College hockey: Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

Staff reports
ND Insider

Who: Notre Dame (5-4-1, 2-2-0-0 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State (4-4-0, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten).

Where: Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn Ice Arena (6,114), East Lansing, Mich.

When: Friday, 7:05 p.m.; Saturday, 7:35 p.m.

TV/Streaming: Big Ten Network Plus on BTN2Go.com.

Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3).

Rankings: Notre Dame is No. 8 in both the USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls; Michigan State received vote in media poll.

Rivalry: Notre Dame went 3-1 against Spartans last season, winning 3-1 and 2-0 at Munn last Dec. 1-2 and 6-3 Feb. 23 on Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena before falling 4-3 the next night. … Series, 117 games strong, dates back to 3-1 Irish victory on Jan. 15, 1927 at MSU’s University Rink. … Spartans lead 63-43 with 11 ties but since Jeff Jackson, who has two degrees (communications 1978, education 1979) from Michigan State, took over in South Bend in 2005, Irish are 15-8 with three deadlocks.

Recaps: Irish split two-game series at Michigan, losing 2-1 Friday and winning 6-2 Saturday. … Spartans were swept at Arizona State, 5-4 and 2-0.

Shavings: Irish had 10 players, led by freshman Alex Steeves’ two goals and one assist, score in Saturday victory in Ann Arbor. … Sophomore Dylan St. Cyr (2-0, 1.50 goals-against average, .942 saves percentage) got win Saturday with 29 saves as Jackson gave junior All-American Cale Morris (3-4-1, 2.25, .927) night off following 36 saves, 16 in third period Friday. … Leading scorers are forward Cal Burke (6-7-13), defenseman Bobby Nardella (5-7-12) and forward Joe Wegwerth (6-4-10). … Jackson is 301-181-55 in 14th season and needs six victories to tie Smith for Notre Dame’s all-time lead. … Spartan coach Danton Cole and assistant Chris Luongo played junior hockey for Detroit Falcons coached by Jackson in early 1980s and then played for the late Ron Mason’s 1986 national champs. … Spartans’ KHL line — junior Patrick Khodorenko (5-2-7), junior Taro Hirose (5-9-14) and sophomore Mitchell Lewandowski (3-6-9) — accounts for 45 percent of team’s scoring. … Junior goalie John Lethemon is 4-2 with 2.86 average and .906 saves percentage.

Quoting Jackson: (On team’s 1-3-1 Friday record) “We have to find a way to overcome that. The biggest thing for us now is consistency. We need to execute better on Friday nights and do it for 60 minutes.” (On goalies) “Cale is our guy, but Dylan’s a good goaltender and I want to give him some spot starts so Cale is fresh in the second half. Cale’s issue is we haven’t scored for him.” (On Michigan State) “They haven’t change much. They are more experienced. They have one of the best if not the best lines in college hockey.”

Freshman Alex Steeves, shown against Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 27 at Compton Family Ice Arena, led Notre Dame with two goals and an assist in a victory over Michigan last Saturday.