College Hockey Series of the Week: Bowling Green vs. Notre Dame

Story posted November 28, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

As the month of November winds down, teams are beginning to build up resumes for the NCAA Tournament by adding signature wins in order to impress the selection committee.

No. 16 Bowling Green (8-5) will travel to Compton Family Ice Arena to square off against No. 5 Notre Dame (8-2-2) in hopes of pulling off two stunners and boost its resume in order to overcome early setbacks by RIT, Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State.

Although winning in a hostile atmosphere in South Bend is no easy task, the Falcons have the belief that they can play with any team in the country, as shown by their split against No. 1 Minnesota State.

Bowling Green sits at No. 29 in scoring offense, averaging 2.75 goals per contest in an attack led by Connor Ford. The junior forward has tallied 13 points and leads the Falcons in that category.

In addition to Ford, goals leader Cameron Wright has found the back of the net nine times, and big-bodied defenseman Alec Rauhauser also has a knack for scoring, tallying five goals and seven assists.

Through 13 games, junior Eric Dop has been the main goaltender for the Falcons, as he has played in 12 of those contests, compiling an 8-4 record.

Dop has also allowed 24 goals, resulting in a 2.00 goals-against average, a save percentage of .919 and two shutouts. He also sits in fourth-place in the WCHA for goals-against and fifth-place for save percentage.

As for Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish stumbled out of East Lansing last weekend with a shootout win and a regulation loss. Even with the unsuccessful weekend against Michigan State, they are still a top contender in the Big Ten.

The Fighting Irish typically pride themselves on defense and strong goaltending. However, it’s the offense that has carried them through their first 12 games.

Notre Dame’s offense ranks 13th with 3.34 goals per game and features a number of players who can really make life miserable for the opposing goalie and defense.

Senior forward Cal Burke leads the Fighting Irish in assists and points with 10 and 14, respectively. The trio of Mike O’Leary, Cam Morrison and Colin Theisen have also combined 36 points with 24 of those coming from assists.

Nate Clurman and Spencer Stasney are two of Notre Dame’s best defenders. They have a plus/minus rating of plus-11 and plus-six, respectively, and have the ability to stick with the opposing team’s most prolific offensive weapons for a full 60 minutes.

One of the best goalies in the country, Cale Morris, will look to continue his stellar college career with another strong showing this season, as he has played in nine of 12 games thus far.

Morris has been a steady presence in net over the years. His best performance came during the 2017-18 season, in which he posted a .944 save percentage and a 1.94 goals-against average.

Through nine games in 2019, Morris has a record of 5-2-2, a save percentage of .913 and a goals-against average of 2.39. Although it’s relatively early, it’s clear that he is still one of the nation’s best netminders.

In analyzing this matchup as a whole, it’s obvious that Notre Dame is the better team in almost every aspect of offense, defense and special teams. However, Bowling Green can match the play of its opponent every game, proving to be a real thorn in the side on many occasions.

Still, the Fighting Irish are 6-0 at home, and they will be 8-0 by the conclusion of this series. Both games will be tightly contested, but Notre Dame is just too strong and will win with smothering defense and enough offensive production.

Prediction: Notre Dame sweeps 2-0

Game 1: Notre Dame 3, Bowling Green 1

Game 2: Notre Dame 2, Bowling Green 0

 

Christopher Hess is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.