Series Preview: Men’s Hockey vs. Notre Dame

Audio/Story posted December 12, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Andre Magaro

Host Andre Magaro, alongside Logan Bourandas, Kyle Cannillo and Jordan Mansberger, get you ready for Penn State’s huge clash with Notre Dame this weekend in South Bend.

A rematch of last season’s Big Ten tournament championship game is set to take place this weekend in South Bend, as the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions finish their six-game road trip by visiting the No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a weekend set on Friday and Saturday night.

Guy Gadowsky and the Big Ten-leading Nittany Lions have battled their first serious stretch of adversity this season throughout the past couple weeks away from home. After handily beating a sloppy Merrimack side 7-0, Penn State dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to then-No. 15 UMass Lowell 3-2. This was followed by a split against Michigan in Ann Arbor, where Penn State fell 4-1 on Friday before defeating the Wolverines 3-1 on Saturday.

The consistent concern for the Nittany Lions must be the offensive output. Despite scoring seven on Merrimack, which has the fifth-worst defense in the country, a potent Nittany Lions attack has struggled in recent weeks. Penn State is only averaging two goals per game, much worse than its season average of 4.29, which leads the NCAA.

The Nittany Lions have struggled to create many clear chances during five-on-five play the past two weekends but have remained in nearly every game due to the sensational goaltending of Peyton Jones. Jones’ .924 save percentage ranks third in the Big Ten, and his 2.39 goals against average is fourth in the conference.

Jones’ solid play, on top of a Penn State defensive unit that has climbed from 56th to 20th in the NCAA over the past year, has helped keep the Nittany Lions in games where their offense has stalled.

That offense might have a chance to get back on track against a Notre Dame team that has gone six games without a win in regulation or overtime.

The Fighting Irish are in freefall in the polls after getting dominated by non-conference foes No. 10 Bowling Green and No. 5 Boston College in back-to-back weeks. Notre Dame comes into this series fourth in the Big Ten and desperate to get back to its winning ways, which fans have become so accustomed to under head coach Jeff Jackson.

While they are no offensive juggernaut like Penn State, this Fighting Irish team that is usually fine putting through a couple scores per game has really struggled to find the back of the net in recent weeks. However, unlike the Nittany Lions, the Fighting Irish have not had the defensive or goaltending consistency to back up the offense.

Notre Dame has been outscored 20-5 in its past four games. In that time, the defense has had serious issues with turning the puck over, and senior goaltender Cale Morris has been a shell of his former self. Morris has an .890 save percentage, which is the worst in the Big Ten. His 3.07 goals against average is second-worst in the conference for any goaltender that has played more than 10 games. Compare these numbers to Morris’ career save percentage of .932 and goals-against average of 2.21, and it’s clear to see that he is having his worst season for the Fighting Irish.

The stats would seem to suggest Penn State having a clear edge heading into this weekend’s series. However, Compton Family Ice Arena has been a bit of a troublesome location for the Nittany Lions in the past. Penn State is 1-5 in South Bend since Notre Dame joined the Big Ten prior to the 2017-2018 season, including two postseason losses in the conference tournament.

The Nittany Lions will look to change that trend in order to head into the winter break period atop the Big Ten standings, while the Fighting Irish will try to get back on track and salvage their season.

Prediction: 1-1 split

Game 1: Notre Dame 3, Penn State 1

Game 2: Penn State 5, Notre Dame 2


Andre Magaro is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Kyle Cannillo's photo

Kyle Cannillo

Junior / Journalism

Kyle Cannillo is involved with CommRadio at Penn State University, producing content such as writing articles, hosting podcasts, participating in live shows and broadcasting play-by-play for Penn State athletics. He is currently a production assistant for Penn State Athletics, doing live video production for BTN + and University Streams. He previously interned with CBS station WTAJ, where he received hands on-experience in all newsroom operations, including reporting, production, camerawork and sports. He has high hopes to be successful in a communication-related career. He is skilled in public speaking, takes initiative, and has a tenacious work ethic. His mission is to use optimism, determination and respect to uncover and report fascinating stories from people who have genuine experiences.

Andre Magaro's photo

Andre Magaro

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Andre Magaro is a junior from Enola, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a sports director, writer and play-by-play broadcaster for CommRadio. He also covers events and anchors for CommRadio’s news department. When not at CommRadio, Andre is a commentator for BTN Student U broadcasts, a student writer for Penn State Athletics and a student leader of the Penn State campus ministry New Life. Andre has written for Armchair All-Americans in the past, covering Penn State football, baseball and men’s hockey. He can be contacted via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and on Twitter @andre_magaro.

Logan Bourandas's photo

Logan Bourandas

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Logan Bourandas is a broadcast journalism major from Long Island, NY. He is a the news director for CommRadio and the host of Ducks on the Pond, which is an all-baseball talk show on CommRadio. He is also a sports writer and podcaster for CommRadio. He got his start as the station manager for his high school radio station WPOB in his hometown of Plainview, NY, where he hosted numerous radio shows and was involved in sports broadcasts. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jordan Mansberger's photo

Jordan Mansberger

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Jordan Mansberger is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in marketing and sports studies.