Notre Dame hockey bliss
Kevin Hartrich | Thursday, November 17, 2011
With my beloved Chicago Bulls locked out for the considerable future, I need a new winter sport to follow. Instead of turning to Notre Dame Basketball, I went to three Fighting Irish hockey games in the past week, and I couldn’t have enjoyed them more.
Notre Dame Hockey is pure, unadulterated bliss. After tolerating NBC’s policy of airing commercials with brief interludes of football for the past few years, it is wonderful to watch shift after shift go by without interruption. Notre Dame also plays a beautiful style of controlled, unselfish hockey that keeps fans on edge, waiting for an opponent to drift out of position for just a moment. This is magnified on Irish powerplays, which have been exceptional. Watching their powerplay is like watching Michael Floyd in single coverage — a mix of anticipation, possibility and awe.
The Irish Hockey team is also really good. It started the week ranked fourth in the nation, and during its 3-2 win over No. 10 Western Michigan on Tuesday night, there were a couple moments of brilliance to justify that place. The team’s talent, though, doesn’t take away from the excitement of each game. I love our football team’s recent streak of wins, but the lack of drama in recent blowouts can cause me to lose focus. Hockey, compared to football, features much more unpredictability. Last weekend, Alaska almost stole a win by playing conservatively, blocking a lot of shots and getting a little lucky. The third period was a frenzy of missed opportunities and outstanding play from the Alaskan goalie before the game-winning goal finally came 40 seconds from the finish. The new arena also positions the student body against the glass behind the opposing goalie, perfect for a fan stupid enough to think his or her cheering alters the game (like me).
Despite our excellent hockey team, the attendance is good, but not great. I wish I had attended more games during my first three years here, especially with free admission. The team plays a very good Boston College team this Friday, and I’m sure they would love some more support.