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Irish Hockey: Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium Preview

The Irish and Wolverines take it outside, this time on the ice

2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Nicole Abbett/NHLI via Getty Images

History was made on New Year’s Day when the first hockey game at Notre Dame Stadium was played between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. In front of a very pro-Blackhawks crowd, the Bruins were victorious by a score of 4-2 in a game that was watched by almost 2 million viewers. The outdoor contest was clearly a massive success.

Not to be outdone, the #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michigan Wolverines will have a game of their own at Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday, when the rivals will meet for their third contest of the season. As of now, the forecast calls for 45 and sunny on Saturday afternoon.

Where: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN

When: Saturday, Jan. 5, 3:30 P.M. ET

Watch: NBCSN

The Irish came off break with a 4-0 win over the Boston College Eagles on Monday. The New Year’s Eve victory was a good sign, after Notre Dame was embarrassed by the Penn State Nittany Lions 9-1 all the way back on December 8th. Michigan also played on the final day of 2018, when they tied with their in-state rival Michigan State Spartans 2-2 in the third place game of the Great Lakes Invitational.

Both teams are very much alive in a tight Big Ten hockey conference. Currently, the Irish are just one point behind the conference leading Ohio State Buckeyes, but Michigan is only three points behind Notre Dame. With only one game between the schools this upcoming weekend, Michigan will not be able to leapfrog the Irish just yet, but they will look to narrow the gap before their series with Ohio State next weekend.

These schools met in Ann Arbor on November 9th and 10th, with each school getting a victory each. In their first game, the Irish had trouble getting any offense together, losing 2-1 and getting outshot 38-27 in the process. The next night, Cale Morris was on the bench while Dylan St. Cyr stopped 29 out of 31 Michigan shots, on his way to a dominant 6-1 win.

Notre Dame appears to have a slight advantage against their rivals from Ann Arbor. Goals per game between the two teams is near identical, at 3.22 for the Irish and 3.00 for the Wolverines. There’s a more noticeable difference in Notre Dame’s 2.11 goals allowed per game, compared to Michigan’s 3.16.

The Irish goals allowed per game is the ninth best in the nation. In order for that trend to continue, they’ll need Morris to continue his impressive play against the Wolverines. In five career games against the maize and blue, Morris has stopped a total of 172 of 181 shots. The third year goalie looked like his old self behind the net on Monday, stopping all 20 Boston College shots he saw, allowing head coach and Michigan native Jeff Jackson to become the winningest head coach in Notre Dame hockey history.

Coach Jackson will have his team ready to continue their momentum and give him win #309 in front of his largest crowd yet. A Michigan Wolverines team hasn’t won at Notre Dame Stadium since 2010, and the Irish have outscored the Wolverines 68-23 since then. Michigan’s losing streak at Notre Dame Stadium will continue, and Morris will get another shutout.