Dec. 29, 2016
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The 12th-ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team will return from break by ringing in 2017 with a two-game series against the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks this weekend at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The Irish are coming off a 3-2 comeback win over now No. 5/6 Boston College on Dec. 10. Anders Bjork scored a power play-goal and a shorthanded game winner to spark the win after Notre Dame had been trailing 2-0 in the second period. Bjork was named the Hockey East Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 12 for his efforts.
OVERVIEW | GAMES 18 & 19
Matchup: Alaska at Notre Dame
Date: Saturday, Dec. 31 | Sunday, Jan. 1
Time: 4:05 p.m. (ET) | 2:05 p.m.
Site: Notre Dame, Ind.
Arena: Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022)
Live Streaming: NBC Sports App
Play-by-Play: Darin Pritchett
Live Radio | Audio: WZOC 94.3 FM | WatchND
Play-by-Play: Darin Pritchett
Live Stats: UND.com
Live Updates: @NDHockey
Series History: Notre Dame leads, 30-25-4 (59 games)
NOTES TO KNOW
-- Evans ranks second in Hockey East and 12th in the country with a .623 faceoff winning percentage this season (215 wins -130 losses).
-- Former CCHA foes, Alaska and Notre Dame will be meeting for the first time since the Nanooks swept a two-game series at Notre Dame on Jan. 18-19, 2013.
-- Saturday night’s game will be the first of four consecutive non-conference home games the Irish will play following the winter break, marking the last four non-conference games of the regular season for the Irish.
BJORK PLAYS LEADING ROLE
-- Junior forward Anders Bjork, a 2014 fifth-round pick by Boston, is one of the country’s leading scorers with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points.
-- Bjork reached the 25-point plateau in his 15th game of the season, marking the fastest any Notre Dame player has reach 25 points in the Coach Jackson era (and dating back to at least 2001-02).
-- Bjork has been held without a point in just four of Notre Dame’s 17 games this season (one of which was the 0-0, two-period tie at Northeastern on Nov. 13).
-- Bjork has posted eight multi-point games, including four-point games against ASU (Oct. 8) and UConn (Oct. 28).
-- The Irish are 9-3-1 on the season when Bjork notches at least one point (6-2-0 when he scores at least one goal).
Category | HEA Rank* | NCAA Rank*
Goals (13) | 2nd | t-4th
Game-Winning Goals (4) | 1st | t-2nd
Assists (15) | 5th | t-17th
Points (28) | 3rd | 6th
Points/Game (1.65) | 8th | 3rd
Third Period Points (13) | t-1st | t-1st
* - As of Dec. 29
THIRD PERIOD SURGE
-- Notre Dame is outscoring opponents by a 25-10 margin in third periods this season.
-- Notre Dame’s 25 third period goals ranks tied for third in the country.
-- The Fighting Irish are averaging 1.56 goals per third period, which ranks third in the country (Notre Dame has played only 16 third periods this season due to the shortened game at Northeastern on Nov. 13).
-- Anders Bjork is tied for second in the country with six third-period goals and is tied for the national lead with 13 third-period points (6-7-13).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
-- The Irish have played a tough schedule in 2016-17, including a non-conference road series at current No. 1 Minnesota Duluth and a non-conference home series against current No. 3 Penn State.
-- Notre Dame has posted wins at then #4 Minnesota Duluth (3-1 on Oct. 15), versus then #5/6 UMass Lowell (4-1 on Nov. 18) and over then #3/4 Boston College (3-2 on Dec. 10).
THE ALASKA SERIES
-- Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 30-25-4 (59 meetings).
-- The last Irish win against the Nanooks came at Alaska on Jan. 28, 2012 by a score of 4-2.
-- In that win, Notre Dame rallied from a 2-1 deficit at the Carlson Center in front of 3,222 fans who braved temperatures near 50-below zero.
-- The all-time series began on Jan. 15, 1985 when Alaska posted a 6-4 win at Notre Dame.
-- Notre Dame defeated Alaska in the first round of the 2007 CCHA playoffs (7-1 and 3-1) en route to claiming the 2007 CCHA Championship.
-- ND --
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).