The Notre Dame hickey team is in a bit of a pickle. The Irish are 11-11-2 for the season, and have a handful of missed opportunities that have resulted in a handful of losses that are holding them back.
At present, the Irish are ranked #21 in the Pairwise Rankings.
To be eligible for the NCAA Hockey Tournament, a team has to be ranked inside the top 16 or a conference champion. As a guideline, if a team isn’t a conference champion — the best bet is to be at least #12.
Speaking of the conference... Notre Dame is struggling in Big 10 play at the moment. The Irish just split a road series against Ohio State after being swept in back-to-back series against the top two teams in the Big 10 — the Michigan State Spartans and Wisconsin Badgers.
So as bad as all of that sounds... being #21 isn’t that much of a kick to the groin right now. Notre Dame has a tremendous opportunity to rise over the next month with a home series coming up this weekend against the Penn State Nitanny Lions followed by possible revenge series against Sparty and Wisconsin.
This isn’t a great Notre Dame hockey team, but they have the pieces to get hot and play good playoff hockey in the regular season. By mid-February, we’ll know if this team is better than what they’ve shown so far, or if this is one of the more disappointing seasons since Notre Dame’s entry into the Big 10.