Hockey preview: All you need to know about Notre Dame-Minnesota Friday and Saturday

By John Fineran
NDI correspondent

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-1-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten)

When: Friday at 9 p.m. ET and Saturday at 6 p.m. ET

Where: 3M Arena at Mariucci (10,000), Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: Big Ten Network Friday and Bally Sports North Saturday

Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and UND.com

Rankings

Coach Jeff Jackson’s Irish are ranked No. 14 in USCHO.com (media) poll and receiving votes (16th) in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) poll. … Coach Bob Motzko’s Gophers are ranked No. 7 in both polls.

Recaps

Notre Dame bounced back from 3-2 (OT) loss to visiting RIT last Thursday with 6-0 victory over Tigers Friday. … Minnesota was swept by Minnesota Duluth, losing 5-3 at Minneapolis Friday and 2-1 at Duluth Saturday.

Rivalry

Teams have played 64 games dating back to 1924-25 season when Gophers scored two 2-1 victories in Minneapolis. … Minnesota leads series 35-24-5 including 20-13-3 in Minneapolis. … Goalie Jack LaFontaine and Gophers captured pair of 3-0 shutouts in South Bend last Feb. 12-13 after Irish won pair 3-2 and 2-1 from then top-ranked Gophers Jan. 15-16 in Minneapolis.

Shavings

Gophers are defending Big Ten champions after beating Wisconsin 6-4 in postseason tournament played at Notre Dame during the 2020-21 COVID-19 season. … LaFontaine, who won Mike Richter Award as outstanding goalie last season, has played all six games and has 3.22 goals-against average with .867 saves percentage. Blake McLaughlin (1-8-9) leads Gophers in scoring followed by Bryce Brodzinski (4-3-7), Ben Meyers (1-5-6) and Sammy Walker (3-2-5). … Grad-transfer goalie Matthew Galajda, who had 19 shutouts and was twice a Richter Award finalist at Cornell, made 22 saves in Notre Dame’s shutout of RIT and was named Big Ten hockey’s Third Star of the Week. … Galajda is 3-0 for the season with 1.33 average and .943 saves percentage splitting time with Minnesota native Ryan Bischel (1.92 average, .913 saves percentage). … Junior right wing Max Ellis (3-4-7) leads Irish in scoring followed by junior center Trevor Janicke (4-2-6) and sophomore wing Solag Bakich (1-4-5). … Senior center Cal Burke and sophomore left wing Landon Slaggert each have scored three goals. … Defense is led by seniors Nick Leivermann and Spencer Stastney and grad-transfers Adam Karashik and Chase Blackmun. … Notre Dame has killed off all 24 power-play opportunities by opposition. … Irish, who are in their fifth season in the Big Ten, won Big Ten championships in their first two seasons in the league.

Elsewhere

In other Big Ten action Friday and Saturday, Wisconsin is at Michigan and Michigan State visits Ohio State. … Penn State plays NCHC power North Dakota Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.

Up next

Irish return to Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena for Thursday-Friday, Nov. 4-5 non-conference series against Holy Cross of Atlantic Hockey Association with faceoffs at 7:30 both nights. … Mobile single-game tickets and plans available through UND.com/BuyTickets; face masks must be worn except when eating and drinking.

— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent

Big Ten schedule

Thursday’s game

Wisconsin at Michigan, 7 p.m.

Friday’s games

Notre Dame at Minnesota, 9 p.m.

Michigan State at Ohio State, 7 p.m.

Wisconsin at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Notre Dame at Minnesota, 6 p.m.

Michigan State at Ohio State, 2 p.m.

Penn State vs. North Dakota at Nashville, Tennessee, 9 p.m.

College hockey polls

USA TODAY/USA HOCKEY MAGAZINE (COACHES)

1. St. Cloud State (NCHC) (6-2-0) (17 first-place votes) 482 points (3 Last Week); 2. Minnesota State (CCHA) (4-2-0) (6 firsts) 468 (2 LW); 3. Michigan (Big Ten) (5-1-0) (6 firsts) 459 (1 LW); 4. Minnesota Duluth (NCHC) (5-1-0) (5 firsts) 425 (5 LW); 5. Quinnipiac (ECAC) (3-1-1) 338 (7 LW); 

6. North Dakota (NCHC) (4-2-0) 329 (6 LW); 7. Minnesota (Big Ten) (3-3-0) 279 (4 LW); 8. Providence (Hockey East) (5-2-0) 248 (14 LW); 9. Omaha (NCHC) (5-1-0) 188 (11 LW); 10. Massachusetts (Hockey East) (2-2-0) 167 (9 LW); 

11. Western Michigan (NCHC) (3-1-0) 142 (RV LW); 12. Denver (NCHC) (4-2-0) 125 (8 LW); 13. Boston College (Hockey East) (3-2-1) 116 (10 LW); 14. Harvard (ECAC) (0-0-0) 86 (13 LW); 15. Cornell (ECAC) (0-0-0) 80 (15 LW).

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame (Big Ten) (4-1-0) 69, Clarkson (ECAC) (3-1-1) 20, Bemidji State (CCHA) (3-3-0) 18, Michigan Tech (CCHA) (2-1-0) 13, Penn State (Big Ten) (5-1-0) 10, Northeastern (Hockey East) (3-2-0) 6, UMass Lowell (Hockey East) (2-1-1) 4, Boston University (Hockey East) (3-3-0) 3, Colgate (ECAC) (5-2-0) 3, Bowling Green (CCHA) (2-0-2) 1, Lake Superior State (CCHA) (5-3-0) 1.

USCHO.com (MEDIA)

1. St. Cloud State (NCHC) (6-2-0) (22 first-place votes) 952 points (3 Last Week); 2. Michigan (Big Ten) (5-1-0) (17 firsts) 938 (1 LW); 3. Minnesota State (CCHA) (4-2-0) (8 firsts) 924 (2 LW); 4. Minnesota Duluth (NCHC) (5-1-0) (3 firsts) 871 (5 LW); 5. Quinnipiac (ECAC) (3-1-1) 738 (7 LW); 

6. North Dakota (NCHC) (4-2-0) 737 (6 LW); 7. Minnesota (Big Ten) (3-3-0) 683 (4 LW); 8. Providence (Hockey East) (5-2-0) 583 (12 LW); 9. Boston College (Hockey East) (3-2-1) 509 (10 LW); 10. Omaha (NCHC) (5-1-0) 505 (11 LW); 

11. Denver (NCHC) (4-2-0) 432 (8 LW); 12. Massachusetts (Hockey East) (2-2-0) 423 (9 LW); 13. Western Michigan (NCHC) (3-1-0) 418 (17 LW); 14. Notre Dame (Big Ten) (4-1-0) 349 (13 LW); 15. Harvard (ECAC) (0-0-0) 309 (14 LW); 

16. Cornell (ECAC) (0-0-0) 278 (15 LW); 17. Bemidji State (CCHA) (3-3-0) 175 (19 LW); 18. Michigan Tech (CCHA) (2-1-0) 139 (18 LW); 19. Boston University (Hockey East) (3-3-0) 135 (16 LW); 20. Northeastern (Hockey East) (3-2-0) 97 (20 LW).

Others receiving votes: Colgate (ECAC) (5-2-0) 82, Penn State (Big Ten) (5-1-0) 71, Clarkson (ECAC) (3-1-1) 61, Lake Superior State (CCHA) (5-3-0) 20, UMass Lowell (Hockey East) (2-1-1) 14, Ohio State (Big Ten) (3-1-0) 13, Princeton (ECAC) (0-0-0) 12, Arizona State (Independent) (4-4-0) 6, Bowling Green (CCHA) (2-0-2) 6, Wisconsin (Big Ten) (2-4-0) 6, Canisius (Atlantic) (2-2-1) 4, RIT (Atlantic) (3-2-1) 4,AIC (Atlantic) (1-4-0) 2, Brown (ECAC) (0-0-0) 2, Northern Michigan (CCHA) (2-3-0) 2.