The #7 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team begins their postseason slate this weekend with a best of three series against the Wisconsin Badgers. Notre Dame, as the #3 seed in the B1G tournament will host all three games of the quarterfinal round at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
- When: Friday, March 4, 7pm ET (Game 1); Saturday, March 5, 6pm ET (Game 2); Sunday, March 6, 7pm ET (Game 3 if necessary)
- How to Watch: All games streaming on BTN+
Notre Dame enters the conference tournament on a high note, winning their last five games of the season, including a sweep of the then top ranked Michigan Wolverines last weekend. The run of form to end the season saw Notre Dame finish the season with an overall record of 25-9-0, good for a third place finish in the Big Ten standings. They’ve climbed up to the #7 ranking nationally over the past few weeks and are tied for fifth in the PairWise rankings, a spot that would see them qualify for the NCAA Tournament no matter how they finish in the Big Ten conference tournament.
The Irish have gotten contributions from throughout the lineup all season, but the two hot hands right now are defenseman Spencer Stastney and goaltender Matthew Galajda, both of whom will need to continue their strong play for Notre Dame’s season to end in success. Stastney has a three game point streak and has 17 points in 17 games since January 1. He finished the regular season with 26 points, 7 goals and 19 assists, all career highs. Galajda has started all five games of the current Irish winning streak, including a terrific performance last weekend against Michigan that earned him Big Ten Second Star of the Week honors. He finished the series with 59 saves on 61 shots, earning him a .967 SV% and 1.00 GAA.
Notre Dame and Wisconsin have faced off four times this season, with Notre Dame winning three of four. Notre Dame swept the Badgers at home in November, with Galajda starting both games of that series. They then split the series in Wisconsin in February, with Notre Dame playing like the better team in both games, but falling behind with a quick 3-0 deficit in their loss that they just couldn’t overcome. Galajda started three of the four games, but earned the decision in all four, going 3-1 against the Badgers. He did have a .955 SV% and 1.10 GAA over the matchups, both higher than his season averages. Stastney also had four points against Wisconsin on the season, tied for the most on the team with Ryder Rolston.
Notre Dame played like the better team in all four matchups this season against Wisconsin, winning three of them. They are playing well at the moment, riding a five game winning streak, and finished the season with a 15-5 record at home. Put all of this together and the Irish should come away with the series win this weekend and move on to the Big Ten semifinals.