Notre Dame vs. Michigan State hockey capsule
WHO: Notre Dame (8-1-1, 4-1-1-1 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State (5-5-0, 3-1-0-0 Big Ten).
WHERE: Clarence “Biggie” Munn Arena (6,552), East Lansing, Mich.
WHEN: Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
RADIO: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com.
RANKINGS: Notre Dame No. 3 in USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls; Michigan State not ranked.
RIVALRY: Spartans lead series 68-43-12, including 37-17-4 in East Lansing. … Irish went 5-0-1 last season … Irish coach Jeff Jackson has communications (1978) and education (1979) degrees from Michigan State and is 20-8-4 against alma mater since arriving at Notre Dame in 2005.
SHAVINGS: Saturday’s victory against Wisconsin at Kohl Center in Madison was Notre Dame’s sixth comeback victory of season. … Notre Dame 8-1-1 against Michigan State since joining Big Ten and senior goalie Cale Morris has played each game, posting 1.59 goals-against average and .956 saves percentage. … Notre Dame’s 3.80 goals a game is seventh nationally and second in Big Ten to Penn State’s 4.73. … Irish tied with Minnesota State in faceoff winning percentage at .588. … Captain Cal Burke (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points) and fellow senior linemate Mike O’Leary (5-7-12) pace Irish in scoring and O’Leary is tied with freshman Trevor Janicke for goals lead with five. … Sophomore defenseman Nate Clurman’s +14 plus/minus rating is best in country. … Patrick Khodorenko (6-7-13) leads Spartans in scoring with Mitchell Lewndowski (2-5-7) next. … Sophomore Dennis Cesana (3-3-6) leads defensemen. … Senior goalie John Lethemon has 2.31 goals-against average and .936 saves percentage plus two shutouts — 3-0 last Saturday against Michigan and 2-0 Nov. 8 at Penn State.
QUOTING JACKSON: (Comeback victories) “Being resilient, we preach it all the time. It helps having guys who have been through it in the past … keeping the guys on the bench in a positive frame of mind.” (Balance in scoring) “Right now our senior line (Burke, O’Leary and Cam Morrison) is not scoring. I know eventually they will start being productive. It’s great to see we’re getting production out of other guys.” (Michigan State) “They have a good defensive structure and their goalie has played well in the last month. Going to Penn State and shutting out Penn State is not easy.”
— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent