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Notre Dame Starts the New Year With Weekend Series Against Arizona State

#18 Notre Dame plays their first game of the new year tonight against unranked Arizona State.

Notre Dame Hockey
Photo: Notre Dame Athletics

Series Preview

When Notre Dame and Arizona State played in early December, there was no shortage of goals. The teams combined for 18 tallies in the two games. There is no reason to expect anything different when they face off this weekend.

The Irish have averaged 2.5 goals per game this season while allowing 2.8 against. Inconsistent play has plagued Notre Dame in the early going. Offensively, they have no trouble getting shots on goal. While the Irish average 32.7 shots per game, but they have struggled to generate quality attempts. There will be added emphasis the remainder of the season on getting to the tough areas in front of the goalie in order to convert on their chances.

The 4-8-2 Sun Devils have experienced similar inconsistencies this season. They swept a 14th-ranked Wisconsin team late in November, but two weeks later got swept themselves by an unranked Penn State team. The Sun Devils have already played two games in the new year, both losses to #1-ranked Minnesota. This weekend series against Notre Dame is undoubtedly a chance for them to get that bad taste out of their mouths.

Players to Watch

Jake Boltmann – Notre Dame

Jake Boltmann will be making his debut for the Irish this weekend. Boltmann was selected 80th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-1, 187 lb defenseman played six games for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL earlier this season. Prior to the 2020-21 campaign, Boltmann served as captain of the prestigious Edina High School hockey team where he was a Mr. Hockey finalist in the state of Minnesota.

He will be motivated to put on a good showing in his season debut with the Irish as he looks to make his presence known early and often.

Matthew Kopperud – Arizona State

Matthew Kopperud has been a force for Arizona State this season. He is averaging a point per game and his eight goals are tied for most in the country. He has four goals and two assists in two games against the Irish and there is no reason to believe he will slow down now. Kopperud will be a major focus of Notre Dame’s scouting report as they will want to limit his chances and stay out of the penalty box.

Tonight’s game will be televised on NHL Network with the puck drop scheduled for 5:30 PM CT. Sunday’s game will also air on NHL Network at 4:00 PM CT.

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