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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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PENN STATE NOTRE DAME
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After a quarterfinal round sweep over No. 5 Minnesota, the fourth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to top-seeded Notre Dame on Saturday evening for a single-elimination Big Ten Semifinal at Compton Family Ice Arena.
HOW TO WATCH
The game will air live across the nation on ESPNU and will be available for streaming using the WatchESPN App with puck drop slated for 5:30 p.m. ET. John Buccigross will be on the call along with Sean Ritchlin.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- Penn State enters the weekend winners of five-in-a-row after going eight straight games without a victory while Notre Dame is coming off a first-round playoff bye after closing the regular season with just one win in its final five games.
- The Irish won the season series 3-0-1 taking 11 of a possible 12 points from the Nittany Lions and now hold the 4-2-2 lead in the all-time series.
- While they may not have played together in every game against the Irish during their careers, the current line of junior’s Alec Marsh, Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz have a combined 19 points against Notre Dame in eight career games with 10 goals and nine assists between them.
- Marsh has been an Irish killer scoring four of his 15 career goals (27 percent) against Notre Dame while adding three assists for seven points. Both Berger and Sturtz have added three goals and three assists each.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
- The Irish won the Big Ten regular season crown and earned the No. 1 seed and a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament after finishing the regular season 23-9-2 overall and 17-6-1-1 in conference. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 5 in the latest USCHO.com Poll.
- Paced by Hobey Baker candidate in goaltender Cale Morris, Notre Dame has the eighth best defense in the nation allowing just 2.18 goals per game this season. Morris leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the nation with a .945 save percentage while his 1.92 goals against average also leads the Big Ten and is good for sixth in the nation.
- On offense, Notre Dame’s numbers are down a little from last season where they averaged 3.20 goals per game as they are only scoring 2.94 goals per game this season, and while that number only ranks fifth in the Big Ten it is tied for 26th nationally.
- The Irish are led by Jake Evans with 38 points on 11 goals and 27 assists. His point and assist totals rank seventh and third in the Big Ten, respectively. Cal Burke leads the team in goals with 13 while Andrew Oglevie has added 12 as just three Fighting Irish players have double-digit goals compared to six for Penn State.
- Notre Dame’s power-play sits just behind Penn State at 19th in the nation converting 21.6 percent of the time (25-for-116) and the Irish penalty kill is second in the nation at 89.1 percent allowing just 12 goals in 110 chances. The 12 PPG’s allowed is tied with Ohio State for the least in the nation.
- The Notre Dame PK is 10-for-10 this season against Penn State’s 18th ranked power-play (21.6 percent). Penn State is 7-for-24 (29.2 percent) with the man-advantage over the last six games scoring at least one power-play goal in five of those games including back-to-back games with a pair of man-advantage tallies.
- After allowing more than two goals just twice during their 16-game winning streak with four shutouts, the Fighting Irish have allowed more than two goals six times with no shutouts while going 4-6-1 to close out the year.
B1G TOURNAMENT HISTORY
- In this the fifth year of the Big Ten Tournament, Penn State is now 7-3-0 all-time winning at least one tournament game in four of the five tournaments including the magical run last season to capture the Championship.
- The Nittany Lions have now won five straight Big Ten Tournament games and have advanced to the semifinal round for the third consecutive season and the fourth time overall out of the five Big Ten Tournaments they’ve participated in.
- Sophomore Liam Folkes tied his career-high with a three-point effort last Saturday to eliminate Minnesota from the tournament. In doing so Folkes now has four goals and a pair of assists for six points in five Big Ten Tournament games to tie junior Andrew Sturtz (1-5-6) for the most points in Big Ten Tournament games among active players.
- Sophomore Nate Sucese (two goals and two assists) and freshman Evan Barratt (three goals and one assist) each have four points in Big Ten Tournament games.
- Last Saturday’s 6-5 victory capped off four straight wins in nine days for Penn State over Minnesota with the Nittany Lions outscoring the Golden Gophers 21-11.
- 21 players also saw ice time over the last four games against the Gophers with 20 registering at least one point. The only player who didn’t earn a point was senior goaltender Matt Erlichman who only saw 1:07 of ice time.
FOUR SCORE AND 14 DAYS AGO
- Just two weeks ago Penn State’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament seemed bleak sitting at just 18% as they needed to do something they’ve had trouble with since joining Division I, beat Minnesota multiple times in-a-row.
- Penn State had never swept the Gophers and yet in back-to-back weekend’s the Nittany Lions accomplished that feat twice. PSU is now 9-14-0 all-time against Minnesota, but have won six of the last seven meetings between the two schools and currently hold a 99.7% chance of making the NCAA Tournament.
HAPPY VALLEY FIVE-0
- Penn State has scored at least five goals in four straight games and 14 times all season posting a 13-0-1 record when doing so.
- All-time Penn State is now 52-0-2 when scoring at least five goals in a game and 51-93-15 when scoring less than five goals.
- The Nittany Lions have seen their goals per game average rise from 3.56 to 3.75 over the last two weeks as they lead the Big Ten and rank third in the nation in scoring offense.
- Last season’s Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player seems to go to another level during playoff time. En route to the 2017 Big Ten Championship, Jones played all 240:16 minutes making 118 saves on 123 shots and posting a 1.25 goals against average and a .959 save percentage.
- Following last weekend’s performance, Jones is 5-0-0 with a .934 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average all-time in the Big Ten Tournament.
- Over his last seven games this season, the sophomore is 5-1-1 with a .920 save percentage and a 2.57 goals against average.
- During last Saturday’s 6-5 victory over Minnesota, Jones also broke his own single-season saves record, which now stands at 902 while collecting his 40th career victory, a record he broke earlier this season.
- Jones also notched his fourth assist of the season on Sturtz’s goal last Friday. His four assists are a new single-season Penn State record for a goaltender while his six career assists are also the most all-time by a Penn State net-minder. Jones leads the nation for a goaltender with his four points.
THAT’S ALL FOLKES
- Sophomore Liam Folkes is having a career year for the Blue and White and has registered at least one point in five of his last seven games scoring three goals while adding four assists for seven points over that stretch.
- This season Folkes has scored 11 goals to tie for fourth on the team and tied for 18th in the Big Ten.
LIMO’USINE’ RIDING, JET FLYING, WHEELIN’ N’ DEALIN’ SON OF A GUN!
- Freshman Alex Limoges is currently in the midst of the best stretch of his young career riding a five-game point streak (4-4-8).
- Limoges leads Penn State in freshman scoring with seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points tying Alec Marsh for ninth on the single-season scoring list for freshman at Penn State.
- Limoges ranks tied for seventh in the Big Ten in freshman scoring and along with Cole Hults (3-17-20) is one of just nine rookies in the conference to reach the 20-point mark.
- After being held without a goal for nine straight games, freshman Evan Barratt has scored four goals in his last four games and has 11 on the season to tie for second in the Big Ten among rookies and 13th in the nation for first year players.
- One of those goals was a power-play tally giving him six PPG’s this season to tie teammate Denis Smirnov for fourth in the Big Ten and also tie the single-season record at Penn State for power-play goals.
- During this current five-game win-streak no line has been hotter than the line of freshmen Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt and sophomore Liam Folkes.
- Out of the 24 goals Penn State has scored over the last five games, this line has ten of them, including two game winners, while adding nine assists for 19 points.
STOP, HAMMER TIME!
- Senior Trevor Hamilton scored just 16 seconds into the game last Saturday marking the fastest opening goal for Penn State this season.
- Hamilton has also registered at least one point in six of the last eight games and leads all Big Ten defensemen with 29 points this season on six goals and 23 assists. His plus-13 rating is also tied for sixth in the Big Ten among defensemen. Earlier this week he was named one of three finalists for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award.
- His 23 assists are a new single-season Penn State record for defensemen while his 29 points are one shy of tying Vince Pedrie for the single-season points record for a defenseman with 30 set last season.
- Hamilton ranks third on the Penn State all-time points list for a defenseman with 55 career points as a Nittany Lion in just 75 games played.
- The senior also collected 10 blocked shots over the two games last weekend to eclipse the 100-block plateau for the second consecutive season. Hamilton’s 101 blocks lead the nation for the second straight year after he set a Penn State single-season record for blocks with 107 during the 2016-17 season. His 208 career blocks are also a new Penn State career record.
- Junior Andrew Sturtz popped in the game-winning goal last Friday against Minnesota with a slick toe-drag, which he has become trademark Andrew Sturtz, that landed on SportsCenter’s Top-10.
- Sturtz now has 40 points on the season to lead the team and rank fifth in the Big Ten and tied 21st in the nation. The junior is also just the third Nittany Lion to hit the 40 point mark in a single-season as he is now tied with Casey Bailey for the second most points in a single-season for the Nittany Lions.
- Sturtz’s 26 assists are also just two shy of Denis Smirnov’s single-season program record of 28 and rank tied for fourth in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation.
- Sturtz now has 13 multi-point games this season after adding an assist to go along with his goal last Friday and Penn State is 10-2-1 in those games. For his career, Sturtz has 30 multi-point efforts and the Nittany Lions have gone 22-7-1 in those games.
- Earlier this season, Sturtz became just the second Nittany Lion in program history to reach the 100-point mark as he is now tied for 21st in the nation for career scoring among active players with 104 points. He is also one of just 16 players with at least 50 career goals ranking tied for fifth in the nation with his 54 career goals, which is also a career record at Penn State he set earlier this season.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
- After being held without a goal for 22 straight games, senior James Robinson has scored a goal in three of his last four games and has a new career-high with six goals on the season while adding five assists for 11 points, also a career-best.
- The winner of this semifinal will face the winner of the second semifinal between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan at the seed of the highest remaining team next Saturday night, March 17.