Sorry for the lack of a media roundup this week. If I had done it, it would've read: "Packers. Packers packers Packers Packers Packers. Packers packers pack pack pack Packers pack packers scored pack pack pack Holmgren Sucks. Packers. Packers. PACKERS!" Even though this is a huge weekend for the Wolverines, forgive me if my mind isn't on Notre Dame. But here are 10 things to know about them, anyway:
1. They're a bunch of bitches. As The Hoover Street Rag pointed out, they aren't allowing our band to play during the game at The Palace. That's really, really petty.
2. The Irish have 23 points in CCHA play (11-4-1) which is three behind Michigan and Miami, but the Wolverines have two games in hand on each opponent. They're 18-7-1 overall. Losses have come to Wisconsin, Ferris, Denver, Miami, UMass, NMU, and MSU, with the tie against MSU as well. Notable wins: Denver, Miami, and 2 against Princeton (who I have to include since they're somehow ranked now).
3. Jordan Pearce has gotten the majority of the work in net, and has a 2.00 goals against and a .911 save percentage.
4. Egads! They have an offense (I don't know why this shocks me...they were #10 in offense last year). ND ranks 12th in the country in goals per game, scoring 3.15, right about a goal less than Michigan (#2). They've spread out the offense though. Their leading scorer is Erik Condra, who ranks just 49th in the country in points per game with 27 in 26 games. He has also been the Wolverine killer with 9 points in five games against Michigan. Kyle Lawson leads the defense this year with 3-12--15. Ten players have five or more goals, which is more than they had all of last year. In the last six games, Notre Dame has only scored 11 goals. Michigan had 11 last weekend.
The defense is still very good. They're #4 in the country in goals allowed per game at 1.92. Michigan is #2 in that category as well (Miami is #1 in both).
5. While Michigan's goal margin is fairly even throughout the three periods (+16, 15, 19), Notre Dame is much better in the second than they are the rest of the time. They're actually even in the first period and +8 in the third, but they are +24 in the second period.
6. OMG the refs love Notre Dame! They're #49 out of 59 in penalty minutes a night, averaging about 6 minutes less per night than the Wolverines. They've only been short-handed four times more than the Wolverines though. Apart from Miami, the Irish have been on the power play more than any team in the country (27 more times than Michigan, though we have more PPGs). Thankfully their power play is a woeful 15.2%. As expected with a team that doesn't give up many goals, their PK is very good at 89.2%. And they actually are tied for the nation's lead in short handed goals with 7. Be careful, Langlais.
7. Michigan/ND at The Palace has been a HUGE draw in the past. Twice they've drawn over 20,000 people (one game at the time was the largest crowd to see an NCAA hockey game), and also have crowds of 18,000+ and just over 11,000. Michigan has won all four games between the teams in Auburn Hills.
8. Our Swede is better. Notre Dame freshman Robin Bergman just left the team to head back to the USHL. He had 1-6--7 in 20 games.
9. My favorite stat of the week: Faceoffs. Notre Dame is very good, winning 55.5% of draws. Ryan Thang is the only player on the team that has taken any amount of faceoffs and hasn't won half. He is at 32%, but he's only taken 34 draws. Pretty impressive overall.
10. The first goal is crucial. Notre Dame is 12-0-0 this year when scoring first. Michigan is 18-0-0 when doing the same. Additionally, neither team has lost or tied when leading after the first or the second period.
Based on the fact that MSU took 3 points from them in a home-and-home, I like the Wolverines for a sweep in what basically amounts to two home games. 2 points is a must, 3 would be fine, I'd obviously like 4. A sweep buries Notre Dame, putting them seven points behind the Wolverines with just ten games to play (UM would have 12).