Irish hockey team to open Nov. 13-14 against Wisconsin at Compton

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame will open its adjusted 2020-21 Big Ten Conference hockey season next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14, against Wisconsin at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish, who finished 15-15-7 overall and 9-9-6-4 in their third Big Ten season last year, received their pre-winter break schedule Thursday from the league. The Irish are scheduled to play five series before Christmas, four of them at the Smith Rink in Compton.

Faceoff times, broadcast coverage and attendance policies, plus the rest of the schedule, will be announced at a later date.

Because of COVID-19 issues, Notre Dame and its Big Ten brethren — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State — will play a 24-game conference schedule this season. In addition, each Big Ten school has agreed to play independent Arizona State four times. The Big Ten Hockey Tournament is scheduled for March 18-20 at a site to be determined and will be single elimination.

Following their series with the Badgers, who were 14-20-2 overall and 7-15-2-2 in the league, the Irish will take a week off for fall-semester exams. The season picks up Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27 and 28, when the Irish visit Michigan (18-14-4, 11-10-3-2 Big Ten).

Then in December while Notre Dame is between semesters, the Irish will play three series at home against Arizona State (Dec. 3-4), Ohio State (Dec. 12-13) and Michigan State (Dec. 19-20).

The Big Ten hockey teams will follow the same medical COVID-19 protocols developed by the conference and announced Sept. 16. They include daily antigen resting, enhanced cardiac screenings and a data-driven approach to making decisions when teams can practice and play games. Arizona State has agreed to adhere to the same protocols.

Preseason poll

The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason poll was announced Monday and Notre Dame is among the schools receiving votes. North Dakota is preseason No. 1 followed by Boston College, Minnesota Duluth, Denver and Minnesota State.

Penn State (No. 9), Ohio State (10th), Michigan (12th) and Minnesota (13th) were ranked in the Top 15. In addition to the Irish, who received 13 votes, Arizona State (33) and Wisconsin (3) also received votes.

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