The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team is back in action this weekend with a road series against the Wisconsin Badgers. Coming off perhaps their worst series of the season against the Minnesota Gophers, Notre Dame will be looking to rebound by continuing their road success.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Labahn Arena, Madison, Wisconsin
- When: Friday. February 19, 8pm ET (Game 1); Saturday, February 20, 5pm ET (Game 2)
- How to Watch: Streaming on BTNPlus.com and the BTN+ app (Games 1 and 2)
Notre Dame is coming off a series where the did just about nothing well. They didn’t score a single goal and lost both games 3-0, so we won’t dwell on that one too long. They are heading back out on the road though where they are 7-1-0, so they have the opportunity to rebound in a tough matchup.
Dylan St. Cyr has certainly been a bright spot in net for Notre Dame of late. He’s started 8 of the last 9 games, and while he is only 4-4 over those 8 starts he does have a .931SV% and 2.12 GAA over the same time.
Outside of their recent sweep of Ohio State, the problem for Notre Dame has been their inability to score goals. The good news for this weekend is, like with most areas, the offense has been much better on the road than at home. The power play, most notably, has been converting at a rate of 35% on the road compared to just 16.1% for the entire season. Notre Dame continued to control possession and shot share in most games, but they are also performing worse when the game is close (within two goals). The Irish are shooting 8.3% overall, but only 7.2% in close games. The 8.3% is ranked 39th in the country and proves the fact that Notre Dame needs to convert more of their chances successfully to make any type of run in the postseason.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, is loaded with NHL-potential talent. They score a lot (third in the country with 83 goals for) and don’t give up much (15th with a .918SV%). They are currently sitting second in the Big Ten, two points behind Minnesota and coming off a split series with Michigan. There really isn’t a key to beating Wisconsin, but unlike Notre Dame, they don’t control possession or shot share. They are good at blocking shots and giving away low danger scoring chances as opposed to high danger though, so Notre Dame will need to convert their opportunities at a much higher rate than they have been to be successful.
Given everything above it seems unlikely that Notre Dame comes away with a win this weekend, despite their success on the road. They just don’t matchup well with Wisconsin and everything the Badgers do works well to stop a team like Notre Dame. The Irish desperately need a split, but unfortunately I think they’ll come home without a win, being swept by the Badgers and most likely falling behind Michigan into fourth place in the conference.