Irish Host Maine Black Bears For First Time In Crucial Hockey East Series
February 7, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
IRISH HOCKEY RELEASE
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Notre Dame hockey fans will get their first-ever look at the University of Maine this weekend as the Black Bears visit the campus for the first time in the history of the series. The two teams have met five times overall but have never played each other on home ice as all five games have come at neutral sites.
The two teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Compton Family Ice Arena, as the Irish will have their annual White Out Night. Fans are asked to wear white for the game as White Out t-shirts and pom pons will be distributed prior to the game. Saturday's (Feb. 8) contest will start a 8:05 p.m. with both games being televised live by the NBC Sports Network with Dan Parkhurst calling the action and Ken Hodge providing analysis "Inside the Glass."
With seven games left in the regular-season Hockey East schedule, this series is crucial to each team. The Irish enter the weekend with a 15-11-1 overall record and are just 4-8-1 in Hockey East play, good for nine points and a tie for eighth place in the standings with Massachusetts. Notre Dame is one point behind seventh-place Vermont and five behind sixth-place Maine but has played one more game that both those teams. If the Irish are to have any chance of getting to fifth-place and a first-round playoff bye or at least get home ice in the first round of the playoffs, picking up four points this weekend is imperative.
Maine on the other hand is 12-9-3 for the year and visits the Compton Family Ice Arena with a 6-4-2 mark in the league, good for 14 points and sixth place in Hockey East. While they have a five-point lead on Notre Dame in the standings, the Black Bears are just one point behind fifth-place Providence (15), two behind fourth-place New Hampshire (16) and three behind second-place UMass-Lowell and Northeastern. Maine has two games in hand on Providence, New Hampshire and Northeastern and one on UMass-Lowell.
Amazingly, the Black Bears have not won a game on the road this season as they are 0-8-2 away from the friendly confines of Alfond Arena in Orono, Me. They were idle last weekend and finished January with a 2-3-1 record in NCAA play while also winning a pair of exhibition games against Canadian universities.
"We have to get back on track at home this weekend," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"Every team in Hockey East has been a challenge. There are seven teams from the league in Hockey East that are ranked this week. We need to get points. We also need to figure out things on the road, but it has to start this weekend. We will be facing another good goaltender this weekend. It will be a struggle if we don't get pucks to the net and bodies to the net. We have to create our own two-one-ones and scoring chances."