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Notre Dame Hockey: Michigan Series Preview

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Notre Dame travels to Ann Arbor for a weekend series with the Wolverines.

Twitter @NDHockey

After a rough opening to the season the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team returns to action this weekend with a visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play the #3/4 ranked Michigan Wolverines. Notre Dame will be looking to get their first win of the season against one of the top teams in the country on the road.

Where, When, and How to Watch

  • Where: Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • When: Friday, Nov. 27, 7:00pm ET (Game 1) and Saturday, Nov. 28, 7:00pm ET (Game 2)
  • How to Watch: Both games will be streaming on BTNPlus.com

Notre Dame struggled to find goals in their opening series against the Wisconsin Badgers and that will have to change if they have any hope this weekend. Notre Dame outshot Wisconsin in both games of the opening series but managed only three goals, all from Colin Theisen in game two. The shot rate was an encouraging development from the Irish offense, as they were consistently outshot last season. They’ll need a much higher conversion rate than we saw in the first two games to compete this year though.

The second big question coming into the season for Notre Dame was goaltending. Dylan St. Cyr started both games for Notre Dame so far. St. Cyr performed decently against a high scoring offense but he’ll need to improve as well for Notre Dame to be where they want. There’s also a chance that we see Ryan Bischel get some work in net this weekend, especially if St. Cyr struggles.

Michigan comes into the weekend on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Wolverines have won their first four games, including a sweep of the Wisconsin Badgers. They’ve also scored 18 goals in those four games, meaning Notre Dame’s defense will have to be strong to stop the attack. Michigan goaltender Strauss Mann comes into the series with a .952 SV%, so goals may be hard to come by. The Wolverines are full of top end talent, including defenseman Cam York and forward Brendan Brisson, both first round draft picks in the NHL Draft.

Prediction

This is a tough matchup for Notre Dame. Michigan is a talented team and they have the ranking to prove that. They have aspirations of winning the conference this year and making a run in the NCAA Tournament. On top of that, their strengths play very well into Notre Dame’s weaknesses, making an tough matchup for the Irish even tougher. I hate picking against Notre Dame, especially against Michigan, but I have a hard time seeing how the Irish go on the road and come away with a win in either game this series.