Notre Dame hockey set to take on Michigan State

ND Insider Staff
ND Insider

COLLEGE HOCKEY

WHO: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-3-1 overall, 6-0-0-0 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State Spartans (7-6-1 overall, 1-4-1-1 Big Ten).

WHEN: Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

WHERE: Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, Mich.

TV: None Friday; BTN Plus Saturday. Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3).

POLLS: Notre Dame is No. 4 in USCHO.com (media) poll and No. 3 in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls; Michigan State is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.

SERIES NOTES: Michigan State leads, 62-40-11, including 37-13-4 in games played in East Lansing. … It’s the first meetings between the Irish and Spartans since Jan. 12, 2013 when MSU skated to a 4-1 victory at the Munn Ice Arena.

ICE CHIPS: The Irish are riding a nine-game winning streak, the longest in the country. It’s the longest winning streak for Notre Dame since the 2008-09 team won 10 straight from Feb. 13 to March 21, 2009. … Sophomore goalie Cale Morris, who has started every game of the winning streak and is 11-1 this season, is the Big Ten’s First Star of the Week for the third straight week. … Morris’ .952 save percentage and .917 winning percentage both lead the nation and his 1.62 goals-against average is second. ... Despite allowing two power-play goals Saturday night, Notre Dame’s penalty-killing unit is fifth nationally. … Senior center and Irish captain Jake Evans leads the nation in scoring with 25 points on six goals and a national-best 19 assists, and also leads the nation with 229 faceoff wins, 18 even-strength points and five games with at least three points. … Danton Cole, who played junior hockey under Jeff Jackson and then won a national title under the late Ron Mason at Michigan State, is in his first season as Michigan State’s coach. … Sophomore goalie John Lethemon made 41 saves in the Saturday night tie against the Nittany Lions.

QUOTING JACKSON: “Playing Minnesota was a good benchmark for us, like playing Denver (the Irish went 0-1-1 against the defending NCAA champions in an October series). … It’s about puck possession right now (for Notre Dame); trying to do a better job possessing the puck against good teams. … We have to play smart road hockey, which we have (Notre Dame has swept Ohio State and Rensselaer on the road). … (Michigan State is) a team that is going to make some noise.”

NEXT SERIES: The Irish travel Dec. 8-9 to Wisconsin.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson leads the Irish against Michigan State Friday and Saturday nights. (Tribune File Photo)