Matt Cashore /

Irish host Duluth in home opener

Jeff Jackson has the Notre Dame hockey team digging into the details of its penalty kill with No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth coming to town this weekend.

Who: Notre Dame (1-1-0) vs. No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth (2-1-0)
When: 6:05 p.m. ET tonight; 6:40 p.m. ET Saturday
Where: Compton Family Ice Arena; South Bend, Ind. (5,022)
Radio: 99.9 FM (WHFB)
TV: NBC Sports Network (Saturday)
Twitter: @ND_hockey

Two exhibition games and a series split last weekend gave Jeff Jackson enough information to rethink his penalty kill units.

Jackson doesn’t plan to tinker with personnel after Notre Dame surrendered four goals on six power plays at Penn State while allowing just nine shots total. Instead, he wants more practice for a penalty kill group that returns virtually in tact from last season.

“We’ve worked on it twice this week already,” Jackson said. “We have to get into the details of penalty kill. The interesting thing for me is realistically we only lost one penalty killer. Peter Schneider did a great job for us as a penalty killer. But other than that, everybody else is back. Even on the back end, Robbie Russo wasn’t one of our top penalty killers.

“For me, that’s the biggest question mark I’ve got going in. Guys that were on it last year like — Anders Bjork, Connor Hurley and Jake Evans — some of these guys that were good killers for us — Thomas DiPauli, Steven Fogarty — they’ve gotta get back to that mindset of how we have to kill.”

Notre Dame (1-1-0) will test itself against No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth this weekend at home.

Some scouting and film study will be involved to prepare for the Duluth power play, which has connected just twice in 13 tries this season. Duluth is 2-1-0 after sweeping Minnesota last weekend in a home-and-home series despite a middle-of-the-pack power play.

Forwards Jared Thomas and Austin Farley each of a power-play goal.

“It’s not like there’s huge adjustments to make from team to team,” Jackson said. “You just have to be aware of the trigger points, the key guys that you have to try not to allow to have free for all. You have to know which guys are the key guys to what they’re trying to do.”

On the flip side, Duluth’s penalty kill has surrendered just one goal this season.

Keeping a Minnesota presence

Notre Dame will host Duluth this weekend and Minnesota in a couple weeks as part of a continued initiative to play programs from that state, a recruiting point for Jackson.

Eight players on the Irish roster call Minnesota home, headlined by Fogarty and Mario Lucia. Freshman Dylan Malmquist is just the latest.

“We want to continue to play teams from Minnesota because we recruit in Minnesota,” Jackson said. “Duluth has been a great partner. They play a real good game. They’re not a chippy team. They play hard. (Coach) Scott Sandelin is a friend of ours. He does a great job up there.

“Ever since we played them in the Frozen Four, they’ve been in the mix every year. They’re one of the top 10 programs in the country almost every year. They’re good for us to play.”

Hinostroza makes NHL debut

Former Notre Dame center Vince Hinostroza made his debut for the Chicago Blackhawks last week.

Hinostroza took 14 shifts for a total of 9:47 on the ice with no shots and a minor penalty to his credit. He’s likely to spend most of the season in the AHL, but Hinostroza moved up the prospect list after a strong camp.

“I expected when Vinnie signed that he’d probably be in the American league for awhile,” Jackson said. “But the nature of the Blackhawks, and part of the reason they signed him, is they want guys that play with energy and with speed and Vinnie’s got those things. Frankly, the Blackhawks because of their cap issues don’t have the same depth in their system that they used to have. So their third and fourth lines probably aren’t the same as what they’ve been.

“I’m happy for him. If he can sustain it, that’s great. Vinnie’s a very talented hockey player. He plays hard and he works hard. He is the type of player they have success with.”

Chicago signed Hinostroza after just two seasons at Notre Dame. Top Stories