Last weekend, North Dakota played Nebraska-Omaha, a team in its first WCHA season after 13 years in the CCHA. This weekend, a former WCHA team rolls into town in first place in the CCHA.
Notre Dame was a member of the WCHA from 1971-1981, posting three winning seasons in ten campaigns. The Fighting Irish have had more success lately, winning the CCHA league title twice in the past four seasons.
The two teams figure to make the NCAA field of 16, and this weekend’s games are critically important for pairwise comparisons and seeding in the tournament.
North Dakota has an edge in experience over the visiting Golden Domers, boasting thirteen upperclassmen to Notre Dame’s eight. It will be interesting to see how the Fighting Irish respond if North Dakota takes an early lead in either game.
Notre Dame Team Profile
Head Coach: Jeff Jackson (6th season at Notre Dame, 125-68-23, .632)
This Season: 9-3-1, 7-2-1-1 CCHA (1st)
Last Season: 13-17-8, 9-12-7-2 CCHA (9th)
Pairwise Ranking: #4
National Rankings: #11/#11
Team Offense: 3.77 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.54 goal sallowed/game
Power Play: 14.3% (10 of 70)
Penalty Kill:89.8 % (53 of 59)
Key Players: Freshman F T.J. Tynan (7-9-16), Senior F Ben Ryan (2-14-16), Senior F Ryan Genteel (1-15-16), Senior D Joe Lavin (3-4-7), Junior D Sean Lorenz (2-3-5), Sophomore G Mike Johnson (7-2-1, 2.30 GAA, .915 SV%)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (7th season at UND, 163-89-25, .634)
This Season: 8-5-1, 7-3-0 WCHA (3rd)
Last Season: 25-13-5 overall (NCAA Northeast Regional semifinalist), 15-10-3 WCHA (t-4th)
Pairwise Ranking: #9
National Rankings: #9/#10
Team Offense: 3.14 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.86 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 22.1% (15 of 68)
Penalty Kill: 84.4% (54 of 64)
Key Players: Senior F Matt Frattin (12-3-15), Junior F Jason Gregoire (4-6-10), Sophomore F Corban Knight (7-7-14), Senior F Evan Trupp (3-7-10), Senior D Chay Genoway (2-9-11), Sophomore G Aaron Dell (7-4-0, 2.26 GAA, .895 SV%, 1 SO)
By The Numbers
Last Meeting: January 3, 2010 (Hoffman Estates, IL). The Fighting Sioux and Fighting Irish battled to a 3-3 tie at Notre Dame’s Shillelagh Tournament. The homestanding Irish won a shootout to determine the winner of the tournament.
Last Meeting in Grand Forks: January 3, 1999. Notre Dame captured the second game 4-3 after UND won the opener 8-1. The series was played at the old Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Last Ten: North Dakota has a 7-1-2 (.800) record over the past ten games.
Most Important Meeting: March 15, 1980. In WCHA playoff action, the Fighting Sioux dispatched with Notre Dame with a 7-4 victory after winning the opener 10-4. UND would go on to win its third national championship two weeks later.
All-time Series: Notre Dame leads the all-time series 16-15-2 (.515). The Fighting Irish won 15 of the first 20 meetings between the two teams, but UND has almost evened the ledger with a 10-1-2 mark over the past thirteen games.
Game News and Notes
UND sophomore net minder Aaron Dell leads all WCHA goaltenders with a 1.91 goals-against average in league play. Notre Dame has never played a game at the new Ralph Engelstad Arena. 16 players on the current Sioux roster played against Notre Dame last year. The Fighting Irish appeared in the national championship game in 2008, falling 4-1 to Boston College. North Dakota senior forward Matt Frattin has scored 22 goals in his last 26 games.
This series feels like a split, but the last-second loss at Omaha last weekend is not sitting well with Hakstol’s crew, and the Fighting Irish will be happy to take a point. North Dakota 5-2, 2-2 tie.