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Notre Dame Hockey: Michigan State Preview

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The Fighting Irish head to the state of Michigan for the second straight weekend

2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships - Semifinals Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Just like last weekend, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be in the Great Lakes State, as they face the Michigan State Spartans on Friday and Saturday night in their third Big Ten matchup of the regular season. Notre Dame will look to take its momentum from Saturday’s 6-2 win at Yost and extend Michigan State’s three game losing streak.

Where: Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, Michigan

When: Friday, Nov. 16, 7:30 P.M. ET (Game 1) and Saturday, Nov. 17, 7:00 P.M. ET (Game 2)

Watch: Big Ten Network Plus

Despite their 4-4-0 start, the Michigan State penalty kill has looked great so far, killing off an impressive 84.62% of their penalties, as second year head coach Danton Cole looks to return the Spartans to being the national powerhouse their fans have come to expect over the year. In fact, their current six year NCAA Tournament drought is their longest since the 1970s.

While Notre Dame is already deep into Big Ten play, the Spartans, who were swept last weekend by the Arizona State Sun Devils, will open their conference season against the Irish at Munn. Every team that has played a conference game so far is at .500. Notre Dame’s start to conference play hasn’t quite seemed as easy as last season, when the Irish didn’t lose a Big Ten game until mid-January.

Notre Dame will hope for freshman forward Alex Steeves to keep his momentum going after finding the back of the net twice in Saturday’s 6-2 road victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Junior forward Cal Burke also continued his impressive season in the win, scoring his sixth goal of the season while also getting a pair of assists. He’s tied for the team lead in both categories and will now see a Michigan State team that’s allowed just over three goals per game.

In the Michigan series, head coach Jeff Jackson decided to split time between the goaltenders, with last year’s Richter Award winner Cale Morris getting the start on Friday and sophomore Dylan St. Cyr getting the start on Saturday. Both goaltenders looked impressive, allowing two goals each on thirty-six shots for Morris and twenty-nine shots for St. Cyr. Last season, Michigan State was one of the few teams Morris had trouble with, allowing seven goals in their February series at Compton.

Prediction

It’s never easy to play back to back road series, but I like how this matchup plays out for the Irish. Michigan State is a team that will be hungry to end a frustrating losing streak in front of their home crowd, but the Irish offense seems to be clicking, and I think the teams split this weekend’s series.