Notre Dame hockey preview: Irish travel north for Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan

By John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Notre Dame’s Landon Slaggert (19) works down the ice during the Notre Dame vs. Penn State Big Ten Hockey Tournament last season. The Irish are 1-0 heading into road games this weekend against Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0) at Michigan Tech Huskies (2-0)

♦ When: Friday at 7 p.m. EDT. ♦ Where: John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena (4,466), Houghton, Michigan. ♦ TV: Streaming on FloHockey. ♦ Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and UND.com.

♦ Rankings: Michigan Tech No. 16 and Notre Dame No. 17 in USCHO.com (media) poll; both receiving votes in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) poll. 

♦ Recaps: Notre Dame coming off 5-2 victory over visiting Long Island University last Saturday. … Michigan Tech coming off 5-2 and 5-1 road sweep of Wisconsin last Friday and Saturday.

♦ Series: Michigan Tech leads 31-22-2, but Notre Dame won last meeting, 4-3 in overtime, in first round of NCAA Regional at Bridgeport, Connecticut, on March 23, 2018.

♦ Shavings: Irish got goals from five different players (defenseman Nick Leivermann, left wing Landon Slaggert, center Cam Burke, center Hunter Strand and left wing Solag Bakich), had 12 players score points (Leivermann, Bakich and center Trevor Janicke had two points each) and grad-transfer (Cornell) goalie Matthew Galajda made 15 saves in debut. … Huskies had 13 different players score in road sweep of Badgers led by forwards Alec Broetzman (2-3-5), Logan Pietila (3-1-4), Parker Saretsky (1-2-3), Brian Halonen (1-2-3) and Nick Nardella (0-3-3), the brother of former Irish All-America defenseman Bobby Nardella. … Junior Blake Pietila has 1.50 goals-against average and .952 saves percentage. … Last time Irish visited Houghton was Winter Carnival Weekend series, losing 7-1 Friday night Jan. 29, 1982, but winning 5-3 Saturday afternoon Jan. 30. … Irish coach Jeff Jackson was an assistant coach at Lake Superior State in 1987 when Michigan Tech coach Joe Shawhan was goalie there. 

► More:Jackson’s goatee not only new look about No. 18 Irish hockey team

► More:Five players score as new goalie Galajda prevails in Irish debut against LIU, 5-2

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Northern Michigan Wildcats (2-0)

♦ When: Saturday at 6:30 p.m. EDT. ♦ Where: Berry Events Center (3,800), Marquette, Michigan. ♦ TV: Streaming on FloHockey. ♦ Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and UND.com.

♦ Rankings: Northern Michigan receiving votes in USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls.

♦ Recap: Northern Michigan, which plays host to U.S. National Under-18 team Friday, is coming off home sweep of Central Collegiate Hockey Association opponent St. Thomas, 4-1 and 8-3, last Friday and Saturday.

♦ Series: Notre Dame leads 24-21-8 following 2-1 overtime victory on Nov. 27, 2018 at Compton Family Ice Arena.

♦ Shavings: Wildcats are led by forwards AJ Vanderbeck (3-2-5), Hampus Eriksson (0-4-4) and Hank Krone (2-2-4) and goalie Rico DiMatteo (2.01 average and .897 saves percentage). … They are coached by Grant Potulny, a former player and assistant coach at Minnesota for coach Don Lucia, the former Irish defenseman who is commissioner of CCHA. … Notre Dame is 6-0-2 in its last eight games against Wildcats. … In games at Marquette, Notre Dame is 10-8-4, including 5-2 and 3-2 victories on Oct. 26-27, 2012 on last trip there.

— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent