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September 21, 2023

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Hockey to travel to Notre Dame

The BG hockey team takes on Notre Dame this weekend in the final weekend of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season.

Both games are in South Bend, Ind. Friday’s game starts at 7:35 p.m. while Saturday’s is at 7:05 p.m.

The results of the weekend will determine which team BG plays in the first round and where of the CCHA playoffs. The Falcons control their own destiny. With a win in either game against the Irish, the Falcons will clinch a top-eight seed, thus ensuring they host a first-round playoff series next weekend.

BG sits at seventh in the CCHA standings. They are two points ahead of eighth place Lake Superior, three points ahead of ninth place Michigan and five points ahead of 10th place Northern Michigan.

Lake Superior and Northern Michigan play each other this weekend, while Michigan faces Ferris State.

Michigan and Northern Michigan would each need to sweep their respective series’ this weekend, and need BG to lose both games, to pass the Falcons in the standings. To jump the Falcons in the standings, Lake Superior would need one more win than BG this weekend.

Despite the Falcons seemingly being the in driver’s seat, coach Chris Bergeron said the team is not focusing on the standings.

“I think [discussing the standings] is the reason we weren’t very good Friday [against Northern Michigan],” Bergeron said. “We got too caught up in that and forgot that Friday was another opportunity to play. We did most things not good enough, and I’m going to say we choked. We got too caught up in the implications.”

While the Falcons are in a favorable position in terms of the standings and what needs to happen to get a first round series at home, they aren’t in a favorable position in terms of the opponent they face this weekend.

Notre Dame sits third in the CCHA with 50 points. The Irish cannot go any lower than third in the standings, and can still win the CCHA regular season title. However, that would not be the case if first-place Miami picks up any points this weekend; Notre Dame is six points behind the RedHawks.

The Irish boast one of the best all-around games in the conference. They are second in the CCHA in goals per game and third in goals allowed per game.

Twelve Notre Dame players have posted double-digit points so far this season. Anders Lee leads the team with 31 points, which puts him tied for fifth overall in the conference.

Goalie Steven Summerhays has started 29 of Notre Dame’s 34 games this season. The junior goalkeeper has a 1.99 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.

BG is 1-1 against the Irish this season. Notre Dame beat BG 4-1 in December. A month later the Falcons beat the Irish 4-2 in January.

“It’s a very difficult matchup for us,” Bergeron said. “But it’s one that we’ve proven we can be successful in if we play the game a certain way. And we’re going to have to play both games a certain way.”

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