Notre Dame hockey preview capsule

Staff reports
ND Insider

Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines.

Where: Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend.

When: Thursday and Friday, 6:30 p.m.

TV: both nights, NBC Sports Chicago Thursday and NBCSN Friday.

Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and

Records: The Irish are 7-6-1 overall and 5-4-1-0-1-1 for 18 points and third place in Big Ten. … Coach Mel Pearson’s Wolverines are 8-6-0 overall and 6-6-0-1-0-0 for 17 points and fourth place in Big Ten.

Rankings: Notre Dame No. 16 in (media) poll and receiving votes in USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) poll. … Michigan No. 8 in poll and No. 9 in USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Recaps: Last weekend, Notre Dame swept road series at then No. 1 Minnesota by scores of 3-2 and 2-1, while Michigan swept home series from Ohio State with 4-2 and 5-0 victories.

Shavings: Michigan leads series 80-65-5 but Notre Dame swept Nov. 27-28 in Ann Arbor with 3-2 and 2-1 victories. … Four freshmen forwards pace Wolverines in scoring — left wing Kent Johnson (4-12-16), center Thomas Bordeleau (4-11-15), center Matty Beniers (4-7-11) and right wing Brendan Brisson (4-6-10). … Defense is anchored by junior Nick Blankenburg (4-5-9), sophomore Cam York (2-7-9) and freshman Owen Power (2-6-8). … Senior left wing Michael Pastujov has team-high six goals. … Junior Strauss Mann is 7-6, has 2.09 goals-against average, .922 saves percentage and three shutouts. … Notre Dame linemates junior center Graham Slaggert (4-7-11), freshman left wing Landon Slaggert (4-3-7) and junior Alex Steeves (6-6-12) each scored in Friday’s victory at Minnesota and sophomores Solag Bakich (2-2-4) and Max Ellis (3-6-9) scored in Saturday victory. … Juniors Nick Leivermann (2-7-9), Spencer Stastney (2-4-6) and Nate Clurman (3-2-5) anchor defense in front of goalies Ryan Bischel (2.85 average, .890 saves percentage) and Dylan St. Cyr (2.73, .894, one shutout). … Irish special teams didn’t allow goal in seven attempts by Minnesota and scored twice in five attempts.

Spotlight: Captain Nate Clurman, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior defenseman from Boulder, Colorado. … Played four seasons at Culver Academy and registered 20 goals and 83 assists. … played two seasons in the USHL. … Had 12 assists in 76 games his first two seasons with Irish. … This year has three goals and two assists in 12 games. … Scored first career goal Nov. 27 in 3-2 victory at Michigan.

Quoting Curlman: (Last weekend’s sweep of No. 1 Gophers) “It was awesome. That’s been our goal all year, to get those 60-minute games and put the pressure on like we did on Minnesota.”

(What to expect against Wolverines) “Michigan is a younger team, but they are really talented. They’ve got four good lines and a great defense. We have to prepare for their speed.”

(Playing without fans) “It’s really important to generate energy before the game and try to carry it throughout the game, through the highs and lows.”

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