March 4, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team’s bye week officially came to an end on Sunday night as the final three games of three opening round series of the CCHA playoffs were decided and due to a pair of upsets, the Irish will face the Alaska Nanooks in the quarterfinal round.
Alaska, the CCHA’s 11th-place team, defeated sixth-place Western Michigan, 3-1, on Sunday night in Kalamazoo, giving the Nanooks the opening round win, two games to one. The series at the Joyce Center will begin on Friday, March 9 at 7:35 p.m. Game two is set for Saturday, March 10 at 7:05 p.m. and game three, if necessary, will be played on Sunday, March 10 at 7:05 p.m. The winner advances to the CCHA Championship series at Joe Louis Arena with the two semifinal games set for Friday, March 16.
Northern Michigan, the 10th-place team, defeated seventh-place Ohio State, 3-2 on Sunday to take that series and Lake Superior downed Ferris State, 3-2 on Sunday evening to win that series.
Alaska (11-20-6 overall and 7-16-5 in the CCHA) is no stranger to the Irish and the CCHA playoffs as the two teams met in the first round in the 2006 with the Nanooks taking the series with 3-1 and 1-0 wins at the Joyce Center.
This season, the two teams are cluster partners and have already met four times with Notre Dame winning all four meetings. The Irish, 27-6-3 overall and 21-4-3 in the CCHA, won twice at the Joyce Center in December (3-1 and 6-2) and twice in Fairbanks on Feb. 16-17 (winning 1-0 and 3-2).
The two teams have met 43 times in the all-time series that is tied at 20-20-3. At Notre Dame, the Irish have an 11-8-1 edge against the Nanooks, but are 0-2 in CCHA playoff action.
The other three playoff series look like this:
#2 Michigan plays host to #10 Northern Michigan as the Wildcats upset #7 Ohio State in Columbus, two games to one.
#3 Miami plays host to #8 Lake Superior as the Lakers defeated #9 Ferris State, two games to one.
#4 Michigan State will host #5 Nebraska-Omaha as the Mavericks swept #12 Bowling Green, two games to one.
All four second round series will be played March 9-11 and are best-two-of-three series.