick Rowlett (11-for-19, 57%) and Justin Wietfeldt (7-for-14, 50%). Cascadden went 5-for-11 (45%) in the fourth quarter alone but won four of the final five draws in regulation.
Adding more fire to the scoring frenzy that was the fourth quarter, Jake Bonomi converted on a diving shot attempt to put Michigan up 14-13 with 1:49 left. Cornell, once again, struck back immediately with Billy Coyle putting home the eventual overtime-forcing goal with just 59 ticks left.
Cascadden won the final draw of regulation and Cornell got two shots off during that final possession. The first saw Aiden Blake hit the near side pipe with 11 seconds left. After winning the run out, Cornell would see Billy Coyle’s shot go wide and the ball be launched down the field by the Wolverines as time expired.
In overtime it was Cornell who got the first opportunity as Cascadden won the opening faceoff and took it straight down the middle for a shot. Hunter Taylor was there to make his 16th save of the day which led to that final game-winning possession for the Wolverines.
Taylor had also made a huge stop late in regulation , stuffing a CJ Kirst shot with 1:07 left. Taylor made nine of his saves during the second half of play and five of those came in the fourth quarter alone.
Michigan entered the second half with a 7-6 advantage following a behind-the-back finish late in the second quarter from Michael Boehm. The Wolverines never trailed again after that, surviving through a second half that saw five different ties. Michigan took the lead four different times through those 30-plus minutes.
In addition to Thompson’s five points (4G/1A), Michigan saw Michael Boehm tally four points off three goals and one assist. Josh Zawada (2G), Jake Bonomi (2G), and Isaac Aronson (2G/1A) each had two goals on the day.
Billy Coyle and Hugh Kelleher each had a hat trick for Cornell. Chayse Ierlan had 11 saves in cage.
Michigan advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals where they will face