Notre Dame hockey preview capsule
Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Where: Pegula Ice Arena, University Park, Pa.
When: Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
Radio: WZOP-FM (94.3) and UND.com
Records: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish are 7-8-1 overall and 5-6-1-0-1-1 for 18 points and fourth place in Big Ten. … Coach Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions are 8-8-0 overall and 6-8-0-1-0-0 for 17 points and fifth place in Big Ten.
Rankings: Notre Dame receiving votes in both USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls. … Penn State receiving votes in USCHO.com poll.
Recaps: Fighting Irish coming off 5-1 and 3-1 losses to visiting Michigan last Thursday and Friday. … Nittany Lions lost 4-1 Thursday and won 5-4 Friday against Wisconsin at Pegula Ice Arena.
Rivalry: Notre Dame leads series 13-5-4, including 5-2-3 at Penn State. … Last season Notre Dame went 2-1-1 … Teams conclude regular season March 5-6 in South Bend.
Shavings: Irish unbeaten on road this season (4-0) after 3-2, 2-1 sweeps at Michigan (Nov. 27-28) and Minnesota (Jan. 15-16). … Senior defenseman Matt Hellickson has played 133 consecutive games since coming to Notre Dame and has three goals, nine assists and 12 points in 14 games against Nittany Lions. … Junior right wing Alex Steeves (7-6-13) paces Irish in scoring followed by junior centers Graham Slaggert (4-8-12) and Michael Graham (2-8-10). … Defense is led by juniors Nick Leivermann (2-7-9), Spencer Stastney (2-5-7) and Nate Clurman (3-2-5). … Senior Dylan St. Cyr (3.01 average, .891 saves percentage) and sophomore Ryan Bischel (2.85, .890) share goaltending duties. … To start season, Nittany Lions were swept at Minnesota and Wisconsin and lost to Michigan at home, but since have won eight of 11 including three of last four at Pegula. … Penn State averages 39.9 shots per game, 11.8 more than opponents. … Scoring leaders are sophomore right wing Kevin Wall (8-8-16), senior left wing Alex Limoges (8-7-15), junior center Aarne Talvitie (7-6-13) and senior center Tim Doherty (5-8-13). … Freshman Jimmy Dowd (2-6-8), whose dad Jim played for Jackson at Lake Superior State and for several NHL teams, and senior Evan Bell (2-5-7) anchor defense in front of junior goalie Oskar Autio (3.01, .891).
Quoting Jackson: (3-8-1 record at home) “I just feel like we’re a lot tighter in our game when we’re on the road. I can’t for the life of me explain why we’re not as good at home.”
(Facing Penn State) “Their (early) schedule was a challenge. They’ve started picking it up in the last three-four weeks. They have great transition and they’re on goal all the time. You have to be ready because they’re going to throw pucks at the net.”
(Special teams) “We started to show some positive signs at Minnesota. If we score a (power-play) goal a weekend, we’d be over three goals a game, and that would have a huge impact on our record currently and our record in the future.”