For the third consecutive series, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team will play a series against a team from Michigan. This time around it is also the opening of Big Ten conference play as the ranked Notre Dame welcomes the Michigan State Spartans to South Bend for two games.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
- When: Friday, October 28, 7:30pm ET (Game 1); Saturday, October 29, 6:00pm ET (Game 2)
- How to Watch: Both games streaming on Peacock
After splitting a home-and-home against the Western Michigan Broncos, Notre Dame begins conference play against the Michigan State Spartans. Overall Notre Dame has stepped up their performance the last few games after a tough start, but last weekend was a tale of two games and they took a step back in the finale. They’ll be looking for more consistency this weekend and moving forward.
On special teams Notre Dame has made a great deal improvement, raising their penalty kill to 74.1% on the year, including holding Western Michigan to only one goal on nine attempts last weekend. Their power play still has room for improvement sitting at 21.7% on the year, middle of the pack in the national rankings. The bad news is that Michigan State is one of the better penalty kills in the country with a 87.5% kill rate. They struggle on the power play themselves though scoring on only 20% of their chances. If either team can break through with a man advantage they’ll have a good chance to win, but most likely these games will be one at even strength.
Ryan Bischel has steadily increased his level of play as the season goes on, bringing his save percentage up to .914 with a 2.74 GAA. Most likely in net for Michigan State will be graduate transfer Dylan St. Cyr, a familiar name to Irish fans as he spent four years at Notre Dame before transferring prior to last season. He has a .910 SV% and 2.03 GAA on the season, but he’s only played five games so far and hasn’t faced too many shots in any of them and may get his first real tests this weekend.
Part of the reason that St. Cyr hasn’t been tested yet this year is Michigan State’s ability to control the shot share. They have a 63.5 CF% through their first six games of the season which is second in the country. Notre Dame on the other hand fell below the break even line last weekend sitting with a 49.0 CF% through their own six game start. Bischel will get tested this weekend, but the Irish offense will need to step up to test St. Cyr as well.
Notre Dame’s defense and goaltending are going to get tested this weekend. The offense will need to keep up if they’re going to have a chance of winning. The good thing is they’ve proven that they can, but the bad news is that they’ve proven inconsistent so far this season. Last weekend is representative of what Notre Dame has been so far this season, controlling one game and then falling in the next. Until they show more consistency expect them to keep splitting the weekend series.