Notre Dame hockey: Irish to face Penn State
WHO: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-11-4, 6-7-3-2 Big Ten) at No. 8/9 Penn State (17-8-1, 9-6-1-0 Big Ten).
WHERE: Friday 6 p.m. and Saturday 6 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena (5,782), State College, Pa.
TV: Friday, Big Ten Network; Saturday, Big Ten+.
STREAMING: Fox Sports App.
RADIO: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com.
RECAPS: Notre Dame split with Wisconsin last weekend, losing 6-4 Friday and winning 5-2 Saturday. … Penn State split at Michigan State, losing 4-2 Friday and winning 2-1 in overtime Saturday.
RIVALRY: Notre Dame leads series 12-5-3 after splitting series last month in South Bend, losing 4-2 Dec. 13 and winning 3-0 Dec. 14.
SHAVINGS: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish are alone in fourth place in Big Ten with 23 points, five behind co-leaders Penn State and Michigan State (28) with Ohio State (26) third. … Nittany Lions are fourth in nation in scoring (3.69 goals a game) and leading nation with 38.2 shots on goal per game. … Three Nittany Lions are averaging better than a point a game — center Nate Sucese (1.15), left wing Alex Limoges (1.09) and center Evan Barratt (1.08), with defenseman Cole Hults (0.92) just missing. … Goalie Peyton Jones is 15-7-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .923 saves percentage. … Penn State has third best power-play unit (28%); Notre Dame is 57th (out of 60) in penalty kill (74%). … Right wing Alex Steeves, who has five goals and five assists in eight games since Christmas break, has taken over Irish scoring lead (9-12-21) just ahead of center Mike O’Leary (8-11-19). … Spencer Stastney leads defense (2-12-14) ahead of Matt Hellickson (3-9-12) who leads nation in blocked shots with 58, one more than Tory Dello. … In 12 career games against Penn State, goalie Cale Morris is 8-3-1 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .937 saves percentage. … Morris had 37 saves in 3-0 victory over Nittany Lions, his ninth career shutout.
QUOTING JACKSON: (The Big Ten race) “There’s no bottom (team) to the conference; you’re not playing teams you should be able to beat. There’s no weak link in the conference.” (Playing at Penn State) “They have a great student section, as loud as any in the country. (Pegula’s) an intimidating building. You just have to tone that out and go play.” (The Nittany Lions) “They are one of the best offensive teams in the country. They have the skill and talent to back that up. They shoot from everywhere and that creates chaos.” (Special teams play)“We’re doing everything in our power to get that untracked. Right now that’s the biggest detriment to our team and we’ve got to find a way to get over that.”
— John Fineran,