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Notre Dame hockey confident ahead of rematch with Denver

Notre Dame hockey returns to the ice this weekend for a big matchup.

The Fighting Irish will host the number one team in the country, which happens to be a familiar foe.

The Denver Pioneers ended Notre Dame's postseason run in the 2017 Frozen Four, before going on to win the national championship.

Now, the Pioneers come to Compton Family Ice Arena ranked first in the nation to start the season. While this will be Denver's first weekend series of the season, Notre Dame is coming off a sweep of Alabama Huntsville in its first series.

The meeting between Notre Dame and Denver saw the Pioneers dominate the Irish, 6-1. However, each year is different and so is the Notre Dame roster, with a new front line and new goaltending.

Despite the roster changes, head coach Jeff Jackson said the first weekend was promising.

"It was encouraging to see the young goaltenders last week," he said. "[We're] just trying to get an idea of where we're going to make up the offense we lost from last season. So far, it's coming from different spots and hopefully it'll continue that way."

While the talk surrounding the Irish this week focuses around the concept of revenge, the players say they don't feel like there's anything more to prove than usual. Ranked fourth in their own right, the Irish don't feel it would be an upset if they pull off a split or a sweep.

"We're just going to play our game, and not let them dictate the play," said senior forward Jake Evans, who earned a 2nd-Star honor this week from the Big Ten. "We're going to try to take it to them and use our home crowd to our advantage."

With Notre Dame in its fall break, the hockey team is still hoping for the atmosphere to be energetic with the big game.

Friday's game marks "Hockey Night in South Bend" and tickets are still available for both Friday and Saturday. Those who come to the Friday game early enough may receive a free t-shirt as well.

Friday's game begins at 7:05 p.m. while the puck will drop for Saturday's game at 6:05.

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