Irish to host Ice Devils for hockey sectional game this Saturday
File photo: BHS's Adam Kurek prepares to save a shot by ND's Kyle Gannon in the last matchup on January 19, 2010.
Almost exactly a month after the last time the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosted cross town rival Batavia Ice Devils, the two teams will meet again. This time, there is more at stake. Saturday at 1:00pm the rivalry will continue into sectional play in front of what is sure to be a packed house at the Falleti Ice Arena, as the third seeded Irish will host the sixth seeded Ice Devils.
"I'm not sure if I sure be nervous or excited to play Batavia again", says Notre Dame senior Ivan Madafferi. "It's going to be one of the biggest things I will have a chance to be a part of."
The two teams have already faced off twice this season and split the pair of games. Notre Dame defeted the Devils in Batavia's David M. McCarthy Memorial Tournament 4-1, and Batavia took revenge during the second game and was victorioious 2-1.
"We'll prepare for the game just like we would for any other sectional game", says Batavia senior Will Mulcahy. "For us it helps playing Notre Dame because we always play our best hockey against them, so playing them in sectionals is just a plus". Mulcahy lead the Ice Devils in points during the regular season with 21 goals and 6 assists.
Both Notre Dame and Batavia played in the same division for the season where Notre Dame finished in second and Batavia followed in third. The way the seedings work, more teams join into the bracket for sectionals which gave the two teams the seeding differential and the opportunity to play again.
"We have been preparing for this all season" says Batavia senior Corey Kocent. "Sectionals is a true test to see how far your team has come by season end. At the beginning of the year, we made it clear that we wanted to win a sectional title."
The two teams have not faced each other in sectional play since the 2003 playoffs, where Batavia came away victorious and eventually moved on to the state championship game.
The Irish finished this season with a 12-5-2-1 (W-L-T-OTL) record and Batavia finished at 10-9-1.
Notre Dame has found much success this season with junior goaltender Tom Dehr, who is ranked one of the top goalies in Section V. He finished the season with a save percentage of 91.9% and just 1.92 goals allowed per game.
Although he may be an advantage for the Irish, their tendency to take penalties may be the advantage for Batavia, who was the least penalized team with only 109 penalty minutes, compared to the Irish who had 234.5 this season. To overcome this ND senior Jerod Adams says "we just have to worry about what's going on on the ice and keep focused on not take any bad penalties". "It's going to be key for us to not let the emotions of the building get to us", added Madafferi.
The winner of the game will move on to face the winner of (2)Victor vs (7)Canandaigua.