Hockey: Everything you need to know about Notre Dame's weekend series at Penn State

By John Fineran
ND Insider
Notre Dame's Ryder Rolston (12) celebrates with Graham Slaggert (18) during the Notre Dame vs. Ohio State NCAA hockey game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend.

COLLEGE HOCKEY

Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-6-0 overall, 6-4-0 Big Ten) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (12-8-0 overall, 3-7-0 Big Ten)

When: Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

Where: Pegula Ice Arena (6,014), University Park, Pennsylvania.

TV/Streaming: Big Ten Network Plus. Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com

Recaps: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish coming off weekend split at home against Niagara of the Atlantic Hockey Association, losing 3-1 on Saturday and winning Sunday 5-0. … Coach Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions coming off 5-3 victory at Army West Point of Atlantic Hockey Association.

Rankings: Notre Dame No. 13 in both USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) and DCU/USCHO.com (media) polls. … Penn State receiving votes in media poll.

Rivalry: Notre Dame leads series 16-7-4, including 5-3-2 at Pegula. … Series began with 4-4 tie and 10-3 Irish victory at Penn State Ice Pavilion on Feb. 10-11, 1984. … Last season, teams met five times. … Irish and Nittany Lions each had overtime victory (Penn State 2-1, Irish 3-2) at Pegula on Jan. 28-29, 2021. ... Irish swept home series 5-2, 7-1 on March 5-6 to conclude regular season but lost 6-3 in Big Ten Hockey Tournament at Compton March 14.

Big Ten standings: 1. Michigan 23 points; 2. Minnesota 19; 3. Ohio State 18; 4. Notre Dame 17; 5. Michigan State 14; 6. Wisconsin 9; 7. Penn State 8. 

Scouting Fighting Irish

This is first of two straight Big Ten series on road for Notre Dame, which travels to Ohio State Jan. 14-15, and its first league road series since Irish won two overtime games at then top-ranked Michigan Nov. 19-20. … Junior right wing Max Ellis leads team in scoring with 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points. … Sophomore Ryder Rolston (6-11-17) has three game-winning goals as does senior center Cal Burke (6-6-12). … Burke and junior right wing Trevor Janicke (7-4-11) each had two goals in 5-0 victory over Niagara. … Seniors Nick Leivermann (5-9-14) and Spencer Stastney (3-8-11) and grad Adam Karashik (0-9-9) anchor defense. … Grad student Matthew Galajda and junior Ryan Bischel rank eighth and ninth respectively in both goals-against average (1.74 and 1.83) and saves percentage (.930 and .928). … Notre Dame averages 33.11 shots on goal per game and is surrendering 25.42 shots on goal per game. … NCAA statistics: Scoring offense, 3.37 (17th out of 59 teams ranked); scoring defense, 1.89 (5th); scoring margin, 1.47 (6th); faceoffs won percentage, 0.533 (574-502) (12th); power-play percentage, 0.185 (12 of 65) (30th); penalty-kill percentage, 0.932 (69 of 74) (1st); shorthanded goals, 4 (4th); penalty minutes per game, 10.89 (33rd).

Scouting Nittany Lions

Junior forwards Kevin Wall (12-6-18) and Connor MacEachern (11-7-18) lead Penn State in scoring. … Senior Clayton Phillips (4-5-9) and sophomore Jimmy Dowd Jr. (1-11-12) anchor defense in front of senior goalie Oskar Autio of Finland (2.75 goals-against average, .901 saves percentage, 9-6-1 record). … Penn State leads nation in shots on goal with 38.05 per game but surrenders 28.25 shots on goal per game. … NCAA statistics: Scoring offense, 3.50 goals per game (13th); scoring defense, 3.05 (37th); scoring margin, 0.45 (21st); faceoffs won percentage, 0.514 (664-628) (21st), power-play percentage, 0.209 (14 of 67) (24th); penalty-kill percentage, 0.753 (61 of 81) (49th); shorthanded goals, 2 (15th); penalty minutes per game, 13.70 (10th).

— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent