It hasn’t been a great season so far for the Notre Dame hockey team. It suffered a 6 game losing streak that put out some of the worst offensive play in recent memory, and its normally tough defense and superior goaltending took a step back as well.
The Irish have won back-to-back Big 10 Championships over the past couple of years and made it to the championship game at the Frozen Four two years ago. So... the season has been a disappointment so far.
Still... the Irish are very much in the thick of things for the NCAA Tournament and the Big 10 Championship.
Currently the Irish are ranked #14 according to Pairwise.
The NCAA Tournament slots 16 teams with 6 of those being auto-bids to conference champions. While #14 technically places the Irish inside the cutoff, just a few upsets in the conference tournaments would make things dicey.
As far as the Big 10 is concerned, Notre Dame is currently sitting 4th in the conference with 18 points.
After Notre Dame’s non conference series this weekend against the Western Michigan Broncos, the rest of their slate is all Big 10 foes. So... their standing in the league could change dramatically from where they are right now — up or down.
The key here is for the Irish to set themselves up with the best seed available in the Big Ten Tournament, and make a push for its 3rd conference title in as many years — which is the same amount of years that they have actually been Big 10 members (Thanks Jim Delany!).
None of this is going to be easy, and that 6 game losing streak really REALLY set this squad back, but the opportunity is there.
The Irish were is similar shape last season and they found a way to win the conference championship and make the NCAA Tournament. After beating Clarkson in round 1, the Irish were thoroughly handled by a ridiculously fast UMass team in the next round. UMass went on to lose in the championship game against Minnesota-Duluth.