The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team returns to the ice this weekend, welcoming the Wisconsin Badgers to South Bend for their first two games of 2024. Last weekend Notre Dame opened the second half with a two game sweep of the Augustana Vikings. Now they play their first Big Ten games of the second half and their first games against Wisconsin this season.
Where, When, How to Watch
- Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
- When: Friday, January 5, 7pm ET and Saturday, January 6, 5pm ET
- How to Watch: Both games streaming on Peacock
Last weekend Notre Dame began the second half of their season with two wins against the Augustana Vikings. The Irish scored 8 goals in the two games and were powered by freshman Cole Knuble, who scored four of the goals including a hat trick in game one and the overtime winner in game two. His big weekend earned him second star of the week in honors in the Big Ten. Knuble now has 5 goals on the season which is tied for second, one of two freshman with five goals, Patrick Moynihan is the other.
For the first time all season, Notre Dame won a game when Landon Slaggert failed to gain a point. Slaggert still leads the team with 17 points but adding some diversity will allow the Irish to remain in more games down the stretch run of the season. The other member of the big two, Ryan Bischel, continued his strong season with two wins last weekend. While he didn’t have a ton of work, only making 41 saves between the two games, he also only allowed 3 goals total and now sits at a .932 SV% for the year.
Notre Dame comes into the weekend 4-4-2 in Big Ten play which puts them fourth in the conference with 15 points. They are 10-8-2 overall but also have a 9-4 record at home.
Wisconsin on the other hand is at the top of the conference, setting a scorching pace with Michigan State. The Badgers have 24 points and are second in the Big Ten. They are third in the country in penalty killing which presents an issue for a Notre Dame team that struggles to convert on the power play. Nobody on the Wisconsin team has scored at the pace of Slaggert but they spread things around well with 9 different players having double digit points. In net, Kyle McClellan has excelled with a GAA below 2 and nearly a .940 SV%.
Wisconsin matches up very well with Notre Dame and presents problems for the Irish that few teams do. Home ice this weekend is an advantage for Notre Dame but the Badgers are top of the conference for a reason. Last time Notre Dame played a team of this caliber this season they were swept by Michigan State on the road. Compton Ice Arena can be somewhat of an equalizer and a series split would be a successful result for Notre Dame.