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Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson gives his scouting report on UND

Jackson has won an NCAA national championship in Albany and has been disqualified from a tournament in MVP Arena.

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Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson stands behind the bench during a game at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.
Matt Cashore / Notre Dame athletics

ALBANY, N.Y. — Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson had last weekend off.

He flipped through TV channels Friday night and came across the North Dakota-Western Michigan game in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff.

It ended up being a scouting assignment.

Two days later, Jackson found out his Fighting Irish drew UND in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the Albany Regional. Notre Dame will meet the Fighting Hawks at 5 p.m. Thursday in MVP Arena.

"They've always been a strong, hard-on-the-puck type of team," Jackson said. "They have some elite-level players. They have good depth from top to bottom. They play a very similar game to what we see out of NCHC teams.


"They're just a hard team to play against. They're physical. They get to the net. They're hard on pucks. They get above the puck on transition. They're a very, very balanced team. Certainly, it's going to be a big challenge."

Notre Dame hasn't played against UND in almost 10 years.

The last meeting came in November 2012 in South Bend, Ind. The teams split that two-game series. UND and Notre Dame have never met in the NCAA tournament.

Jackson's good and bad Albany memories

Jackson has both good and bad memories from trips to MVP Arena.

In 1992, he won his first NCAA national championship there as the head coach of Lake Superior State. The Lakers beat Wisconsin 5-3. Brian Rolston scored the game-winning goal. His son, Ryder, is now playing for Jackson at Notre Dame.

On the other side, the Irish were sent to MVP Arena last season for the NCAA regionals, but they were disqualified before the tournament started for having positive COVID-19 tests.

Notre Dame was supposed to play Boston College.

"I just hope it's a reminder to appreciate the opportunity to play," Jackson said. "Last year was a tough, tough situation for our guys. Everyone was worried about COVID at that point. Our team had done such a tremendous job all season long. Then, we get to the most important time of year, and it's taken away from these guys.


"We're just excited to be back in the tournament and have a chance to play for a national championship. It all starts Thursday night against a very good North Dakota team."

NCAA Albany Regional

Who: UND vs. Notre Dame.
When: 5 p.m. Central, Thursday.
Where: MVP Arena, Albany, N.Y.
Records: UND 24-13-1, Notre Dame 27-11.
TV: ESPNU (GF Ch. 320/634 HD).
Stream: ESPN3.com.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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