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In the shadow of football, autumn is still a love time for hockey in South Bend

There's the golden dome, the famous fight song and Touchdown Jesus. Autumn in South Bend belongs to football. Which means hockey has to adjust for a month or two.

"The first half the year sometimes you have to work around football," Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson said. "If football is home on a Saturday, we can't play at home on the same day. So we alter our schedule a bit and will play a Thursday-Friday or a Friday-Sunday. But those issues are just are early in the season. We have a big fan base that really follows us closely and that's a lot of fun for the kids."

The Fighting Irish football team is off this week, allowing for Notre Dame hockey to host Niagara for the traditional Friday-Saturday series.

Notre Dame's hockey profile has risen in the past decade including two Frozen Four appearances. The Irish have 10 NHL draft picks on their rosters including 2013 Buffalo Sabres selections Connor Hurley and Cal Petersen.

Catch up with the prospects and prepare for the nationally televised game (7 p.m., Saturday, NBCSN) with the story in today's Buffalo News.

Meanwhile, here's the skinny for this weekend's games:

Niagara at Notre Dame
Friday, 7:35 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Saturday, 7 p.m., NBCSN
at Compton Ice Arena, South Bend Ind.

  • Notre Dame (2-2) holds a 48-25-3 record against teams from Atlantic Hockey.
  • Niagara (0-4) is 16-30-2 against Hockey East.
  • This is the second year in Hockey East for Notre Dame.
  • The Fighting Irish are 0-16 on the power play through their first four games with just 12 shots.
  • Junior Mario Lucia (a second-round draft pick of Minnesota in 2011) leads Notre Dame with five goals while junior Steven Fogarty (a third-round pick of the Rangers in 2011) had two goals and three assists in last weekend's sweep of Lake Superior State.
  • Niagara continues to heal from a barrage of early-season injuries. Forwards TJ Sarcona, Robert Angiolella, Isaac Kohls, defenseman Vince Muto and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb are among those missing from the lineup.

Canisius at American International
Friday and Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Webcast: America One
at Olympia Ice Center, Springfield, Mass.

  • The Griffs have the 13th-best power play in the country thanks to two goals apiece from Tyler Wiseman and Ralph Cuddemi.
  • Those power play opportunities won't come easily, though. AIC is the least penalized team in the country. "That’s what they’ve been," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "They’ve been that way for a number of years. They play very disciplined. They stay out of the box. Their special teams are well-coached. They do some unique things that you have to be aware of. They recruit offensive players who are disciplined."
  • Canisius forward Mitch McCrank will miss this weekend as he still recovers from a lower body injury suffered against Western Michigan.
  • AIC (0-2-1) has won Atlantic Hockey's Rookie of the Week twice already this season. First it was Johno May who had a goal and an assist in a 7-2 loss to defending national champion, Union. This week it was goalie Alex Murray who stopped 53 shots in a 2-2 tie with Holy Cross in his first collegiate start.
  • Fast facts --  AIC freshman defender Andrew DeBrincat is the brother of Alex DeBrincat who plays on a line with Connor McDavid for the Erie Otters. ... The tour of former stomping grounds for Canisius assistant coach Trevor Large continues. Large was an assistant at AIC for two years. Last week he returned with the Griffs to Army where he was an assistant coach for six years. ... And because college hockey is one giant six-degrees-of-separation game, Canisius equipment manager Mike Murphy held the same position at AIC.
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