Glance: Notre Dame hockey set to host Michigan State
WHO: Michigan State Spartans (11-19-2 overall, 5-15-2-1 Big Ten) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-8-2 overall, 16-5-1-1 Big Ten).
WHERE: Friday (7:35 p.m.) and Saturday (7:05 p.m.) at Lefty Smith Rink (5,022) in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend, Ind.
EYES AND EARS: Some tickets available. Television: NBC Sports Chicago+ (one-hour delay). Streaming: NBC Sports App (live). Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3).
RANKINGS: Notre Dame is No. 3 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll (coaches), No. 5 in the USCHO.com poll (media) and No. 2 in latest NCAA tournament Pairwise Comparison Ratings. … Michigan State is unranked and No. 38 in Pairwise.
LAST MEETINGS: Irish swept Spartans 3-1, 2-0 at East Lansing Dec. 1-2.
ICE CHIPS: Notre Dame, 3-5-1 in its last nine games and has scored just three goals and surrendered 10 in its last three games. … Irish coach Jeff Jackson (MSU Class of 1978) might have new lineups for the Spartans. … The Irish now rank 32nd among the 60 NCAA Division I schools in scoring offense at 2.84 goals per game. … Notre Dame (20) and Michigan State (23) have scored the fewest goals in the first period. … The Irish are first in the Big Ten and fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 2.09 goals per game. … Don’t be surprised if Jackson sits sophomore goalie Cale Morris for a game in order to give freshman Dylan St. Cyr work. … Morris remains first nationally in save percentage (.948), is third in winning percentage (.768) and fourth in goals-against average (1.81) … MSU’s Mitchell Lewandowski leads all freshmen with 17 goals and shares NCAA lead in game-winners with five, one more than Notre Dame’s Andrew Oglevie and Jake Evans. … Lewandowski and sophomore linemates Patrick Khodorenko and Taro Hirose have totaled 96 points (39 goals, 57 assists) – 45 percent of the team’s offensive output.
QUOTING JACKSON: (Why Notre Dame is 4-5-1 in its second trip around the Big Ten) “The biggest difference I’ve seen in almost every one of our opponents is their goaltending has gotten better. … That’s part of the reason why we are having a more challenging time scoring goals.”
QUOTING EVANS: (On slow starts) “It’s playoff time now, in my opinion, and we’ve got to come out more intense.”
(Senior Weekend) “It’s crazy (how the) four years have flown by. I’ll be remembering the good times, where I’ve come from and the opportunities Notre Dame has given me. But we still have a couple of games here left.”
– John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent