This weekend, the Nanooks take on a team who spent last year losing a lot and getting busted. If that wasn't enough, the freshmen initiation must have been to imitate the upper-classmen. Probably didn't take long for ND bench boss Jeff Jackson to reign in the team and get them turned around.
Last season, the Hunchbacks had an admittedly down season, but with a stellar freshmen class they're back firing and leading the conference in almost everything. Their power play is pretty good, but their penalty kill is absolutely ruthless. They kill 86.2% of the penalties they take, but whats more impressive is the 11 shorthanded goals they've put up this year, the most in the nation. 4 more than BC, who is sitting in 2nd with 7 shorties. That's nuts.
ND scoring leader TJ Tynan has been tearing it up his freshman year with 15 goals and 33 points. He's leading the nation in rookie scoring, and likely has no intentions of falling out of that position. What's funny though, is when you look at his mug shot he looks like a transplant from a 1980's sitcom, a la Happy Days.
Senior Ryan Guentzel is trailing just behind with 26 points, and he's a dynamic forward that can take control of a game when others get bottled up. After a close loss to Bowling Green in the first half of the season, Ryan responded in the second game with a 3 point performance in a 6-3 win. Ryan's brother Gabe made the trek to Fairbanks with Colorado College back in October who made a name for himself, earning All-Tournament honors.
Since the emotional split with Miami on the road, the Nanooks are 2-3-3. In the same timeframe, the Hunchbacks have gone 4-2-1. Out of the break, the ND found themselves in a hostile environment in Marquette, Michigan in the den of the Wildcats. Turns out it wouldn't matter, as the Hunchbacks pounded the Wildcats like battering rams 8-1, 3-1. Some may argue that Notre Dame stepped over the line last Friday, but mark it 8, Dude. (NSFW)
The 'Nooks need to hit the road running with this series. With school still yet to start, they got out early this week to have more time to get ready. Notre Dame is not Western. As good as the Broncos have gotten, and they proved that last weekend, points will be harder for the Nanooks to take out of this series, especially on the road.
These games can be streamed live online for free through UND.com. Friday's game is at 3:35PM, and Saturday at 3:05PM.