Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Northeast #3: Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#3 seed vs. Merrimack College,
Northeast Regional (Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH),
Saturday, March 26, 2011

At-Large Berth from the CCHA

Record: 23-13-5
Head Coach: Jeff Jackson 

(Editor's Note: This is as good a place as any to remind you that while the official policy of the Hoover Street Rag is "To Hell with Notre Dame", we would be remiss not to mention The House that Rock Built's continuing web puppet series "Stuffing the Passer" , which deserves like an Emmy or something.)

Cheer, cheer for old second place.  Notre Dame's hockey program rises, alongside Miami, as the future of the CCHA, particularly as the Big Ten Hockey Conference becomes a reality in 2013.  A new arena (consciously modeled on Yost, because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and since it will match Notre Dame Stadium's design being modeled after Michigan Stadium, but we digress) opens next season and Jeff Jackson has spent the last six seasons showing what a school that strives to excel in everything it does can do if they have the right coach, the right attitude, and the right players.  (It also does not hurt that under NCAA rules, once per season, Jeff Jackson gets to invoke the doctrine of papal infallibility due to his resemblance to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.)

Notre Dame is coming in to the tournament on whatever the exact opposite of a roll is.  Flatbread, maybe?  Anyway, losing 4 of their last 7, including both games last weekend at the Joe in the CCHA Championship, if Notre Dame wants to make any noise, and be the threat to advance to Saint Paul that they looked as recently as mid-February, they'll need all-around improvement, starting with their scoring punch.  No Irish defenseman registered a point at the Joe, and part of the fear with Notre Dame is that their two biggest scoring threats this season T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee are freshmen playing in their first tournament game, in what will likely be a pretty hostile environment (we presume Merrimack fans will travel, right?)  Big weekends from Calle Ridderwall and Riley Sheahan will go a long way to sending the Irish to the Xcel in two weeks, rather than counting the days until the Compton Family Center opens next fall. 

(Oh, and by the way, Bryan Rust, yeah, it's Matt's brother.  No word if Bryan never sleeps either. )

1 comment:

Geoff said...

The new Notre Dame rink will be known as "City of Compton", right?