Oct. 6, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team held its annual media day after practice on Tuesday afternoon at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The Irish will open the 2015-16 season this weekend by playing host to the University of Guelph in an exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 9 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The game will be streamed live through NBCSports.com.

Notre Dame will then play a second exhibition game against the USNTDP U-18 team on Sunday, Oct. 11 at the newly named U.S. Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.

Notre Dame is 2-1-0 against Guelph in three all-time meetings and 3-1-1 all-time against the USNTDP U-18 team. In the most recent meetings, the Irish opened the 2013-14 season with a 5-2 victory over Guelph (Oct. 6) and opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 1-1 overtime tie versus the USNTDP U-18 squad (Oct. 7).

News, Notes and Quotes
— Over a dozen local media members were in attendance and in addition to Jackson, members of the media spoke with senior captain Steven Fogarty, senior alternate captains Thomas DiPauli, Sam Herr, Mario Lucia and Andy Ryan as well as sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen.

— Head Coach Jeff Jackson on this season’s senior leaders …
“This year we have a returning captain [Steven Fogarty], a returning alternate captain [Sam Herr], and I just decided that this class has been so good over the last three years that I basically just named the entire class captains. So, there are five and that’s kind of high, but Andy Ryan and Mario Lucia they bring different elements to the leadership. I think Tommy DiPauli is the heart of the leadership [group] and Steven Fogarty is the voice. They have great relationships with each other and I think they are capable of leading by committee.”

— When asked about senior forward Mario Lucia’s decision to finish out his four years at Notre Dame (versus turning pro), Jackson noted some of the reasons Lucia decided to stay were that Lucia learned to love Notre Dame and he also built a special bond with his classmates.

— Jackson noted that one of the reasons he plays Guelph in exhibition games is because the Gryphons’ head coach is Shawn Camp, who was an assistant on Jackson’s Guelph Storm staff (2000-03).

— Jackson on the upcoming exhibition against Guelph …
“For us it’s about evaluation. We want to evaluate some of the young guys, line combinations, power play combinations, defensemen pairs. It’s a good tune up for us as far as getting our game legs and hitting someone other than ourselves. Playing Guelph is like playing some of our college teams because they are going to be older, and physically more mature.”

— Jackson announced that freshman defenseman Bobby Nardella and junior forward Ali Thomas have been sidelined with lower body injuries and are expected to miss some time to start the season.

— Jackson on expectations of the freshmen and having a younger team …
“They seem to be adjusting rather well. I don’t see any of them sticking out in a negative way right now, which is a good thing. We still have 16 underclassmen on this team. That isn’t an excuse, it is a reality. Some of the best teams I’ve ever had were young teams.”

— Changing roles: Jackson said that Lucia might get some penalty kill time this season because he has such a good stick and he also noted that Fogarty has a lot more offense in him than he has shown in his first three seasons and that Fogarty could end up playing on a line with Lucia.

— The Irish open the 2015-16 regular season with a weekend series at Penn State (Oct. 16-17), marking the first time Notre Dame and Penn State are meeting since Penn State became a NCAA Div. I program (2012-13). The Irish did play the Nittany Lions four times between 1984 and 1985, posting a 3-0-1 record in those four games.

— It will be the first time Notre Dame is opening a season away from Notre Dame, Indiana since the 2012 Ice Breaker Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. With that tournament including neutral site wins over Maine and Nebraska Omaha, the last time the Irish had true back-to-back road games to open a season was in 2011 when they split a series at Minnesota Duluth.

— Also today, the Notre Dame Athletics Department announced a new student ticket policy for the upcoming men’s basketball and hockey seasons that will allow students to receive free tickets when they register in advance (more details here).

— by Dan Colleran, Athletics Communications Associate Director