By John Lachmann
WHO: No. 3 Miami RedHawks (18-7-5) vs. No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18-11-1).
WHERE: Friday—Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio; Sunday—Soldier Field, Chicago.
WHEN: Friday—7:35 p.m. in Oxford; Sunday—1 p.m. in Chicago.
TV: Friday—CBS Sports (DirecTV Ch. 613, Dish Network Ch. 152); Sunday—FSN Ohio (DirecTV Ch. 660, Dish Network Ch. 425), FSN Cincinnati (DirecTV Ch. 661, Dish Network Ch. 427), ComCast Chicago (DirecTV Ch. 665, Dish Network Ch. 429), MSG Plus (DirecTV Ch. 635), ComCast California (DirecTV Ch. 698, Dish Network Ch. 409), FSN Detroit (DirecTV Ch. 663, Dish Network Ch. 430), FSN North (DirecTV Ch. 668, Dish Network Ch. 436), FSN Wisconsin (DirecTV Ch. 669); NESN (DirecTV Ch. 628, Dish Network Ch. 434), Root Sports Alternate (DirecTV Ch. 695).
Note: According to Miami’s athletic office, any Fox Sports affiliate that doesn’t have a professional obligation during that time slot (NHL/NBA game) will be picking up FSN Detroit’s broadcast.
MIAMI RADIO: Friday—None. Sunday—WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.; and WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
NOTRE DAME RADIO: WHFB-FM (99.9), South Bend, Ind.
NOTES: The majority of fan and media attention has been given to Sunday’s outdoor game, but the coaches and players need to focus on Friday first, especially considering the magnitude of this series in the conference standings.
Even during their recent skid, the Fighting Irish have had no problem putting the puck in the net, a skill that has eluded Miami at times this season.
Notre Dame had lost six of seven heading into last weekend’s series vs. Michigan, in which the Fighting Irish scored 13 goals en route to a series sweep.
Overall, UND is easily the highest-scoring team in the CCHA, averaging 3.07 goals per game. In their last five games, the Fighting Irish have netted an average of 4.6 goals.
Junior forward Anders Lee is a particularly dangerous offensive threat. He leads the CCHA and is tied for fourth in the country in goals with 17.
And with 12 assists, Lee – who somehow slipped to the sixth round of the 2009 draft in Montréal before being selected by the New York Islanders – is third behind RedHawks sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and freshman forward Riley Barber for the conference points lead by one.
Among its forwards, three juniors and a freshman have also stood out offensively for Notre Dame this season, and all are NHL draftees.
Bryan Rust, a Penguins draft pick and brother of former Michigan standout Matt Rust, is tied with second on the team in points (10-14-24), including a four-point game against his brother’s former team last Friday.
T.J. Tynan was selected by the Blue Jackets, and is tied with Rust in points (8-16-24). Tynan has 119 points in his career, leading all current Fighting Irish skaters.
Ottawa draft pick Jeff Costello tallied a goal and five assists last weekend, giving him 22 points in 22 games this season. Injury prone, the fifth-rounder had just 30 points in his first 70 games with Notre Dame.
The freshman of the group, Maria Lucia has scored nine goals and dished for nine assists in his rookie season. The son of legendary Minnesota coach Don Lucia was drafted in the second round of the Minnesota Wild in the 2011 draft, which was held in St. Paul. Lucia notched a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over Ferris State on Feb. 26.
Four other Notre Dame forwards are NHL draftees – freshman Thomas DiPauli (Washington 5-6-11), freshman Steven Fogarty (NY Rangers 4-3-7), sophomore Austin Wuthrich (Washington 3-4-7) and senior Nick Larson (Calgary 2-3-5).
Among its non-drafted forwards, juniors Mike Voran and David Gerths have been the Fighting Irish’s biggest offensive contributors. Voran has four goals and six assists, and Gerths has the unusual stat line of 7-0-7.
On defense, four Notre Dame players have recorded at least 10 points. Sophomore Islanders draft pick Robbie Russo leads that corps with five goals and 13 assists for 18 points.
Senior Sam Calabrese has a goal and is tied for second on the team with 15 assists, and junior Chicago Blackhawks draftee Stephen Johns has recorded 13 points on a goal and 12 helpers.
Junior Shayne Taker also has racked up 11 points, with a marker and 10 assists.
So clearly the Fighting Irish have tons of players that can rack up points. The biggest question mark surrounding this team is its ability to prevent goals, a skill Notre Dame excelled at early in the season but has struggled with recently.
It their first 20 games, the Fighting Irish allowed just 33 goals, or 1.65 per game. The last 10 games, Notre Dame has surrendered 36 markers, an average of 3.60.
Junior Steven Summerhays has been the primary goaltender for the Fighting Irish, and his season numbers (15-10-0, 2.05 GAA, .907 save percentage) are respectable, but he was one of the CCHA’s leaders earlier in the season.
He had allowed just 28 goals in 19 games after shutting