Now that things are settling down on the football side, focus can shift to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team, the #8 ranked team in the country, who return to the ice and welcome #18 Ohio State to South Bend for a two game series. Notre Dame has been out of action for two weeks but are coming off a series sweep of the then top ranked Michigan Wolverines. Notre Dame will be looking to continue the strong play and gain ground in the Big Ten conference standings at the same time, as they sit in fourth place just two points behind Ohio State.
Where, When, and How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
- When: Friday, Dec. 3, 7:30pm ET (Game 1); Saturday, Dec. 4, 6pm ET (Game 2)
- How to Watch: NBCSN and streaming on the NBC App (Game 1); Streaming on the NBC App (Game 2)
The Notre Dame hockey team is coming off an enormous sweep of the Michigan Wolverines two weeks ago and riding a six game winning streak. They sit in fourth place in the Big Ten, just two points behind Ohio State, who they can jump with a sweep. The Irish continue to play at a high level in all phases, now averaging 3.63 goals, ninth in the country, and over 30 shots per game. They are scoring on 17% of their power plays and killing 93.9% of penalties.
Notre Dame has also gotten terrific play from their goaltenders this year, and while Matthew Galajda has been the one providing that most nights, Ryan Bischel did start and win both games against Michigan last weekend. Bischel allowed six goals over the two games, but did bring his save percentage up over .900, to .908, with the wins. If Bischel continues to play as he did last weekend the Irish should be good no matter who is in net against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State on the other hand comes into play having split their last two series, but are still 4-2 in conference play. The Buckeyes are averaging 3.42 goals per game and 32.83 shots, both numbers just slightly below what Notre Dame are averaging. They’re scoring on 16.7% of their power plays, also just below Notre Dame, but are only killing 61.9% of their penalties, a number Notre Dame is in good position to take advantage of. Like Notre Dame, the Buckeyes have seen contributions from throughout the lineup, but nobody on the roster has more than 4 goals. They are also led by freshman goaltender Jakub Dobes, who is allowing only 1.83 goals per game and saving .931% of shots he faces in his 11 starts.
Notre Dame and Ohio State are relatively evenly matched statistically. The Irish have the slight edge in most areas, but they also have a large advantage on special teams. That is the advantage that they will have to exploit this weekend and if they can do that they should be able to win both games, on home ice, and continue their momentum and move up in the conference standings.