NCAA Men’s Hockey is back this weekend with a Midwest match-up like no other. Notre Dame and Wisconsin will meet up Friday and Saturday night to duke it out for the first time since January. I’m excited for this one.
The last two times these teams played one another, it was high scoring matches and plenty of future NHLers on the rosters. On January 24th, 2020, Wisconsin won in a 6-4 victory and the next day, January 25th, Notre Dame took the W with a final score of 5-2.
Now, it’s time for a rematch. They both won one in January but now is the chance for someone to pull ahead.
Finding stats about Big 10 hockey has been a bitch just because this season has been so weird. I personally haven’t sat down and watched these teams enough but I can gleam some things from what I’ve read.
Wisconsin is gonna be feeling some hurt after losing numerous players, such Alex Turcotte (F), Wyatt Kalynuk (D), and K’Andre Miller (D), to the NHL or AHL. They have plenty of well known players, sure. There’s the Caufield brothers, Cole (F) and Brock (F). Add in Dylan Holloway (F) and Ty Emberson (D) too. BUT I don’t know if that can cover the hurt of losing 2 of your top 5 scorers on a team that doesn’t have spectacular depth. Cole will be bananalands, per usual, he’s a sick player. I think Roman Ahcan (F) will step up big this season, with Turcotte and Kalynuk gone. Overall, the team finished last season 14-2-20 and in 7th place. I think they’ll do fine this season but I won’t expect them to be electric.
Now, Notre Dame, that’s where it’s at. They too just lost a good chunk of their top players to the NHL/AHL but they’ve still got a solid core there. They’ve got a number of players coming from solid programs to fill spots and I think they’ll do just fine. I’m sure we’ll see Spencer Stastney (D), Matthew Hellickson (D), and Alex Steeves (F) continue to be dominant this season. Steeves led the team in points last season and I think he’ll do it again. Stastney is just a young but competent defenseman, I’m excited to see more of him. Hellickson is on his senior season and he’s been solid so I expect him to go out well. They also have 2 sets of brothers on the team – off topic, just interesting to me. They finished on a down slope last season, 15-7-15 at 5th place but I think they’re on the turn around.
If you can’t tell, I like Notre Dame here. I think all around they’re a good team. These first two games on Friday and Saturday are gonna be a bit rusty -it’s been a while they’ve been able to play NCAA hockey- but I can’t wait to watch. PLUS Kendall Coyne Schofield (my queen) and Tony Simeone will be on the call if you watch NBCSN’s stream. A perfect Midwestern match up to start your weekend. I’ll be cheering on Notre Dame but let me know on Twitter who you got!
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Featured Image: Tom Lynn