CEDAR RAPIDS ROUGHRIDERS: Cedar Rapids had a tough start to the season at the USHL Fall Classic, falling to the Lincoln Stars by a 4-1 final on Thursday before getting shut out by the Sioux Falls Stampede, 8-0 on Friday.
Forward Zaccharya Wisdom scored the lone goal for the RoughRiders while Martins Lavins and Connor Smith assisted on the tally.
Bruno Bruveris and Sam Scopa split the pair of games in net for Cedar Rapids, Bruveris playing the better of the two as he stopped 19 of the 22 shots that were put on him.
Cedar Rapids doesn't return any of their top-5 leading scorers from the 2021-22 campaign. Andy Moore is back in Iowa this year as the leading returning scorer after he compiled 27 points (12g-15a) last season while Wisdom will be counted on again after pitching in 23 points (10g-13a) last year.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS: The Michigan State Spartans open up the season by hosting the Under-18 Team on Saturday evening in the state's capital for their lone game of the weekend.
The Spartans come off a 2021-22 season that saw them finish with a 12-23-1 overall record, but a much more impressive 8-10-0 record on home ice at Munn Ice Arena.
Michigan State returns their three leading scorers from last season in forwards Jesse Tucker (2g-24a--26pts), Jeremy Davidson (11g-11a--22pts) and Erik Middendorf (12g-8a--20pts), who is an NTDP alum.
In addition to Middendorf, the Spartans roster a pair of goalies who played at USA Hockey Arena in Jon Mor and Dylan St. Cyr.
Michigan State head coach Adam Nightingale makes his Spartans head coaching debut after being a head coach at the National Team Development Program for the past two seasons. Nightingale, an MSU alum, took the gig after leading the 2022 U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a silver medal at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Landshut & Kaufbeuren, Germany last spring.
The NTDP is 7-10 all-time against the Spartans, dating back to the first ever NCAA contest that the program played, a 6-4 Team USA win on October 3, 2000. Most recently, last year's Under-18 Team shut out the Spartans by a 3-0 final to open the season at USA Hockey Arena.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH: Notre Dame will also kick off its season slate by hosting the NTDP in a Sunday afternoon puck drop.
The Irish return a pair of forwards in Ryder Rolston (10g-17a--27pts) and Landon Slaggert (12g-14a--26pts) who both finished in the top-5 in team scoring last season. Both players are alums of the NTDP, along with forwards Trevor Janicke, Hunter Strand and Justin Janicke, who are all on the Irish roster.
Defenseman Nick Leivermann, who tied Rolston with 27 points last season, leads the Irish blue line after leading the team in assists last year with 21.
In addition to the players, Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson was the original coach of the National Team Development Program from 1996-2000, while assistant coach Andy Slaggert has had three sons go through the program in Graham, Landon and Carter.