Everything you need to know about Notre Dame hockey's weekend series vs. Michigan State

John Fineran
Notre Dame’s Spencer Stastney (24) watches a puck get past Michigan State’s John Lethemon (31) as Butrus Ghafari (44) defends Feb. 29, 2020 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend. The Irish and the Spartans resume their Big Ten rivalry this weekend in South Bend.
(South Bend Tribune file photo)

Michigan State Spartans (4-2-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-2-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten)

  • When/Where: Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. on Lefty Smith Rink (4,850) in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
  • Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3) and
  • TV/Streaming: Peacock
  • Tickets: Available through Saturday’s game follows Hocktoberfest (beer garden, food, children’s activities) outside Compton from 4-6 p.m. (weather permitting). Fans in Halloween costumes can win prizes.
  • Coaches: Notre Dame, Jeff Jackson (379-233-67 in 18th season at Notre Dame and 561-285-92 in 24th season overall). … Michigan State, Adam Nightingale (4-2 in first season).
  • Recap: Notre Dame split a home-and-home, non-conference series with Western Michigan, winning 2-0 Friday in South Bend and losing 4-0 Saturday in Kalamazoo. … Michigan State swept non-conference home series with Long Island, winning 3-1 Friday and 8-4 Saturday.
  • Rivalry: Michigan State leads 70-50-15 in 135 games. … Series began with 3-1 Irish victory at University Rink in Lansing on Jan. 15, 1927. … Last season, Irish won 3-2 Dec. 10 before losing 1-0 (OT) Dec. 11 at Compton and then swept Spartans 2-1 and 4-2 Feb. 18 and 19 at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing. … Current MSU graduate transfer (from Quinnipiac) goalie Dylan St. Cyr was in net for the Irish when they scored pair of 2-0 shutouts Feb. 18 and 19 at Munn during 2020-21 season.
  • Rankings: In USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine coaches’ poll, Notre Dame is No. 12 and Michigan State is not ranked. … In DCU/ media poll, Notre Dame is No. 12 and Michigan State is receiving votes. … In PairWise Rankings, Michigan State is No. 12 and Notre Dame is No. 16.

More Notre Dame hockey news:Notre Dame’s Jackson Pierson likes playing hockey back in his home state of Indiana

Scouting Michigan State Spartans

Nightingale is a 2005 MSU alumnus in his first season after working for the USNTDP Under-18 as a head coach and for various college and professional teams. … Forward Daniel Russell (3-6-9) leads an impressive freshman class and MSU added six transfers, including graduate goaltender Dylan St. Cyr (Quinnipiac) who graduated from Notre Dame following 2019-20 season during which he had pair of 2-0 shutouts for Irish at Munn Ice Arena he now calls home. … St. Cyr (3-2-0, 2.03 average, .910 saves percentage) started MSU’s first five games before yielding to junior Pierce Charleson in last Saturday’s victory over LIU. … Grad twin brothers Christian (1-0-1) and Cole Krygier (1-0-1) anchor the defense which includes junior Nash Nienhuis (2-3-5) and freshman Matt Basgall (1-4-5). … Forwards Karsen Dorwart (1-5-6) and seniors Nicolas Muller (1-5-6) and Jagger Joshua (3-2-5) also are off to good starts. … Spartans are 13th nationally in faceoff wins (53.2 percent) and 10th in penalty kill (87 percent).

Scouting Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame saw three-game winning streak snapped with loss at Western Michigan Saturday night. … Junior right wing Ryder Rolston (3-3-6) continues to pace Irish followed by grad center Chayse Primeau (1-4-5), junior defenseman Drew Bavaro (1-4-5) and senior right win Trevor Janicke 2-3-5). … Primeau (Omaha) and Bavaro (Bentley) are transfers. … Sophomore defenseman Jake Boltmann is third nationally with a team-high 18 blocked shots. … Senior goaltender Ryan Bischel allowed just three goals last weekend in two games, including his third career shutout, and is now 3-2-0 with 2.74 average and .913 saves percentage. … Notre Dame’s penalty-kill units have improved to 39th (74.1 percent) but Irish are ranked 33rd nationally in faceoff wins (49.2 percent).

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson behind the bench during the Western Michigan-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Friday, October 21, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

Quoting ND coach Jeff Jackson

“I see (the Spartans) doing a lot of good things both off the rush and in the offensive zone. They are playing differently than what we saw under (former coach) Danton Cole, and they probably have a little more ‘oomph’ to their game offensively.” 

On facing St. Cyr ... “He’s a good goalie — we know that from his time here (2017-21). He had a good career here at Notre Dame and really came into his own his senior year. He's not the biggest guy (5-foot-8, 167), but he’s very technically sound, and that makes him bigger than what he is in the way he plays the game.” 

On Boltmann’s shot-blocking ... “When you have a guy who is fearless, he lays it all on the ice. You love having guys like that. We saw that last year with Adam Karashik. Jake played with Adam quite a bit and he probably learned the best way to block shots.”

On last weekend ... “We played a much more aggressive game (in Friday’s victory). I don’t think we handled (Western Michigan’s) pressure very well (on Saturday). Coming out our zone and even in the defensive zone, I thought we broke down at times and it made it challenging for us to generate much offensively. We just have to find some consistency coming out of our zone.”

John Fineran, Correspondent