College hockey: Notre Dame vs. Penn State
Who: Notre Dame vs. Penn State.
Where: Lefty Smith Rink at Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend.
When: Friday at 7:45 p.m.; Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
TV: Friday on NBCSN and Saturday on NBC regional sports networks.
Radio: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com.
Records: Coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish are 12-12-2 overall and 10-10-2 for fourth place in Big Ten. … Coach Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions are 9-9-0 overall and 7-9-0 for fifth place.
Rankings: Notre Dame is receiving votes in both the USCHO.com (media) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (coaches) polls. … Penn State receiving votes in media poll.
Recaps: Irish coming off pair of 2-0 victories last Friday and Saturday at Michigan State. … Nittany Lions’ home series last weekend against Minnesota was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within program.
Rivalry: Notre Dame leads series 14-6-4 after teams split series Jan. 28-29 at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, Pa. … Nittany Lions rallied from 1-0 deficit in opener to win 2-1 on Alex Limoges’ goal at 3:08 in overtime. … Irish rallied from deficits twice and then won on Spencer Stastney’s breakaway goal at 4:06 of overtime for 3-2 victory.
Shavings: Nittany Lions will be playing for first time since Jan. 29 loss to Irish, having lost series at Michigan (Feb. 3-4), with Ohio State (Feb. 12-13), with Arizona State (non-conference) Feb. 20-21 and last weekend with Gophers. … Teams could end up playing each other again when Big Ten Tournament begins three-day run at Compton March 14. … Senior left wing Limoges (9-7-16), sophomore right wing Kevin Wall (8-8-16) and senior center Tim Doherty (5-9-14) lead Penn State forwards. … Freshman Jimmy Dowd (2-6-8) and senior Clayton Phillips (3-4-7) anchor defense in front of junior goalie Oskar Autio (2.84 average, .897 saves percentage, 8-6-0 record, one shutout). … Senior goalie Dylan St. Cyr, who has started 12 of last 13 games, made 56 saves in earning his second and third shutouts of the season and now has 2.38 average, .919 saves percentage and is 9-8-1 for season. … St. Cyr, who has five shutouts in Irish career, working on shutout streak of 125 minutes and 27 seconds. … Notre Dame’s top line remains junior right wing Alex Steeves (14-14-28), junior center Graham Slaggert (6-18-24) and freshman left wing Landon Slaggert (7-12-19). … Juniors Nick Leivermann (5-11-16) and Spencer Stastney (5-6-11) key defense. … Irish without left wing Colin Theisen (7-4-11) Friday because of Big Ten suspension for major penalty last Saturday at Michigan State. … Defenseman Matt Hellickson (1-4-5) is 143 and counting — he has not missed game in career. … Seniors Hellickson, Theisen, forwards Matt Steeves and Pierce Crawford and goalies Nick Sanford and St. Cyr will be honored following Saturday’s game.
Quoting Jackson: (Penn State’s return from COVID-19) “We’re all going through a lot of things for the first time. I’ve spoken with Guy … I’m sure he kept his guys engaged. I know how they coach; I know how they play. I’m sure they will not be that far off. I think it only took Michigan a period after its pause (Wolverines scored four goals in second period to beat Wisconsin 5-1 Feb. 13) … I’m sure not much will change as far as (Penn State’s) game.”
(On shutout sweep of Spartans) “I thought we played two good 60-minute hockey games … It’s more so about possessing the puck than defensive posture … There’s no question that Dylan (St. Cyr) has some confidence … He’s given us a chance to win every night.”