There are a few tickets left for each night, but by the time the Black Friday shoppers are done and return home for the afternoon, the UND-Notre DameÂ series is expected to be sold out.
Considering that the students are all gone on break, that’s a pretty impressive achievement. But it’s not something new for the team and the program.
In today’s notebook, I take a look at the numbers that UND is drawing at home (in comparison to some NHL and major college basketball teams) as well as the large crowds they are drawing on the road. Some of the numbers surprised me when I was looking them up.
Also in the notebook, I detail why this series will have a big impact on the Pairwise and we also take a look at UND’s schedule to date, which is rated by KRACH as the toughest in the nation.
In Thursday’s paper, I wrote aboutÂ where Matt Frattin is scoring his goals from this season. Believe it or not, he has not scored from below the dots yet this year. That’s a ridiculous stat considering he moved into the national lead in goals on Friday (a Niagara player reclaimed the lead Tuesday).
When you go to the story, click the .pdf that’s attached on the side for a graphic of where he’s scored from.
In that story, I also talked to goalie Brad Eidsness about what makes Frattin’s shot so hard to stop. Eidsness also compared and contrasted it with the shot of Andrew Kozek, who could unleash a wrister.
Frattin credited teammates and Brad Malone for screening the goalie on a lot of his goals. Frattin said he doesn’t think the goalie has seen many of his shots. I asked Eidsness about Malone’s ability to screen the goalie, which has resulted in a lot of Sioux goals over the past two years.
“He’s really difficult,” Eidsness said of Malone. “One of the things he’s really good at is mirroring a goalie’s movement and being able to be in the same spots you are and understanding movements a goalie has to make and the angles he’s trying to look for. So, I think he’s been really good at being able to plant himself right in front of your face, and to look around him, you have to almost put yourself out of position. When that happens, Fratty can go the other way. I think you saw it last year, too, on the power play with Vandy.”
I also did a shortÂ Q&A with Corban Knight, who is known as one of the nicest guys around. Knight talked about the role his parents have had in his life. His father, Jack, used to be a pastor and is now a hockey chaplain, reaching out to teams in Canada to deliver messages. Corban said it was hard to go down the wrong path with his upbringing. I don’t see the Q&A online right now, so I’ll try to link it on the Friday night rewind blog post.
The Irish, meanwhile, are winning with a mix of talented freshmen and returning players who are upset with the way last season went.
Notre Dame also made some news this week with a couple of newspapers reporting that the Irish have an invite from the Big Ten Hockey Conference, although the reports also say it is contingent on the Irish joining for other sports. So in other words, nothing has changed since the summer, when Notre Dame turned down the Big Ten to stay independent in football.
Six other WCHA teams are in action this weekend, only one is a WCHA matchup.
Michigan/Michigan State at Wisconsin/Minnesota: The finalÂ College Hockey Showcase will take place in the West this year with the CCHA schools traveling to the WCHA. The Wisconsin paper has a Q&A with Derek Lee.
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State: Finally, the Beavers are playing a nonconference series. Bemidji coach Tom Serratore says this could be a regular nonconference series for the Beavers in the future.
Lake Superior/Air Force at Denver: The Pioneers host a couple of nonconference games this weekend. We can only hope things get better for the Martin family. Jesse Martin’s father reportedly suffered a heart attack this week.
Alaska-Anchorage at Colorado College: The only WCHA series of the weekend pits the Seawolves against the Tigers, who have been getting strong play out of Stephen Schultz. That’s big for the Tigers, who have been carried offensively by the Schwartz brothers to this point.
MSU-Mankato at UMass-Lowell: The Mavericks will travel out to theÂ East CoastÂ for this nonconference, and for the first time all season, the Mavs will have everyone available.
Week off: Michigan Tech (which is 0-6 after starting the season on a five-game unbeaten streak), Nebraska-Omaha (time to digest last week’s thrilling win over UND), Minnesota-Duluth (nice break after working overtime much of the first half) and St. Cloud State (which will use the week off to prepare for UND next weekend).
We’ll have the live blog fired up around 7 p.m. tonight. Look forward to chatting with those who aren’t able to make the game.