Feb. 6, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. –
â€¢ The Games: #8/#8 Notre Dame (20-9-1/13-6-1) vs. Ferris State (10-12-4/7-10-3)
â€¢ Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., February 8-9, 2008 â€¢ Joyce Center (2,713) â€¢ 7:35 p.m./7:05 p.m.
â€¢ Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on WDND ESPN Sportscenter 1490 with Mike Lockert calling all the action for the Irish. Television: Friday’s game will be televised live by Comcast Local with Ben Holden and Sean Ritchlin calling the action.
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. Saturday’s game will be streamed live on und.com.
INTO THE HOME STRETCH: The Notre Dame hockey team heads into the final four weeks of the 2007-08 regular season starting this weekend with a pair of home games against the Ferris State Bulldogs on Feb. 8-9. Friday’s game has a 7:35 p.m. starting time and will be televised live by Comcast Local and can be seen in the South Bend area on Comcast Channel 3. Ben Holden and Sean Ritchlin will provided the play-by-play and color commentary. Saturday’s game has a 7:05 p.m. start time and will be streamed live on und.com, the Notre Dame website. The Irish bring a 20-9-1 overall record into the weekend and are 13-6-1 in the CCHA, good for 27 points and fourth-place in the conference standings. Notre Dame trails first-place Miami (34) by seven points, second-place Michigan (33) by six points and third-place Michigan State (31) by four points going into the final eight games of the season. The Irish have a six-point lead on fifth-place Nebraska-Omaha (21) and have two games in hand on the Mavericks. Ferris State visits South Bend with a 10-12-4 overall record and is tied for seventh in the CCHA with a 7-10-3 record, good for 17 points. The Bulldogs are tied with Alaska and have two games in hand. They are one point ahead of ninth-place Northern Michigan (16) and trail sixth-place Bowling Green (20) by three points. The Irish were off last week, facing the U.S. Under-18 Team in an exhibition game on Feb. 1, taking a 2-1 overtime win. Ferris State played at Lake Superior, losing a 3-2 decision on Feb. 1 and then playing to a 1-1 tie on Feb. 2.
IRISH VERSUS BULLDOGS: Notre Dame and Ferris State have already met twice this season, splitting a two-game series at Big Rapids, Mich., on Oct. 26-27. The Irish took the series opener with a 3-2 win on Friday night before Mitch O’Keefe backstopped the Bulldogs to a 3-0 win in the Saturday contest with 37 saves. All-time, the two teams have met 58 times in the series with Ferris State holding a 35-18-5 advantage. At the Joyce Center, the Bulldogs are 19-10-3 with the last win coming on Feb. 23, 2007, a 5-2 win. In the last 21 meetings between the two schools, 16 have been played at the Joyce Center with the Irish going 7-8-1 in those games.
EIGHTH IN THE NATION: Notre Dame’s two-game sweep of Bowling Green on Jan. 25-26 moved the Irish back to eighth in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CSTV polls where they remained this week. Six of Notre Dame’s last 10 games have come against ranked opponents.
REMAINING SCHEDULE: The Irish play five of their fina eight games at home. After playing Ferris State this weekend, Notre Dame travels to Alaska on Feb. 15-16. The Irish then play host to Ohio State on Feb. 22-23 before closing out the season with a home-and-home series with Western Michigan. On Feb. 29, the two teams will meet at Kalamazoo with the regular-season finale set for March 1 at the Joyce Center. Over the last four weeks, the teams the Irish face have a combined 33-55-12 record.
MAGIC NUMBERS: With eight games left to play on the 2007-08 schedule the Irish have their sights set on capturing one of the top four spots in the CCHA to get a first-round playoff bye and home ice in the second round. Here’s the magic numbers (total points needed via Irish wins or opponent losses) for the Irish to clinch the fourth spot.
Team (Pts) Games Magic No. RemainingNotre Daem (27) 8 -----Neb.-Omaha (21) 6 7 pts.Bowling Green (20) 8 10 pts.Alaska (17) 6 3 pts.Ferris State (17) 8 7 pts.No. Michigan (16) 8 6 pts.
EXHIBITION RECAP: Notre Dame faced the U.S. Under-18 team in exhibition action on Feb. 1, taking a 2-1 overtime win. The U.S. scored first in the game as Vinny Saponari scored at the 15:00 mark, just five seconds after a U.S. power play had expired. Notre Dame tied the game at 18:51 on a Garrett Regan (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) goal that was set up by Stewart Carlin (So., Jeannette, Pa.) and Ian Cole (Fr., Ann Arbor, Mich.). The assist was the first point of Carlin’s career. The score stayed 1-1 until the 2:24 mark of overtime when Evan Rankin (Sr., Portage, Mich.) scored off a Christian Hanson (Jr., Venetia, Pa.) setup for the 2-1 win. Notre Dame out shot the U.S., 30-18, with Joe Cannata stopping 28 shots for the U.S. Brad Phillips (Fr., Farmington Hills, Mich.) made 10 saves over the first two periods. Tom O’Brien (So., Mokena, Ill.), playing in his first game ever for the Irish, picked up the win, making seven saves in the third period and overtime. Notre Dame was 0-for-5 on the power play while Team USA was 0-for-6.
20 WINS: With the two victories over Bowling Green (Jan. 25-26), the Irish now have 20 wins on the year. Combined with last year’s 32-win season, Notre Dame now has back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time in the program’s 40-year history.
ON A ROLL: Notre Dame’s two-game series sweep of Bowling Green on Jan. 25-26 gives the Irish a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1) against the Falcons. That streak started with the 2005-06 season. The Irish are also 8-0-0 versus Bowling Green over the last two campaigns.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Two Irish players were honored by the CCHA as players of the week for the week ending Jan. 27. Defenseman Brock Sheahan (Sr., Lethbridge, Alb.) was selected as the conference’s defenseman of the week. Freshman right wing Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) was selected as the CCHA rookie of the week. In the Bowling Green series, Sheahan had an assist in each game, blocked three shots and was +3 while playing a key role in a 12-for-12 penalty-killing weekend. Ryan had two goals and two assists for four points and was +2. He had an assist in the 6-1 win on Friday and then had a career-best three-point game (2 ppg, 1 assist) in the 4-1 win on Saturday night. <>WHAT SLUMP?: After going 0-for-the-last eight games from Dec. 29 to Jan. 19 on the power-play (0-for-38 overall), the Irish found the scoring touch versus Bowling Green, going 2-for-3 on Friday night at the Joyce Center and then 2-for-8 on Saturday at the BGSU Ice Arena. The Irish are currently 4-for-11 (36.4%) over the last two games with the man advantage. For the year, they are 26-for-165 (15.8%).
BAD BOYS: Notre Dame and Bowling Green combined for 51 penalties and 157 minutes in the two-game series last week. On Friday night, the two teams had 23 penalties for 97 minutes with the Falcons getting 10-for-44 and the Irish a season-high 13-for-57. On Saturday, Notre Dame had just seven for 14 minutes while the Falcons had an opponent’s season high of 11-for-46 minutes.
PERSONAL STREAK: Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce snapped his own four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with the Jan. 25, 6-1 win over Bowling Green. He added a second-straight win with a 4-1 victory on Jan. 26. In the four non-wins, Pearce gave up just eight goals in a loss at Northern Michigan, 2-1, a loss at Michigan State, 3-1, a tie with the Spartans, 1-1 and a loss at Michigan, 3-2. In those four games, Notre Dame scored just five goals. Earlier this season, Pearce had a personal seven-game winning streak between Nov. 16 and Dec. 8. During the streak, Pearce was 7-0-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. For the season, Pearce is 16-8-1 with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage with two shutouts.
DEFENSIVE SCORING: Through the first 30 games of the season, Notre Dame’s defense has accounted for 13 of the team’s 95 goals (13.6%), 42-of-149 assists (28.2%) and 55-of-244 points (22.5%). Kyle Lawson (So., New Hudson, Mich.) leads the group with 3-13-16 and is followed by Dan VeNard (5-4-9). Brock Sheahan and Brett Blatchford (So., Temperance, Mich.) each have nine assists for nine point on the year. Ian Cole is right behind them with three goals and five assists for eight points while Teddy Ruth (Fr., Naperville, Ill.) and Luke Lucyk (Jr., Fox Point, Wis.) each have a goal and an assist.
ON THE PLUS SIDE: Senior defenseman Brock Sheahan is one of the CCHA’s top defensive defensemen. As a junior, he was a finalist for the conference’s top defensive defenseman award. This season, Sheahan continues to be a force on the Irish blue line. He is currently +18 for the year to lead the team in that category. He is also tied for seventh in the CCHA with the +18 mark.
SECOND-HALF NUMBERS: Notre Dame’s six-goal outburst (Jan. 25) was the most goals for the Irish in a game since a 7-0 win at Princeton on Dec. 8. The Irish finished the weekend, scoring a total of 10 goals overall. During the second half of the season that started on Dec. 29, the Irish have now scored 24 goals (2.40) while giving up 22 (2.20). In those 10 games, the Irish are 4-5-1. In the first half of the year (20 games) the Irish averaged 3.55 goals per game and were ranked third in the country in scoring. They are now 11th, averaging 3.17 goals-per-game.
SHINNY ANYONE?: On Monday, Jan. 21, Notre Dame’s practice had a different look. The Irish went back to their hockey roots that day as they ventured to nearby Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind., to play a little shinny on the outdoor rink. Complete with temperatures in the single digits, stocking caps, hot chocolate and a great deal of laughter, the Irish spent some time having fun playing the game they love. Smiles were the number one priority and Monday’s practice was a smashing success in that area.
THE PENALTY KILL: Through the first 30 games of the season, Notre Dame ranks second in the CCHA and fourth in the nation killing penalties. The Irish have killed 126-of-140 opponent power plays for an 90.0% success rate. The Irish also are tied for the national lead with Providence and Colorado College in short-handed goals with eight. Over the last three games, the Irish have killed 15 consecutive opponent power-play chances. Over the first 20 games, the Irish led the nation in penalty killing, killing 89-of-96 for a 92.7 % success rate. At the time, they had given up seven power-play goals while scoring seven short-handed tallies. <>VAN GUILDER BREAKS SKID: Senior captain Mark Van Guilder saw his 10-game goal-less streak end versus Bowling Green on Jan. 25 when he scored his ninth of the year in the second period against Bowling Green. His last goal had come on December 1 against Nebraska-Omaha. The senior center has now scored nine of his 38 career goals against Bowling Green. He finished the weekend with a goal and two assists.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD: Through the first 30 games of the season, when the Irish are good, they are very good. In the 20 wins this season, Notre Dame has scored 83 goals (4.15 per game). In the nine losses and one tie, Notre Dame has scored just 12 goals for a 1.20 goals-per game mark. In the 20 wins, the Irish have given up just 29 goals (1.45 goals-against average) while in the nine losses and one tie, they have given up 31 goals (3.10 goals against). The 2-1 loss to Northern Michigan on Jan. 4 marked the first time all season that the Irish lost a game when giving up two goals or less.
ONE-GOAL LOSSES: During the first half of the season, Notre Dame was 6-0 in one-goal games. In the second half of the season, the Irish have seen four of their nine games end in one-goal decisions with opponents winning three of the four one-goal games. For the year, Notre Dame is now 7-3 in one-goal contests.
FIVE-GOALS: Michigan’s five-goal out burst on Jan. 19 marked just the second time in the last two seasons that Notre Dame has given up five goals in a game. The last time came on Feb. 23, 2007 in a 5-2 loss to Ferris State. Under head coach Jeff Jackson, the Irish have given up five or more in a game just seven times in his three seasons (107 games) behind the bench.
HOCKEY HUMANITARIAN: Senior defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill.) was one of 22 nominees for the College Hockey Humanitarian Award that goes to college hockey’s “top citizen”. The list was cut to 10 on Jan. 28 and VeNard did not advance. The Irish alternate captain has been heavily involved in community service work in and around the Notre Dame campus during his career. He also serves as the president of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
HOBEY HOPEFULS: Fan voting has begun for the 2008 Hobey Baker Award at www.hobeybaker.com. Two Notre Dame players are on the ballot – junior right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) and senior right wing Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.).
BUMP IN THE ROAD: Freshman goaltender Brad Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.) saw his four-game winning streak snapped on Jan. 19 in the 5-1 loss to Michigan. The rookie netminder played 35:16 of the game, giving up four goals on 19 shots. In the first four starts of his career, Phillips was 4-0-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average and a .958 with one shutout. His numbers are currently 4-1-0 with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.
IRON MAN: Senior center Mark Van Guilder (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) has his sights set on Notre Dame’s all-time record for most consecutive games played. The record of 153 straight games was set by Tim Wallace `06 who played in every game of his career – 153 straight. Van Guilder has now played in every game of his career – 146 consecutive games played through the first 30 games this year.
CLUTCH SCORER: Ryan Thang’s goal with 38 seconds left versus Michigan State on Jan. 13 salvaged a 1-1 tie for the Irish. The sophomore left wing has now scored four game-winning goals this season and one game-tying goal among his team-high 14 goals. In 71 career games, Thang has scored 34 goal with 16 coming on the power play and 10 of them game winners. His 10 game winners tie him for sixth on the all-time game-winning goals list at Notre Dame.
BALANCED ATTACK: Notre Dame comes into the game with the U.S. Under-18 Team ranked 11th in the nation in scoring with 3.17 goals per game. Through the first 20 games, the Irish were third in the nation, averaging 3.55 goals per game. Despite the ranking, the Irish have just two players on the roster with 10 or more goals this season – Ryan Thang with 14 and Erik Condra with 11. The Irish have accumulated their 95 goals this year with 10 players on the roster having five goals or more.