It's a rare opportunity for Western New York college hockey fans -- to see a local team play a regular season game on national television.
Thank NBC for loving Notre Dame football. The relationship developed between the Fighting Irish and the media outlet has led to greater opportunities for a host of Notre Dame sports to get air time, and that includes hockey. Good for the sport. Better for Hockey East. Fantastic for teams like Niagara.
Of the 18 games scheduled to be aired live on NBCSN, 12 are Notre Dame home games.
That includes Saturday's tilt when Niagara visits South Bend for the first time in program history.
Friday night's game between Notre Dame and Niagara is available through the live stream of NBC Sports Live Extra.
To get you ready for a full weekend of college hockey, here's what you need to know:
- The big clash this weekend comes in Ralph Engelstad Arena as No. 3 North Dakota hosts No. 5 Providence. The Friars were the preseason pick in Hockey East. They opened the season splitting two overtime games with Ohio State while last weekend they also went to OT, this time in an exhibition game with the U.S. Under-18 National Team. North Dakota dropped its season opener to Bemidji State (5-1) then went on to win their next three, including a sweep of Colorado College.
- Of note for Sabres fans, the Friars have two Buffalo draft picks on their roster -- sophomore defenseman Anthony Florentino (fifth round, 2013) and senior defenseman Mark Adams (fifth round, 2009). Florentino has two assists through two games.
- Other games with rankings implications -- No. 2 Union hosts No. 9 St. Cloud State while No. 1 Minnesota returns to action hosting Bemidji State.
Around Atlantic Hockey
- Holy Cross travels to State College, Pa., to face Penn State. The Nittany Lions (1-1-2) had a bit of a scare in their 3-3 tie with Alaska-Anchorage in Fairbanks as sophomore defenseman David Thompson was cut by a skate blade in the abdomen. He reportedly received 20 stitches and is doing well in his recovery.
- RIT opens conference play this weekend at Air Force. The Tigers are 1-2-0 coming off a 6-2 loss to Boston College in Blue Cross Arena. Air Force (1-3-0) lost to Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage last weekend after opening the season with a conference split with Mercyhurst.
- Bentley's Tyler Deresky was suspended for one game after a boarding call in the Falcons' loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday. The team will also be without Alex Kubiak who will sit after receiving a game disqualification for hitting from behind.