What you need to know about Notre Dame's Elite 8 hockey game against Minnesota State

By John Fineran
ND Insider
Notre Dame players celebrate victory after the Wisconsin-Notre Dame Big Ten hockey tournament game on Sunday, March 06, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.


Who: No. 3-seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (28-11-0) vs. No. 1-seed Minnesota State Mavericks (36-5-0)

What: NCAA Tournament regional championship game

When: Saturday at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Where: MVP Arena (14,326), Albany, New York


Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3) and

Recaps: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish advanced with 2-1 overtime victory over No. 2-seed North Dakota in Thursday’s second semifinal. … Coach Mike Hastings’ top-seeded Mavericks won 16th straight game by ousting No. 4-seed Harvard 4-3 in Thursday’s opening semifinal.

Rankings: Notre Dame is No. 10 in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) poll and No. 9 in (media) poll. … Minnesota State is No. 1 in both polls.

Rivalry: This will be the 11th meeting between the two teams with Notre Dame holding a 6-4 edge. … Irish won first two games 5-0 and 5-3 at Joyce Center on Dec. 1 and 2, 1989 and five of the first six games. … But Mavericks have won three of last four including 3-2 in overtime at Mankato in 2006-07 season and 4-3 in Shillelagh Tournament at the Sears Centre Arena at Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Jan. 1, 2011. 

Road to Boston: Winner advances to NCAA Frozen Four at TD Garden to play Loveland (Colorado) Regional winner (either Denver or Minnesota Duluth) in one of two Thursday, April 7 semifinals. … Winners meet for NCAA title on Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m. EDT.

Reminiscing: In its 13th NCAA appearance, Notre Dame will be playing for its fifth regional championship, having advanced to Frozen Fours in 2008 (lost in championship to Boston College), 2011, 2017 and 2018 (lost in championship to Minnesota Duluth) under Jackson. … Minnesota State, which won the NCAA Division II championship in 1980, is making its eighth appearance in the Division I tournament and seeking its second regional championship after reaching last season’s Frozen Four before losing 5-4 to St. Cloud State in the semifinals.

► First round game:Second time's a charm. Slaggert brothers send Irish to Elite 8 with overtime game winner

Scouting Fighting Irish

Notre Dame has seven players with 24 or more points led by junior right wing Max Ellis who leads team with 16 goals, 12 assists and 28 points. … He is followed by sophomore right wing Ryder Rolston (10-17-27), senior defenseman Spencer Stastney (7-20-27), senior defenseman Nick Leivermann (6-21-27), sophomore left wing Landon Slaggert (12-14-26), senior center Graham Slaggert (12-13-25) and junior right wing Trevor Janicke (15-9-24). … Grad-transfer (from Cornell) goaltender Matthew Galajda has an 18-7-0 record with 1.94 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and two shutouts. … In his last 10 games, Galajda has been even better, going 8-2 with a 1.71 average and .944 save percentage. … After successfully killing off three North Dakota power plays Thursday, the Irish improved their penalty-kill percentage to .906, second best nationally. … Notre Dame has now played nine overtime games this season and won seven. … The Irish are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

► More:Wait finally over for Galajda, Irish in NCAA hockey showdown with North Dakota

► More:After tragedy and injury, Adams making points for Irish skaters with his pre-game ritual

Scouting Mavericks

Minnesota State has 11 players who have scored 20 or more points, including four with 40 or more. … Three of them make up the Mavericks’ top line: senior left wing Julian Napravnik (18-31-49), junior center Nathan Smith (18-31-49) and junior Cade Borchardt (15-25-40). … The other, junior Brendan Furry (12-30-42), centers the second line which includes junior left wing Sam Morton (8-15-23) and junior right wing Ryan Sandelin (21-12-33), who is the son of Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin. … Sophomore Jake Livingstone (9-21-30) and senior Wyatt Aamodt (6-6-12) lead a prolific blueline corps. … Two-time All-America goalie Dryden McKay (36-4-0 record, 1.31 goals-against average, .931 save percentage, nine shutouts) is a finalist for the Mike Richter Goaltender of the Year Award. … McKay and Smith are both Hobey Baker Award finalists. … Minnesota State, which won the CCHA regular-season and tournament crowns, began its 16-game winning streak after 4-2 loss at Northern Michigan Jan. 14. … Mavericks lead the nation in faceoff-win percentage (0.582) and scoring margin (2.90 goals per game), are second in scoring offense (4.17 goals per game) and scoring defense (1.27 goals per game) and third in power-play percentage (0.269).

— John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent



Thursday, March 24 semifinals

(3) Notre Dame 2, (2) North Dakota 1 (OT)

(1) Minnesota State 4, (4) Harvard 3

Saturday, March 26 championship

(1) Minnesota State (36-5-0) vs. (3) Notre Dame (28-11-0), 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

LOVELAND, COLO.  REGIONAL (Budweiser Events Center)

Thursday, March 24 semifinals

(2) Minnesota Duluth 3, (3) Michigan Tech 0

(1) Denver 3, (4) UMass Lowell 2

Saturday, March 26 championship

(1) Denver (28-9-1) vs. (2) Minnesota Duluth (22-15-4), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)


Friday, March 25 semifinals

(1) Michigan (29-9-1) vs. (4) American International (22-12-3), 3 p.m. (ESPNU)

(2) Quinnipiac (31-6-3) vs. (3) St. Cloud State (18-14-4), 8 p.m. (ESPNews)

Sunday, March 27 championship

Semifinal winners, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Friday, March 25 semifinals

(1) Western Michigan (25-11-1) vs. (4) Northeastern (25-12-1), 12 p.m. (ESPN2)

(2) Minnesota (24-12-0) vs. (3) Massachusetts (22-12-2), 6 p.m. (ESPNU)

Sunday, March 27 championship

Semifinal winners, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)


Thursday, April 7 semifinals

Albany Regional winner vs. Loveland Regional winner, 5 or 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Allentown Regional winner vs. Worcester Regional winner, 5 or 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Saturday, April 9 championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)