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Notre Dame Hockey: Irish have a huge weekend coming up for Big Ten status and the NCAA Tournament


COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 11 Ohio State at Notre Dame Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team has an enormously big weekend coming up to finish the regular season. The boys in Blue and Gold will finish the season on the road against the Michigan Wolverines inside Yost (bigot) Arena where they are 6-1 in their last 7 meetings there. You’ll get a preview from Billy later this week, but I definitely want to point out the importance of these next two games inside the Big Ten — and for the NCAA Tournament.


A few weeks ago, Brendan and I talked about the importance of Notre Dame finishing second in the Big Ten regular season. The Minnesota Gophers are running away with first place in the conference, and are clearly the #1 team in the country. Our hope was for Notre Dame to position themselves to only have to possibly face Minnesota in the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament.

And then the Irish went out and were swept by the Michigan State Spartans.

While Sparty put a gigantic dent in a clearer path, Notre Dame did enough against Ohio State to now be in a position to maybe still play for second place in the regular season.

There are two other Big Ten matchups this weekend other than Notre Dame and Michigan. Ohio State travels to Minnesota, and the Wisconsin Badgers face the Penn State Nittany Lions. So...

If Notre Dame sweeps Michigan, and Minnesota sweeps the Buckeyes, and Penn State doesn’t sweep Wisconsin — Notre Dame gets that #2 spot. It seems like a lot to ask, but Notre Dame’s recent success in Ann Arbor and the dominance of Minnesota gives the idea a good deal of hope.


As of right now, the Irish are ranked #15 in the Pairwise Rankings. Again... the Irish won’t be comfortable in the Pairwise rankings until they get up past #12. If Notre Dame takes care of that business in Ann Arbor, however, it really should be enough to cement a spot in the NCAA Tournament and give hope for an improbable run to the Frozen Four.