Following their Thanksgiving break and their midweek win against the Northern Michigan Wildcats, The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team heads into a weekend series with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers. The #8 Irish head into the non-conference matchup looking to extend their four game winning streak.
Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend, Indiana
When: Friday, Nov. 30, 7:00 P.M. ET (Game 1) and Saturday, Dec. 1, 7:00 P.M. ET (Game 2)
Watch: NBC Sports Network (Friday), SportsNet New York (Saturday), and the NBC Sports App
Game 1️⃣ vs. RPI is set for 7 p.m. at @NDCFIA.— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) November 30, 2018
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After a somewhat slow start to the season, Notre Dame is on a four game winning streak and ranked #8 in both major polls. Notre Dame has had to rely somewhat on strong goaltending this year to pull out some close games, but it hasn’t really hurt them as they still sit at 8-4-1 this season (4-2-0 in conference), and are ranked in the top 10. They are shooting a somewhat high but still reasonable 10% on the season (meaning 10 out of every 100 shots on goal are goals), but have a CF% of just 49.8. This means that Notre Dame only takes 49.8% of the shots in any given game. This may not seem low (anything above 50% means you’re taking more shots than your opponent and is good), but it is certainly low for a top 10 team.
RPI, however, may just be the Irish antidote. The Engineers currently have a CF% of just 41.0 and are shooting just 7.8% on the year. On home ice Notre Dame can exploit that and use the series this weekend to start turning some of those metrics in their favor. RPI is allowing 3.45 goals per game, and combined with Notre Dame’s shooting percentage the Irish offense could explode this weekend.
On the defensive side, Notre Dame is only allowing 1.85 goals per game, while RPI is only scoring 1.82. I would expect the Irish to split goaltending duties this weekend to keep Cale Morris fresh, but Dyaln St. Cyr has shown already this season that he can more than hold his own in goal.
RPI is coming off a weekend series at UMASS Lowell where they managed to come away with a split. However, they are still just 4-7-0 overall and when combining that with some of their team statistics Notre Dame certainly has the upper hand. While the Engineers are certainly capable of stealing a victory on the road, Notre Dame went to Troy last year and swept RPI on the road. I expect them to do the same this weekend in South Bend.