The weight of the conference is once again on Husky shoulders this weekend. Northeastern travels out west for second round of the Hockey East tournament to their home away from home at Compton Family Ice Arena, taking on third seeded Notre Dame. The Huskies have outscored the Irishin their own building 22-13 since it opened, which includes winning their own Shillelagh tournament two seasons ago. Since the Irish joined Hockey East, the Huskies have gone 4-2-1 against them.
The Huskies were held winless against the Irish during their regular season series, though that series did come while the team was at their lowest point. The team could not be playing worse at the time and the Irish still weren’t able to get the sweep against Northeastern. Both games featured Northeastern digging themselves a hole and then furiously attempting to climb out of it, scoring twice at the end of each game, managing to finish the second game tied.
The Irish don’t have great possession stats, with a sub-50 close CF%. They’re essentially counting on Cal Petersen being a brick wall in net behind them. And he has been. Petersen is now tied with Lowell’s Kevin Boyle for second in the conference in save percentage. Notre Dame is also about even with Northeastern in terms of goals per game and goals against per game. They rank fourth in the conference in scoring defense to Northeastern’s fifth, and fifth in scoring offense while the Huskies are fourth. While the two teams have similar powerplay numbers, the penalty kill for the Irish is slightly better. That can be at least partially negated by the fact that Northeastern averages over two fewer penalty minutes per game than Notre Dame.
Sure, Notre Dame may be the favorite. They may be the higher seed. They may have home ice. But Northeastern should feel good coming into the weekend. Before last weekend, Notre Dame’s last win against a team of quality was over three months ago. Plus, nobody likes them. There should be no doubt the Huskies can win this. Do it for Hockey East. Do it for New England. #GoNU