NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The #9/10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will open the 2019-20 season with a road exhibition game at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6 against the USNTDP in Plymouth, Michigan.
Notre Dame is coming off back-to-back Big Ten Tournament championships and also carries a four-year NCAA Tournament appearance streak into the 2019-20 season.
Sunday’s game will mark Notre Dame’s lone exhibition contest as the Irish are set to the 2019-20 campaign against Air Force on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The series finale will then be played at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. Click here for tickets.
HISTORY VS. THE USNTDP
- Sunday’s game will mark Notre Dame’s fourth consecutive exhibition opener against USNTDP, and the fifth straight season in which the Irish will face off against the program.
- Last season at the Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame fell to the U.S. National Team Development Program, 4-1.
- Colin Theisen scored for the Irish just 1:12 into the first but USNTDP goaltender Spencer Knight finished with 36 saves to earn the win.
- Cale Morris (31:07) and Dylan St. Cyr (28:53) split time in the Notre Dame goal, with Morris totaling 10 saves and St. Cyr making 15 stops.
- Notre Dame is 4-2-2 all-time against the USNTDP, while the teams tied their only previous meeting in Plymouth (2-2 to open the 2015-16 season).
USNTDP Connections Abound
- Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson was one of the masterminds behind the U.S. National Team Development Program as he laid out the plan for what would become the USNTDP while interviewing with USA Hockey.
- Jackson then served as the first head coach of the USNTDP from 1996-2000.
- In addition to the Jackson connection, 40 Notre Dame hockey players have come through the U.S. National Development Program, including current players Matt Hellickson, Dylan St. Cyr, Jake Pivonka, Graham Slaggert, Spencer Stastney and Trevor Janicke.
Brother vs. Brother
- While the current Notre Dame roster features two sets of brothers in Cal and Cam Burke as well as Matt and Alex Steeves, Sunday’s contest will pit sophomore forward Graham Slaggert against his younger brother, Landon.
- The Slaggert family affair will also include Graham and Landon’s father, Andy, who is currently an Associate Head Coach with the Irish.
B1G Preseason Honors
- Cale Morris was named a unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten First Team selection and Cal Burke was tabbed as an Honorable Mention honoree (Sept. 30).
- The Fighting Irish were picked to finish second in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll.
2019-20 Big Ten Preseason Poll
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
NHL Season Opens With Six Irish Alums
- The National Hockey League opened the 2019-20 season this week and the University of Notre Dame boasts six former players on NHL rosters (as of Oct. 2) to kick off the 102nd year of league play.
- Former Fighting Irish hockey players who are on opening-week rosters include Ian Cole (Colorado Avalanche), Vinnie Hinostroza (Arizona Coyotes), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey Devils), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Riley Sheahan (Edmonton Oilers).
- Unfortunately Cole, Rust and Sheahan will open the season on IR while alum Stephen Johns did not play in the preseason.
- Lee eclipsed the 50-point mark for the third consecutive season in 2018-19 while serving as captain for the New York Islanders.
- After the season, the Edina, Minnesota, native signed a seven-year, $49 million contract to stay in New York.
- Former Irish skaters Anders Bjork (Boston), Dennis Gilbert (Chicago) and Andrew Peeke (Columbus) were among their respective teams’ final cuts.