WHO: #15/RV Notre Dame (9-7-2, 5-3-2-1 B1G) vs. #19/– Western Michigan (7-7-2, 3-4-1-1 NCHC)
WHEN: Friday, January 3 – 7 p.m. ET | Sunday, January 5 – 5 p.m. ET
WHERE: Compton Family Ice Arena | Lawson Ice Arena
WATCH: Friday – NBCSN
LISTEN: 94.3 FM | UND.com
TICKETS: Click here
GAME NOTES (PDF)
- Notre Dame opens the second half of the 2019-20 season with a home-and-home series against Western Michigan.
- Game one will be played on Friday, Jan. 3 at the Compton Family Ice Arena (7 p.m. on NBCSN), followed by Sunday evening’s game two at the Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan (5 p.m.).
- Both Western Michigan (defenseman Mattias Samuelsson) and Notre Dame (forward Jake Pivonka and defenseman Spencer Stastney) have players skating with Team USA at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.
- The teams last met in 2015-16 when Notre Dame went 2-0-1 against the Broncos.
- It will mark the final non-conference games of the regular season for Notre Dame (4-4-0), while Western Michigan (4-3-1) will have one more non-conference series against RPI (Feb. 7-8).
- Notre Dame last played on Dec. 14 when it blanked Penn State 3-0 at Compton Family Ice Arena behind goals from Max Ellis, Alex Steeves and Graham Slaggert as well as 37 saves by Cale Morris.
- The Broncos have been off since being swept at home by top-ranked North Dakota 1-0 and 8-2 on Dec. 6-7.
- Current Notre Dame point streaks include Michael Graham (3 games; 0-3-3), Matt Hellickson (2 games; 0-4-4) and Alex Steeves (3 games; 2-1-3).
- With Western Michigan coming in at 19th in the latest USCHO.com poll (Dec. 30), Notre Dame will be playing a ranked opponent for the seventh and eighth games in a row.
- This weekend’s series will also mark the 11th and 12th games of the out the last 14 games the Irish have faced a ranked foe (the unranked opponent in that span was now 18th-ranked Michigan State).
- Freshman forward Max Ellis became the most recent Fighting Irish player to score a goal this season when he netted what proved to be the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 3-0 victory over Penn State (Dec. 14), becoming Notre Dame’s 17th goal scorer this season.
- Mike O’Leary currently leads the Irish with 17 points (7-10-17) and dating back to last season’s series at Wisconsin on Jan. 18-19, O’Leary has 33 points (11-22-33) in his last 36 games (he had seven goals and 11 assist for 18 points in his first 96 career games).
- The Fighting Irish have posted six comeback wins this season, including three third period comebacks (both wins over Ohio State and the overtime victory at Wisconsin) and added a third period comeback tie (and shootout win) at Michigan State on Nov. 22.
- The Irish are 2-0-2 in overtime this season, with game-winning goals from Pierce Crawford (vs. Ohio State on Nov. 8) and Alex Steeves (at Wisconsin on Nov. 16).
- Notre Dame is once again one of the nation’s least penalized teams, with its 7.4 PIM/ game ranking second-lowest in the country (Harvard has a 7.0 per game average).
NOTRE DAME VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
- Former CCHA rivals, Notre Dame and Western Michigan have played 91 times with the Broncos holding the overall edge in the series 43-37-11
- The Fighting Irish lead the series when playing on home ice, 26-16-2.
- The teams last met during the 2015-16 season when Notre Dame went 2-0-1 against Western Michigan, including a 2-0-0 mark at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
- The first meeting during the 2015-16 season came in the consolation game of the Shillelagh Tournament (Nov. 28) before the teams met for a home-and-home on Jan. 8-9.
- The Irish took game one of that home-and-home at the Compton Family Ice Arena by a score of 7-1 – including seven different goal scorers – before skating to a 3-3 tie at Western Michigan in game two.
- The Fighting Irish are 5-2-3 against the Broncos over the last 10 meetings.
- Coach Jackson is 30-14-10 against Western Michigan in his career at Notre Dame and Lake Superior State (14-11-6 at Notre Dame).
- No current Notre Dame players have faced Western Michigan.
PIVONKA AND STASTNEY WITH TEAM USA
- Sophomore center Jake Pivonka and sophomore defenseman Spencer Stastney are currently skating with Team USA at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic (Dec. 26, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020).
- Each Irish player appeared in all four preliminary games as Team USA went 2-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L)to advance to the quarterfinals (Jan. 2).
- Pivonka has an assist, while Stastney has been skating with Wisconsin’s K’Andre Miller as one of Team USA’s top defenseman pairings.
- In addition, Notre Dame’s Director of Hockey Operations, Nick Siergiej, is serving in a similar role for Team USA at this season’s tournament.
- Dating back to 1997, twenty-two Notre Dame players have now taken part in the IIHF World Junior Championships.
- Current Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke was the most recent Irish player to make Team USA’s World Junior Championship roster (2018).
- Current Boston Bruins forward Anders Bjork was the most recent Irish player to earn a medal at the event when Team USA secured the bronze in Helsinki (2016).
- Notre Dame’s other medalists include Mario Lucia (gold in 2013), Kyle Palmieri (gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011), Kyle Lawson (bronze in 2007) and Ben Simon (silver in 1997).