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Notre Dame Hockey: NCAA Northeast Regional Preview VS Clarkson

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The Clarkson Golden Knights meet the Irish in New Hampshire to kick off tournament action

Following their second straight Big Ten hockey championship, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish punched their ticket to another NCAA Tournament, where they’ll take on the Clarkson Golden Knights in the NCAA Northeast Regional this Friday in Manchester, NH. The tournament appearance in the fourth straight for the Irish, making this the longest streak in school history.

Where: SNHU Arena, Manchester, NH

When: Friday, Mar. 29, 6:30 PM ET

Watch: ESPNU

After back to back Frozen Four appearances, coach Jeff Jackson and his squad hope third time is the charm, as they begin their quest to win the school’s first national championship in hockey. Since taking over as head coach in 2005, Jackson has taking the Irish to the NCAA tournament 10 times. Prior to his arrival, the Irish had only one appearance, which came the year prior to his arrival. Despite not achieving his ultimate goal during his time in South Bend, Jackson knows what it takes to go all the way, having won as an assistant with the Lake Superior State Lakers in 1988 and again as a head coach in 1992 and 1994.

Standing in their way are the Golden Knights, who won the Eastern College Athletic Conference in dramatic fashion with an overtime victory over the Cornell Big Red last Saturday. The Clarkson offense has been carried by junior forwards Nico Sturm and Haralds Egle all season. Sturm was the leading assist man on the team with 21 in 26 games, while Egle found the back to the net 13 times in as many games.

Last year’s hero through their run to the NCAA has continued to be outstanding since the end of the regular season. After shutting out the Michigan State Spartans in back to back games to start the conference tournament, he only allowed one goal against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. His most impressive performance, however, came against the nation’s top offense last week, when he stopped 44 of 46 shots, cementing Notre Dame’s opportunity at redemption for last year’s heartbreaking ending in the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction

There’s nothing more dangerous than a hot goalie when it’s win or go home. It’s clear that Morris is looking to prove to everyone that last year’s Richter Award season wasn’t a fluke, and he’s looking to do it on the biggest stage. It should be another exciting game, but I like the Irish to advance in a close contest.