This weekend is very important to the Notre Dame Hockey Team. Winning the B1G Hockey Conference puts them directly into the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. Right now the Fightin’ Irish are a “bubble” team for the tournament. The other reason this is important is because playing at home hasn’t been the strong point of their schedule. Though they had a scoring extravaganza last weekend against the Nittany Lions. Those same Nittany Lions do not want to lose a third consecutive game to the Fightin’ Irish. This weekend is all about “win today and play tomorrow. A loss along the way could eliminate the Fightin’ Irish from the NCAA tournament.
Last year there was no single conference champion as the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. In retrospect, the Fightin’ Irish are the two time defending champion as they outright won the tournament in 2018 and 2019. A special Thank you to Tim Klopfenstein for the cover photo for this article.
The Stars Are Shining Bright
The number one line for the Fightin’ Irish. Alex Steeves, Graham Slaggert, Landon Slaggert have played a large role in the success of the Irish Puckers. Combined they account for thirty of the eighty one points the Irish have scored this season. They also account for the forty seven of the 136 assists on the team. Graham Slaggert leads the team with eighteen assists, Alex Steeves is second with sixteen assists and Landon Slaggert is next with thirteen. Besides the Slaggert’s having chemistry (because they are brothers), Steeves and the Slaggert brothers are a force to be reckoned with on the ice. Steeves’ 15 goals rank him tied for fifth nationally, his 14 goals in Big Ten play rank second to Cole Caufield (24) of Wisconsin. Currently Steeves ranks sixth nationally with 31 points.
Dylan St Cyr
After a rough start to his Senior year, Dylan St Cyr has settled into his role as the starting Fightin’ Irish Goalie. There was big shoes to fill when Cale Morris graduated last season. St Cyr has a 2020-2021 record of 11-8-1. In the most recent regular season series against PSU, St Cyr had thirty seven saves on March 5th and thirty eight saves on March 6th. He has 564 saves and forty six (GA) goals against. St Cyr has also started the last 14-15 games between the pipes for the Irish.
Getting Hot At The Right Time
Going into the Sunday’s game against PSU, the Fightin’ Irish are 4-1-1 in B1G meetings. With the last four games being sweeps against Michigan State and PSU. The Irish have outscored their opponents in the last four games 16-3 and haven’t trailed an opponent since They scored four goals against Wisconsin on February 20 in Madison, Wisconsin.
These Teams Have History
The Meet Up Between PSU and Notre Dame
The Fightin’ Irish and PSU are not strangers when it comes to B1G Tournament play. In 2018 PSU and ND met up in the semifinals at Compton Family Ice Arena. The Irish PSU 3-2 to move onto the B1G Championship against against Ohio State.
In the 2019 B1G Conference Championship, the Irish once again played against PSU. This time in a single game elimination winner is the B1G Champion game at Compton Family Ice Arena. The arena was sold out and a new attendance record of 5,988 fans on hand to see the Fightin’ Irish win 3-2.
The Wrap Up
In the end it’s win and play tomorrow. Single elimination is the toughest format to play. These #IrishPuckers have what it takes to win it all. Now it’s about execution and continuing to play on home ice and Fightin’ Irish pride. If there is a Head Coach that can deliver a team back from a struggle to a conference championship it’s Coach Jeff Jackson.
All of this weekends game will be on the B1G Network. The B1G Tournament schedule can be found here. The Irish will kick off their tournament 12 PM EST on the B1G network. The game can be heard locall in the South Bend area at 94.3 FM and also heard here via your computer or phone. There will also be an in game chat on our Facebook page. The Irish hope to imitate the picture below id they can make it to Tuesday night.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘💪🏒🥅🚨🌩