Fresh off their weekend openers in the Ice Breaker Tournament, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team opens their home schedule this weekend against the Northern Michigan WIldcats. Notre Dame enters the weekend with a 0-1-1 record, having lost to the Denver Pioneers before tying (and losing the shootout) the Air Force Falcons. The Irish will be looking for their first win of the season in front of their home crowd.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
- When: Friday, October 14, 7:30pm ET; Sunday, October 16, 5pm ET
- How to Watch: Both games streaming on Peacock
The season didn’t start exactly as Notre Dame would’ve wanted last weekend, so they’ll still be looking for their first win this weekend as they begin their home schedule. They were a good team at home a season ago, finishing with a 17-6 record. If they can duplicate that success it would go a long way to getting this team where it wants to be at the end of the year.
Notre Dame’s offense looked strong last weekend, scoring seven goals over two games. They also came on late with third period goals in both games, but fell behind in both as well, necessitating those late pushes. Northern Michigan has allowed 12 goals in 4 games in the early parts of this season, so the chances should be there for a talented Irish team to capitalize on.
The worrying thing from last weekend for the Irish was their defense, as they allowed 10 goals over the 2 games. Playing Denver will do that, but they also allowed 5 goals to Air Force. That’s not good enough and Notre Dame will have to be better there if they want to have success. The Wildcats come into this weekend with 15 goals scored in 4 games, so they can certainly put pucks in the back of the net, and we may find out if the goals Notre Dame allowed were an opening weekend fluke or if this is something that needs to be worked on moving forward.
The silver lining is that a lot of the goals allowed by the Irish were on the power play. They killed only 37% of the penalties they took and a year after being one of the best killing teams in the country that number will certainly rise by a significant margin. I would expect them to be in the 80% range if not higher in short order. I would also expect their team ave percentage of .821 to go up by a significant margin, probably in tandem with their kill percentage.
Northern Michigan is a good team, just sneaking into the top 25 rankings this week. They certainly won’t be an easy matchup but the Notre Dame team we saw a week ago won’t be the same team we see this weekend either. The most likely outcome here is probably a split of the two games, but given the home ice advantage that Notre Dame enjoys an Irish sweep of the series would not be a surprise at all.