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Notre Dame Hockey: Augustana Series Preview

The Irish return to action after the holiday break

X @NDHockey

While all eyes are focused on the football team, they won’t be the only Irish team in action this weekend, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team returns to the ice after their holiday break. Notre Dame opens the spring semester portion of their season at home, with two games against the Augustana Vikings right before the new year turns.

Where, When, How to Watch

  • Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
  • When: Saturday, December 30 and Sunday December 31, both games at 5:00pm ET
  • How to Watch: Both games will be streaming on Peacock

Every year, Notre Dame’s success begins in net. This year is no different as Ryan Bischel has been excellent so far. He is allowing 2.35 goals per game while sporting a .932 SV%, which is tied for third best in the country. He also leads the country with 3 shutouts so far this season. As good as Bischel has been though, the Irish offense is trending to a pattern that started last year of showing up strong for one game per weekend and then not at all for the next.

The biggest struggle for the Irish offense this season has been the secondary scoring. Landon Slaggert leads the team with 12 goals and 16 points, but Notre Dame has only won one game that Slaggert didn’t score a goal this season, and he had an assist in that game. Danny Nelson has been the biggest secondary scorer, second on the team with 14 points and first with 11 assists. He won’t be playing this weekend though as he is in Sweden with Team USA at the World Junior Championship. Two names to keep an eye on for secondary scoring are freshmen Patrick Moynihan and Maddox Fleming, both with 8 points. They get on the scoresheet in different ways, Moynihan with 5 goals and Fleming with 8 assists, but they’ve been showing up more lately and if they can continue to do so it will go a long way to the consistency this team is seeking.

Notre Dame is coming off of a 3 week break but will be looking to get back on track as their last series against the Michigan State Spartans was the first time the Irish were swept in two games all season. They were swept on the road though and have a much better record at home so far this season, sitting at 7-4 inside Compton Family Ice arena.

This is the inaugural season for Augustana, so nothing is known about them historically, but they have shown some trends that can be looked at so far this season. They are a low scoring team similar to Notre Dame, with their offense spread around to a lot of different players. They are scoring just under 3 goals per game but are giving up nearly 3.5. The Vikings have done well in blocking shots though and are preventing a good number from getting to the net. For a team like Notre Dame that usually allows more shots than it takes that could cause some issues.

Prediction

These are two defensively minded teams that like to limit their opponents opportunities and take advantage on offense when they can. That should make for an entertaining matchup but probably one that struggles for offense. That said though, this is still a series that Notre Dame can and should win both games. A sweep would be an excellent start to the second half of their season.