Notre Dame hockey preview capsule

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WHO: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

WHERE: Lefty Smith Rink at Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend.

WHEN: Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

TV: Friday on NBCSN, Saturday on NBC regional networks with streaming available both nights with NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com.

RADIO: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com.

RECORDS: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish are 10-9-1 overall, 8-7-1-1-2-1 for 27 points and third place in Big Ten. … Coach Bob Motzko’s Golden Gophers are 15-5 overall, 11-5-0-0-0-0 for 33 points and second place in Big Ten.

RANKINGS: Minnesota ranked No. 5 in both the USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls. … Notre Dame receiving votes in both.

RECAPS: Minnesota dropped out of first place after being swept at home by surging Wisconsin 4-1 and 8-1. … Notre Dame coming off 6-1 and 8-1 sweep at Ohio State, improving to 7-1 on the road this season.

RIVALRY: Minnesota holds 33-24-5 edge in series, but Notre Dame scored 3-2 and 2-1 victories in Minneapolis Jan. 15-16 to knock off then No. 1 Golden Gophers. … In last 13 meetings, each has five one-goal victories and two games have ended as overtime ties.

SHAVINGS: Irish, on three-game winning streak, coming off best series offensive output since 2014 with 14 goals against Buckeyes. … Notre Dame scored five power-play goals in 11 opportunities, going 4-for-6 in Saturday’s 8-1 victory. … Irish penalty-kill units have allowed just one goal in 16 opponent opportunities going back to Minnesota sweep. … Irish hope to bring that this weekend at Compton, where they are just 3-8-1 this season. … Junior right wing Alex Steeves (10-12-22), junior center Graham Slaggert (5-14-19) and freshman left wing Landon Slaggert (5-7-12) make up Irish top line. … Juniors Nick Leivermann (5-8-13) and Spencer Stastney (5-6-11) pace defense in front of senior goalie Dylan St. Cyr, who has started last seven games and improved goals-against average to 2.54 and saves percentage to .910. … Centers Ben Meyers (9-12-21) and Sammy Walker (10-10-20) pace Gophers in scoring followed by wings Sampo Ranta (12-7-19), Blake McLaughlin (8-11-19) and Scott Reedy (7-12-19). … Jackson LaCombe (3-10-13) and Mike Koster (2-6-8) anchor defense in front of senior goalie Jack LaFontaine (1.74 average, .936 saves percentage, three shutouts).

QUOTING JACKSON: “(Because of injuries) other guys stepped up. It is so important to get other guys to contribute, especially those who have not played a lot like (forwards) Matt Steeves, Cam Burke and Pierce Crawford (who each scored goals). I thought they did a good job taking advantage of the opportunity.”

(Special teams) “Last weekend was the best our power play has looked all season long. It’s a positive step moving forward.”

(Minnesota rivalry) “When you possess the puck, like we both like to do, there aren’t going to be a lot of scoring opportunities. It’s like the run game in football — it takes minutes off the clock.”

(St. Cyr’s play) “I wasn’t planning to change my split (weekend game) philosophy until Ryan (Bischel) got hurt. (Dylan) is getting confidence. He seems to be dialed in. He’s playing a quiet game … not sprawling all over the place, not giving up a lot of rebounds and controlling his crease really well.”

BIG TEN TOURNEY: Notre Dame is host for Big Ten Tournament March 18-20 with winner getting league’s automatic bid to 16-team NCAA tournament. … Regular-season champion will receive No. 1 seed with teams seeded Nos. 2-7 playing three games on Thursday, March 18; No. 7 vs. No. 2, No. 6 vs. No. 3, No. 5 vs. No. 4. … Using current standings, Wisconsin would get bye and other matchups would be No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Minnesota, No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 4 Michigan. … Wisconsin and three first-round winners pair off for Friday semifinals, with winners playing for title Saturday.

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