Jan. 3, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. –
â€¢ The Series: #3/#2 Notre Dame (16-3-1/11-2-1) vs. Robert Morris (6-9-1/4-4-0 in CHA)
â€¢ Date/Site/Time: Friday, Jan. 5 â€¢ 8:05 p.m. â€¢ Mellon Arena (16,940) â€¢ Pittsburgh, Pa. Sunday, Jan, 7 â€¢ 4:05 p.m. â€¢ Joyce Center (2,713) â€¢ Notre Dame, Ind.
â€¢ Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Steve Penstone will call the play-by-play action for the Irish.
â€¢ Internet: Irish hockey can be heard on the internet at the Notre Dame website – www.und.com. All Notre Dame home games and all CCHA games are available via gametracker. Video Streaming: The January 7 game versus Robert Morris will be available via Fighting Irish All-Access on the Notre Dame website at und.com. To view the game, the viewer will need to be using Internet Explorer 6 with Windows Media Player 9 or higher.
A BREAK FROM CONFERENCE PLAY: Just one weekend after moving into first place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take a break from conference play as they play a home-and-home non-conference series with the Robert Morris Colonials. Notre Dame will face the Colonials, members of College Hockey America (CHA), in the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase on Friday, Jan. 5 at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena at 8:05 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 7, the Irish return to Indiana to face Robert Morris at the Joyce Center in a 4:05 p.m. contest. Notre Dame (16-3-1 overall and 11-2-1 in the CCHA) comes into the week ranked third in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll (Dec. 18) and second in the USCHO.com/CSTV poll to start the New Year. Robert Morris is now 6-9-1 overall and 4-4-0 in the CHA. Friday night’s game marks the first-ever appearance by the Irish hockey team in the city of Pittsburgh. Sunday’s game at Notre Dame will be available via video streaming on Fighting Irish All-Access on the Notre Dame website at und.com.
STEEL CITY CONNECTIONS: Four members of the Notre Dame hockey team have connections to the City of Pittsburgh. Sophomore center Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) and freshmen Christiaan Minella (Canonsburg, Pa.) and Stewart Carlin (Jeannette, Pa.) are from the Pittsburgh area while senior goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Two former Notre Dame hockey players also have connections to the Penguins as defenseman Mark Eaton plays for Pittsburgh and 2006 graduate Tim Wallace currently plays for Pittsburgh’s AHL farm team in Wilkes Barre, Pa. Hanson and Minella played high school hockey at Peters Township High School and with the junior Hornets before moving on to junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL). Carlin played at Hempfield before moving on to junior hockey in Detroit with the Compuware program and then the USHL.
IRISH IN NHL BUILDINGS: Friday night’s game at Mellon Arena, home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, marks the third game that Notre Dame will play in an NHL building this season. In October, the Irish participated in the Lightning College Hockey Classic at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Irish won that tournament with a 3-0 win over Army and a 2-0 win over Air Force on Oct. 27-28. Should Notre Dame advance to the CCHA Championship weekend, the Irish would play in a fourth NHL building – Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.
STREAKING IRISH: Notre Dame finished the month of December with a 6-0-0 record and has now won 10 of its last 12 games dating back to Nov. 10. The six-game winning streak is the longest for the Irish since a six-game streak from Oct. 2 to Oct. 23, 1998. Notre Dame also has won eight straight home games to start the season. That’s the longest home win streak since Nov. 23, 1990 to Jan. 26, 1991 when that team was in the midst of a 12-game win streak.
IRISH VERSUS COLONIALS: This weekend’s series will be the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Robert Morris. The Colonials are in their third season of Division I hockey and play three common opponents with the Irish.. On Nov. 26, Robert Morris dropped a 4-3 decision at Air Force and on Feb. 15 and 17, the Colonials play a home-and-home series with CCHA opponent Miami.
SICK BAY: The Irish will again be without the services of radio announcer Mike Lockert for this weekend’s series with Robert Morris. Lockert is sidelined due to eye surgery over the Christmas break. His place behind the Irish microphone will be taken by Steve Penstone who is currently the voice of Penn State hockey and handled the play-by-play duties last weekend versus Northern Michigan.
FIRST PLACE IRISH: With an 11-2-1 record in the CCHA, Notre Dame finds itself in first place in the conference with 23 points, two points ahead of second-place Miami, seven ahead of third-place Michigan and eight ahead of fourth-place Michigan State. Notre Dame and Miami have each played 14 conference games while Michigan and Michigan State have played just 13. This is the latest in the season in Notre Dame’s 17 years as a member of the CCHA that the Irish have been in first place. The previous late date was Dec. 8, 2003 when the Irish were tied with Ohio State for first with a 7-3-2 record.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN RECAP: For the third straight week, Notre Dame swept a CCHA series, this time taking 4-3 and 4-2 wins versus Northern Michigan. In Saturday’s game at Ft. Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, the Irish rallied from a third-period deficit for the third time in five games to pull out a win. Third-period goals by Tom Sawatske (Sr., Duluth, Minn.), Christian Hanson (So., Venetia, Pa.) and Erik Condra (So., Livonia, Mich.) wiped out a 2-1 third-period deficit as the Irish prevailed over the Wildcats, 4-3. Previously, the Irish trailed Alaska (1-0) on Dec. 2 before scoring three third-period goals in a 3-1 win and then trailed Michigan, 3-2, on Dec. 10 before getting two in the third for a 4-3 victory. Northern got the game’s first goal, as Ray Kaunisto scored his first of the year at 13:22 for a 1-0 Wildcat lead. Mark Van Guilder (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) answered back at 16:22 with his 12th of the season for a 1-1 tie after one period. Despite being outshot, 17-8, in the second period, Northern Michigan scored the only goal as Nick Sirota scored on a rebound for his sixth of the season at 6:07. The Irish began their comeback at 4:01 of the third when Sawatske’s attempt to hit a streaking Kevin Deeth (Fr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) in front of the net went off a defenseman’s stick past Wildcat goaltender Bill Zaniboni for his second goal of the year. Hanson drilled a power-play goal past Zaniboni at 5:49 for his fifth of the year and the Irish led 3-2. NMU turned an Irish turnover into a goal at 6:06 when Jacques Lamoureaux beat David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) with his first of the year to make it 3-3. Condra then got the game winner at 13:57 when he scored of a Deeth face-off win to the right of Zaniboni. Notre Dame had a season-high 35 shots on goal with Zaniboni making 31 saves. Brown finished with 19 saves on 22 Northern shots on goal. In Sunday’s game at the Joyce Center, the Irish got goals from T.J. Jindra (Sr., Faribault, Minn.), Garrett Regan (So., Hastings, Minn.), Jason Paige (Sr., Saginaw, Mich.) and Van Guilder to take a 4-2 win. Mike Santorelli scored both goals for Northern Michigan. Jindra scored his first goal of the season at 4:22 of the first period to stake the Irish to a 1-0 lead that they would never relinquish. The score would stay 1-0 until the 4:35 mark of the third period when Regan scored on a breakaway at 4:35 for his seventh of the season and a 2-0 lead. Santorelli got No. Michigan back in the game with his 14th of the season at 6:38 to cut the lead to 2-1. The score stayed that way until Paige collected the eventual game winner at 17:09 for his seventh goal of the season. Santorelli scored his second of the game at 19:16 with the goaltender pulled and the Wildcats on a power play. Van Guilder closed the scoring with his team-high 13th of the season into an empty net at 19:51 for the 4-2 final. Notre Dame out shot Northern Michigan, 27-18, in the game. Brown made 16 saves in the win while Zaniboni had 23 for Northern Michigan.
THE PUCK STOPS HERE: Senior goaltender David Brown has now started 15 consecutive games for the Irish and 19 of 20 on the season. The Hobey Baker candidate is 15-3-1 on the season with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. His goals against is second in the CCHA and fourth in the nation while his save percentage is second in the conference and eighth overall.. Brown leads the CCHA and the country in wins with 15 and his .816 winning percentage is third among all goaltenders. Brown and the Irish defense rank second in the nation in goals against, giving up jsut 33 goals in 20 games for a 1.64 average that trails only Vermont (1.62). Brown’s 15 wins are a career-high, passing his mark of 14 set in 2003-04 when he was 14-7-1 on the season. The senior goaltender also recorded his 40th career win on Dec. 31, making him just one of five Irish goaltenders to win 40 in his career. Brown has twice been named CCHA goaltender of the week this season (Oct. 23 and Nov. 6) and was also the all-tournament goaltender at the Lightning College Hockey Classic. This season, Brown has taken over Notre Dame’s all-time top spot for career goals-against average (2.54), save percentage (.913) and shutouts (8). RANKINGS UPDATE: For the ninth consecutive week, the Irish are in the national rankings in both polls. They enter the weekend against Robert Morris ranked third in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll (Dec. 18) and second in the USCHO.com/CSTV polls. Prior to this season, the last time the Irish were ranked was the 2003-04 campaign when they finished the year ranked 12th. Notre Dame was ranked for six weeks that season, including the final four weeks of the year. Week-by-week with the Irish this season:
2006-07 Irish National RankingsDate USA TODAY USCHO.com10/02 ---- ----10/09 ---- ----10/16 ---- RV10/23 11th 12th10/30 10th 10th11/6 9th 9th11/13 6th 5th11/20 5th 4th11/27 5th 5th12/4 5th 5th12/11 4th 4th12/18 3rd 3rd 1/2 no poll 2nd
The last time the Irish were ranked as high as second came during the 1976-77 season when they reached No. 2 on Jan. 31, 1977 and finished the season ranked third overall. Notre Dame hasn’t been ranked often in its 39-year hockey history. During the 1972-73 season, the Irish finished ranked fourth overall in the WMPL radio poll and were ranked for eight weeks during the year. That season, Notre Dame lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA finals. The following year (1973-74), the Irish opened the season ranked second (WMPL) and stayed as high as No. 2 through the first four weeks of the year before dropping out. In 1976-77, the Irish were ranked in the final seven weeks of the season, reaching as high as No. 2 on Jan. 31, finishing the year ranked third in the WMPL radio poll. They lost to Minnesota in the WCHA playoffs in a total-goal series. Notre Dame would not be ranked again until October 26 of the 1981-82 season when they reached 10th but weren’t ranked again. In 1998-99, the Irish spent 16 consecutive weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 16) in both the USA Today and USHCHO.com polls, before falling out at the end of the year. In 2002-03, the Irish were ranked for one week and in 2003-04, they were ranked six weeks in total, including the final four weeks in a row to finish 12th in the USA Today Poll and 13th in the USCHO.com final polls.
FIRST HALF NUMBERS: For the first 18 games of the 2006-07 regular season, Notre Dame was 14-3-1 overall record. After 18 games a year ago, the Irish were 6-11-1 for an eight-game improvement this year. In the CCHA, Notre Dame is 9-2-1. That is a five-game improvement over last year’s 4-7-1 league record. Notre Dame’s +10-point improvement in the CCHA is the biggest among conference teams in the first half. The two closest improvements belong to Alaska and Michigan State as both of those teams enjoyed a +3-point improvement in the conference over last season. At the break this season, the Irish have scored 70 goals while giving up just 28 for a +42 goal differential (+2.33 goals per game). Last season after 18 games, the Irish scored 48 while giving up 61 for a -13 differential (-0.72 per game). This season, the Irish scored 22 more goals than a year ago while giving up 33 goals less than last season at the halfway point. Goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) went into the 2005-06 Christmas break with a 4-8-1 record and a 3.16 goals-against average to go with a .895 save percentage. Since Jan. 1 of 2006, Brown is 18-10-4 with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
THE LAST TIME: The last time the Irish won 16 games in a season was the 2003-04 campaign when they finished the year with a 20-15-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. That team won its 16th game on Feb. 27. Only once in the program’s history have the Irish recorded 16 wins by the 20th game of the season. The first time came in the 1987-88 season when Notre Dame was 16-2-2 after 20 games on the way to a 27-4-2 record.
USA….USA….USA: The Irish will be without the services of freshman defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) this weekend as he finishes up play for the 2006-07 U.S. Junior National Team that is currently playing in the World Junior Championships. Lawson is serving as one of Team USA’s alternate captains and leads Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with two goals and eight assists for 10 points. He leads the Irish and is tied for the CCHA lead with a +15 rating in 18 games this season. Lawson is the 10th Notre Dame player to be selected to the U.S. Junior National Team and the first since Rob Globke `04 and Brett Lebda `04 played for the 2001-02 team. Besides Globke and Lebda, the seven other Irish players to play in the world juniors are: Jack Brownschidle (`76-’77 and `78-’79), Ben Simon (`96-’97 and `97-’98), Joe Dusbabek (`97-’98), Dan Carlson (`98-’99), Connor Dunlop (`99-’00 and `00-’01), Brett Henning (`99-’00), David Inman (`99-’00). Globke was a member of the 2000-01 and `01-’02 teams while Lebda was on the `01-’02 teams.
ON A TEAR: Sophomore left wing Garrett Regan owns a team-best and career-best seven-game point streak dating back to Nov. 25. During his streak, Regan has four goals and five assists for nine points. On the season, Regan is sixth in scoring with seven goals and six assists for 13 points, all career highs. As a freshman, Regan had three goals and four assists for seven points in 30 games.
SHARE THE WEALTH: Through the first 20 games of the season, all but two Notre Dame players – defensemen Wes O’Neill (Sr., Essex, Ont.) and Dan VeNard (Jr., Vernon Hills, Ill.) – have scored goals. Notre Dame has nine players with four or more goals so far this season led by Mark Van Guilder’s career-high 13 goals. Last season, in 36 games, the Irish had just eight players with four or more goals.
THIRD-PERIOD OUTBURSTS: The Irish have entered the third period in three of their last six games trailing by a goal in the third period and have rallied to win each of those games. On Dec. 2, they trailed Alaska, 1-0 and scored three third-period goals. On Dec. 10, the Irish trailed Michigan, 3-2, and scored two goals in the third. On Dec. 30, they trailed No. Michigan, 2-1 and scored three in the final period. Over the last six games, Notre Dame has scored 13 goals in the third period while giving up just five. For the season, the Irish have outscored the opposition by a 29-13 margin.
PLAYING WITH THE LEAD: Through the first 20 games of the season, Notre Dame has played a total of 1209:45 minutes. In those 20 games, the Irish have trailed for just 141:04 minutes (or 11.7% of the time). On the year, the Irish have been in the lead or tied for 88.3% of the time or 1068:41 minutes. That breaks down to being tied for 406:56 minutes (33.6%) and leading 661:45 (54.7%).
SCORING IN BUNCHES: Through the first 20 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored two or more goals in a period a total of 21 times. That includes 11 periods with two goals, eight periods with three goals, one period with four and one with five lamplighters.
TWO WILL DO: Three Notre Dame players paced the Irish to the 4-3 win over Northern Michigan on Dec. 30. Mark Van Guilder, Christian Hanson and Erik Condra each had a goal and an assist for two points in the win. For Van Guilder, the two-point game was a team-best eighth multiple-point game this season. Hanson’s goal and assist gave him his first-ever multiple-point game while Condra now has six games with two or more points this season.
CONDRA CAPERS: Sophomore Erik Condra picked up his seventh goal of the season in the win over Northern Michigan on Dec. 30, giving him a career high in that department. A year ago, Condra led the Irish with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points in 36 games. In 20 games this season, the talented right wing has seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points. He has now scored eight points (2g, 6a) in his last four games, including a four-point (1g, 3a) game at Michigan on Dec. 8. He was selected as the CCHA offensive player of the week with a goal and five assists in the two wins over Michigan (Dec. 8 and 10). The three-assist game was the fourth of his Notre Dame career.
MR. STEADY: Junior center Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) continues to be Notre Dame’s steadiest player as he is tied for the team lead in scoring with 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points and is third with a +12. Van Guilder has been held off the scoresheet just six times this season and he leads the Irish with eight multiple-point games this year. Prior to the series with Alaska (Dec. 2-3), Van Guilder moved from center to right wing and responded with three goals against the Nanooks. He also has a six-game point streak (5g, 4a) since that weekedn. His 13 goals are a career high, surpassing his eight goals of a year ago. In the first 20 games, Van Guilder now has two games with two or more goals and eight games with two or more points. The Roseville, Minn., native now has played in 94 consecutive games in his career. ON A TEAR: Freshman center Kevin Deeth saw his career-best seven-game point streak snapped on Dec. 31 versus Northern Michigan. In his seven-game streak, Deeth had three goals and six assists for nine points. On the year, he is third on the Irish in scoring with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. He ranks third among CCHA freshmen in scoring and is tied for 11th in that category on the national level this season.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: The Notre Dame hockey program was featured – “Puck of the Irish,” – in the Dec. 11 issue of Sports Illustrated. The story was written by Rick Lipsey and covers the fast start in the 2006-07 season by the Irish hockey program.
HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s win over Northern Michigan on Dec. 31 at the Joyce Center gives the Irish a perfect 8-0-0 mark at the Joyce Center. A year ago, Notre Dame was 7-11-3 on home ice. Through the first 20 games, the Irish have played just eight games at home and 12 on the road (three neutral site games).
KID STUFF: Notre Dame’s freshman class continues to have an excellent rookie season. In the first 20 games, the freshmen have combined for 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points, nine power-play goals, three short-handed tallies, six game-winning goals and are a combined +53. Leading the way is Deeth (8g, 12a) with 20 points. He leads the Irish with four power-play goals and is tied for first in the CCHA among rookie scorers. Thang (9g, 8a) follows with 17 points. Four of his nine goals have been game winners, which is tied for tops in the CCHA and the nation. Defenseman Kyle Lawson has two goals and eight assists on the year and leads the team with a +15. Left wing Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.) has four goals and three assists for six points in seven games. On defense, Brett Blatchford has a goal and seven assists for eight points in just 10 games. Christian Minella (1g, 3a) scored his first goal in his first game against Bowling Green and added a two-assists game versus Alaska for four points on the year. The freshman class has accounted for seven of Notre Dame’s 13 game-winning goals (Thang -4, Kissel-2 and Blatchford).
SCORING BY CLASS: Here’s how Notre Dame scoring breaks down by classes this season.
Class (Skaters) Goals Assists PointsSeniors (7) 17 47 64Juniors (5) 16 19 35Sophomores (4) 20 27 47Freshmen (6) 25 41 66Totals 78 134 212
BLATCHFORD BITS: Freshman defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) ran his personal point-scoring streak to a career-high four games (1g, 5a) with an assist in the 4-3 win over Michigan on Dec. 10. In the first game of the series, Blatchford had a career-high three assists in the win, including an assist on Josh Sciba’s second-period game-winning goal. He has now played in 12 games this season and has a goal and seven assists for eight points.
SAWATSKE FOR TWO: Senior defenseman Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.) recorded the first two-point game (1g, 1a) of his collegiate career in the 7-3 win over Michigan. Prior to that game, Sawatske, who played the first two years of his career at Wisconsin, had one point in a game 19 times in 100 career games. He followed that goal with a goal on Dec. 30 in Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Northern Michigan.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) was named the CCHA offensive player of the week for the week ending Dec. 10. Condra had a goal and five assists for six points in Notre Dame’s sweep of Michigan. In the Dec. 8, 7-3 win, Condra scored once and had three assists for a four-point game. In the Dec. 10, 4-3 win, Condra set up a pair of Irish power-play goals. This marked the second time this season that Condra was honored by the CCHA as the offensive player of the week. He also took honors the week of Nov. 13.
FIRST-PERIOD GOALS: The Irish have given up just seven first-period goals this season while scoring 21 of their own in the opening period. Notre Dame has scored the first goal of the game 15 times this year and is 12-2-1 in those games. Versus Michigan on Dec. 10, Notre Dame surrendered two goals in the first period for the first time all season, leading 2-1 after one period. Notre Dame is 10-1-0 when they lead after one period and 4-2-1 when tied after one period.
RED-HOT IRISH: With a 16-3-1 record in the first 20 games, Notre Dame has already passed its win output from 2005-06 when the Irish were 13-19-4. The 16-3-1 start is the best for Notre Dame since starting the 1987-88 season with a 16-2-2 record. After 20 games just one year ago, Notre Dame was 7-11-2. The Irish reached the 16-win plateau in their 20th game this season. That’s the quickest the Irish reached 16 wins since 1987-88 when they started the year with 16 wins in the first 20 games.
GOAL-SCORING MACHINE: Part of the reason for Notre Dame’s fast 16-3-1 start this season has been the Irish ability to put the puck in the net. Through the first 20 games, Notre Dame has outscored the opposition by a 78-33 margin (3.90 to 1.65 per game). The Irish are ranked sixth in the nation in goals-per-game and second in goals-against. The +2.25 margin of victory is second in the nation. Last year, in 36 games, Notre Dame scored just 89 goals (2.47 per game).
TWO-GOAL GAMES OR MORE: Scoring is definitely contagious. Through 20 games this season, the Irish have seen players score two or more goals in a game 11 times. Last season, Notre Dame had a total of seven multiple-goal games, including two hat tricks.
Mark Van Guilder - 3 times10/12 - 2 vs. Minn. St.10/20 - 3 at Boston College12/3 - 2 vs. Alaska
Ryan Thang - 2 times10/20 - 2 at Boston College11/10 - 2 vs. Bowling Green
Garrett Regan - 2 times10/12 - 2 vs. Minnesota State12/10 - 2 vs. Michigan
Kevin Deeth - 1 time10/14 - 2 at Minn. St.
Dan Kissel - 1 time10/21 - 3 vs. Providence
Erik Condra - 1 time11/11 - 2 vs. Bowling Green
Jason Paige - 111/17 - 2 vs. Michigan State
SCORING DEFENSE: In the last nine games, Notre Dame defensemen have scored a goal in seven of them. The last Irish defenseman to get on the scoresheet came on Dec. 30 when Tom Sawatske recorded his second goal of the year in the 4-3 win over Northern Michigan. The Irish defense now has seven goals and 40 assists on the season. Freshman Kyle Lawson (2g, 8a) and senior Wes O’Neill (10 assists) lead the team with 10 points each. Noah Babin (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) with a goal and eight assists follows with nine points. Brett Blatchford has one goal and seven assists for eight points while Sawatske has a two goals and two assists. Dan VeNard (Jr., Vernon Hills, Ill.) has three assists and Brock Sheahan (Jr., Lethbridge, Alb.) has a goal and two assists for the year.
TURN THE PAIGE: Senior center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) is on pace to surpass his career best totals for goals, assists and points this season. Through the first 20 games this year, Paige has seven goals and five assists for 12 points. His previous best season came in 2003-04 when he had 10 goals and six assists for 16 points, all career highs. He recorded the second two-goal game of his career in the win over Michigan State on Nov. 17. His previous two-goal game came on Feb. 27, 2004, in his freshman year against Michigan. He has already surpassed his totals from last season (4g, 1a, 5pts). One of the top defensive forwards in the CCHA, Paige continues as Notre Dame’s top face-off man winning 244-of-398 for a 61.3% success rate.