The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey returns to the ice this weekend fresh off of another series split. They are back home in South Bend with the Wisconsin Badgers visiting for tow games. This is the second series between these two teams this month, with the Irish and Badgers splitting their two games in Wisconsin just after the new year.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend, IN
- When: Friday, January 27, 7:30pm ET (Game 1); Saturday, January 28, 6:00pm ET (Game 2)
- How to Watch: Streaming on Peacock (Games 1 and 2)
Last weekend in a split with Penn State Ryan Bischel was once again the best player on the ice for Notre Dame. He set another career high for saves in a single game with 52 in game one. He finished the weekend with 94 saves and a .958 SV% on the weekend to earn Big Ten Third Star of the Week Honors. On the year Bischel leads the nation with saves and is fifth with a .928 SV%.
On offense Notre Dame is still struggling. They rank in the middle of the country in total goals on the season and are even lower in shooting percentage. Special teams hasn’t caught up either, as their 15.3 power play scoring rate is well below where it should be. Ryder Rolston and Trevor Janicke lead the team with 17 points each but that translates to just 0.68 and 0.65 points per game respectively. Nick Leiverman actually leads the team in that category as a defenseman but is still only scoring at 0.72 points per game. Without a single player scoring at a higher rate it is difficult for the Irish offense to use anybody as a catalyst to get things going.
Last time these two teams met was early in January, the first conference series of the second semester for Notre Dame. They split that series with Wisconsin winning the opener 2-0 and Notre Dame answering 6-4 in the second game. Notre Dame currently sits fifth in the Big Ten with 20 points and Wisconsin is seventh with only 9 points. It’s also becoming time to start looking at tournament chances, and Notre Dame is currently 15th in Pairwise rankings which, with automatic bids factored in, would not be good enough to put them into the NCAA tournament without winning the Big Ten tournament.
At home against a team at the bottom of the conference, this is a series that Notre Dame should be able to sweep. Still though they haven’t put together a full series of good play for most of the season and until they show that they can do that and come away with a sweep a split still feels like the most likely outcome.