The no. 4/5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take a brief interruption from Big Ten play start this weekend, when they play a home and home with the no. 15 Bowling Green Falcons. The matchup will be the first of two consecutive non-conference series.
WHERE, WHEN, AND HOW TO WATCH
Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN (Game 1), Slater Family Ice Arena, Bowling Green, OH (Game 2)
When: Friday, Nov. 29, 7:00 PM ET (Game 1), Saturday, Nov. 30, 7:00 PM (Game 2)
Watch: NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app (Game 1), Flohockey.tv (Game 2)
No longer in the same conference, this weekend might feel nostalgic for fans of both teams. The Falcons and Fighting Irish will meet for the first time since the end of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in 2013. Prior to Notre Dame becoming a college hockey powerhouse, Bowling Green dominated the CCHA, winning the regular season championship seven times between 1976 and 1987. This feat was achieved twice by Jeff Jackson and the Irish, in 2007 and 2009.
While Notre Dame left for Hockey East and then the Big Ten, Bowling Green joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association after the CCHA disbanded. Most in the college hockey community expected them to get off to a hot start, but the Falcons currently are tied for fourth in the WCHA at 15 points, with the Northern Michigan Wildcats and Michigan Tech Huskies.
Bowling Green’s offense is led by junior forward Cameron Wright, who through 13 games has found the back of the net 9 times. He and the rest of the Falcons are especially dangerous on the power-play, where they’re an impressive 20.3%. The Irish, however, lead the Big Ten in penalty kill, so special teams could very well be the key to Notre Dame bouncing back after last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans.
Keeping the Falcons off the power-play shouldn’t be too hard for a Notre Dame squad that has stayed disciplined this season. Coming into this weekend’s series, they’ve been on the penalty kill just 32 times. Only the Harvard Crimson and Brown Bears have been penalized less.
The hot start for the Fighting Irish was cooled down a bit last weekend. After a comeback tie and shootout victory on Friday, the Irish were defeated in regulation for just the second time this season. The travel of playing a home and home, albeit a short distance, will give the Fighting Irish the advantage, as they appear to be the deeper team and should get the sweep.