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Notre Dame Hockey: Michigan State Series Preview

Fresh off a bye the Irish welcome the Spartans to South Bend

X @NDHockey

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team is entering the home stretch of the regular season with just four series left to play. The first of those four is a home series against the Big Ten leading Michigan State Spartans. With three straight wins Notre Dame is looking to keep the good results coming fresh off of a bye week.

Where, When, How to Watch

  • Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN
  • When: Friday, February 2, 7:30pm ET; Saturday, February 3, 6:00pm ET
  • How to Watch: Both games streaming on Peacock

Last week Notre Dame was out of action for a bye week. Their last three game before the bye though were all wins with one coming against Ohio State followed by a sweep of Penn State. Against the Nittany Lions the Irish offense found a spark, scoring 10 goals over two games. Those two games featured strong showings from who has been their best players this season with Landon Slaggert getting a career best four points and Danny Nelson scoring his first career multi goal game.

Notre Dame enters this weekend with a big opportunity to work towards a tournament bid. Currently the Irish are 20th in the Pairwise rankings with only 16 teams making the tournament. In order to guarantee a spot a ranking in the top 12 is where Notre Dame wants to be. Michigan State is 7th in Pairwise and a win or two would be a good resume builder for Notre Dame. Michigan State is currently first in the Big Ten standings with 37 points while Notre Dame is 4th with 24 points. So while Notre Dame won’t catch Michigan State in conference they can start making up ground on the teams between them.

Earlier this season, just before the holiday break, Notre Dame and Michigan State played their first series in East Lansing. Michigan State won both of those games but the second one was a close fought game that Notre Dame was never out of. If they can carry that level of play into a home series the results can easily flip. Michigan State is scoring a goal per game more than their opponents but are barely outshooting them, even being outshot in conference play. Their combining a high shooting percentage with strong special teams to beat their opponents.

Last week, it was announced that Landon Slaggert and Ryan Bischel were nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s Heisman Trophy. Fan voting is open for the Hobey Baker but neither Irish player currently sits in the top 10. You can vote once per day here until March 10.

Prediction

The top team in the conference is a tough matchup any week but being at home and coming off bye Notre Dame has a much more favorable matchup then it could be. Notre Dame needs at least a split this weekend and they should be able to do it. If they can pull out a sweep though it will be a huge step towards the rest of their season.