Feb. 7, 2018
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Top-ranked Notre Dame will host sixth-ranked Ohio State this weekend at the Compton Family Ice Arena with a chance to clinch the 2017-18 Big Ten regular season championship.
The Irish are 15-2-1-1 in Big Ten play this season (47 points) and lead the second-place Buckeyes by 13 points in the league standings. Any combination of at least three points for Notre Dame in the Big Ten standings this weekend would clinch the sixth conference title in program history and third regular season championship. In the Big Ten standings, teams are awarded three points for a victory, two points for a shootout victory and one point for a shootout loss.
Notre Dame won regular-season league titles in 2006-07 (CCHA) and 2008-09 (CCHA), but both of those clinching wins came in 1-0 road victories, meaning the Irish could secure a league championship on home ice for the first time in program history.
Earlier this season in the first Big Ten conference games for Notre Dame (Nov. 3-4), the Irish handed the Buckeyes their only back-to-back losses of the year, winning game one 4-1 and taking game two 3-2. Cal Burke and Dylan Malmquist each finished that series with two goals and an assist, while Jake Evans had a goal and two assists. In net, Cale Morris posted both wins to go along with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage.
This weekend’s series marks the beginning of a busy home stretch that will see the Irish play five of their final six regular season games at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
|Games 29-30: #1/1 Notre Dame (21-5-2, 15-2-1-1 B1G) vs. #6/6 Ohio State (18-6-4, 11-6-1-0 B1G)|
|When:||Friday, Feb. 9, 7:35 p.m. ET | Saturday, Feb. 10, 7:05 p.m. ET|
|Where:||Notre Dame, Indiana | Compton Family Ice Arena|
|TV (Stream):||NBC Sports Network (NBC Sports App) | None (NBC Sports App)|
|Listen:||WZOC 94.3 FM & UND.com | Darin Pritchett (PxP)|
||OSU leads 33-32-10|
MORRIS EARNS 8TH WEEKLY B1G HONOR
- After leading the Irish to a five point weekend at Penn State, sophomore goaltender Cale Morris was named the Big Ten’s First Star of the Week for the fifth time this season on Feb. 6.
- Morris, who has eight total Big Ten Star of the Week honors this year, helped the Irish to a 5-3 game one win over the Nittany Lions (Feb. 2) and a 2-2 shootout win in game two (Feb. 3).
- In game two, he made a career-high 55 saves and he stopped an Andrew Sturtz penalty shot in overtime to preserve the tie and followed with two saves in the shootout to help the Irish grab the extra point in the Big Ten standings.
- For the weekend series, Morris went 1-0-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage.
- On the season, Morris is 20-3-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average and a NCAA-leading .952 save percentage.
- A Hobey Baker candidate, he also has four shutouts on the season and has totaled 812 saves, which ranks fourth in the country.
- The Fighting Irish (15-2-1-1) are in first place in the Big Ten standings with 47 points, which is 13 points clear of second-place Ohio State.
- Mathematically, Notre Dame could still finish first or second in the standings entering the weekend series with Ohio State.
- Notre Dame needs three points to clinch first.
- The 2018 Big Ten Tournament will feature a three-weekend format with all games taking place on the campus of the higher-seeded teams.
- The tournament will open March 2-4 with three best-of-three quarterfinal series, as the second-, third- and fourth-seeded teams will each host a series.
- The top-seeded team will have a bye to the single-elimination semifinals, which are scheduled for Saturday, March 10.
- The highest-seeded team remaining after the semifinals will host a championship game scheduled for Saturday, March 17.
IRISH CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
- The Fighting Irish have won five conference championships, all of which came in CCHA play under head coach Jeff Jackson.
- CCHA Regular-Season Championships: 2006-07, 2008-09
- The Irish have never clinched a regular-season conference title on home ice, as they clinched the 2007 title with a 1-0 win at Alaska (Feb. 17) and then secured the 2009 title with a 1-0 win at Omaha (Feb. 21, 2009).
- CCHA Tournament Championships: 2006-07, 2008-09, 2012-13
AMONG THE LEADERS
- Jake Evans is tied for 13th in the NCAA with 22 assists (9-22-31), while his 0.79 assists per game average is tied for 14th.
- Evans is tied for eighth in the nation with 22 even strength points and his five games with at least three points are tied for fifth in the country.
- Evans ranks third nationally in faceoff wins (377).
- Jordan Gross (6-15-21) has put 101 shots on goal to lead all defensemen, while his 3.61 shots on goal per game average ranks second among blue liners.
- Andrew Oglevie and Jake Evans are tied for seventh in the country with four game-winning goals each (tied for first among Big Ten skaters with Michigan State’s Mitchell Lewandowski and Minnesota’s Tyler Sheehy).
- Cale Morris has a .952 save percentage, which ranks first in the country, while his 20 wins and .854 winning percentage also lead the NCAA.
- Morris ranks second in the NCAA with a 1.68 goals-against average, while his four shutouts are tied for sixth.
- Notre Dame is giving up just 2.00 goals-against per game, which ranks third in the NCAA.
- Notre Dame’s penalty kill ranks fifth (88.0) and has accounted for three shorthanded goals.
COACH POOLEY’S OHIO STATE TIES
- Notre Dame Associate Head Coach Paul Pooley is a 1984 graduate of Ohio State where he earned All-American honors and graduated as the program’s all-time leader in goals (114), assists (156) and points (270).
- Pooley, who wore No. 22, became the first Ohio State hockey player to have his number retired on November 4, 2006 during a game between Notre Dame and Ohio State
- Pooley’s nephew, Austin Pooley, is a freshman forward with the Buckeyes who has a goal in eight games so far this season.
- Former CCHA foes, Notre Dame and Ohio State have met 75 times with the Buckeyes holding a slight 33-32-10 series advantage.
- Dating back to 2010-11, the teams have played 12 times with Notre Dame holding a 7-4-1 record over those 12 games.
- Earlier this season, the Fighting Irish swept a weekend road series at Ohio State by scores of 4-1 (Nov. 3) and 3-2 (Nov. 4).
- In the game one win, four different Irish skaters scored and Cale Morris made 23 saves.
- In the game two win, Dylan Malmquist and Jake Evans each had a goal and an assist, while Morris turned in 39 stops.
- That series marked Notre Dame’s first Big Ten conference games.
- Prior to this season, the teams last played on Nov. 29, 2014 in the consolation game of the 2014 Shillelagh Tournament at the Compton Family Ice Arena (OSU win, 5-1).
- Before this season, Notre Dame’s most recent win over the Buckeyes came on March 23, 2013 when the Irish downed the Buckeyes 3-1 in the CCHA Semifinals at the Joe Louis Arena (Notre Dame went on to defeat Michigan 3-1 in the championship game to claim the final CCHA title).
- Peter Schneider, T.J. Tynan and Jeff Costello accounted for Notre Dame’s goals in the win.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, Director of Athletics Communications at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).