Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Hockey Opens Cluster Play At Nebraska Omaha

Nov. 1, 1999

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After earning a 5-2 win and 2-2 tie with Miami, the Notre Dame hockey team (2-5-1, 1-4-1 CCHA) heads west this week for a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series at newcomer Nebraska Omaha, in what will be the first meetings between the teams … the games will be carried live in South Bend by WJVA 1580 AM (also available on realaudio via the Notre Dame athletic web site, at … the Irish will play just four CCHA games in November (and only two home games), with a home series vs. Alaska Fairbanks, followed by a bye week and a trip to New Hampshire for games vs. UNH and Vermont.

BACK ON TRACK: After opening with a mark of 1-5-0, Notre Dame responded last week by taking three points from visiting Miami (5-2, 2-2) … a four-goal second period sparked the first win over MU while a perfect penalty-kill effort (14 for 14) helped hold down the Miami offense in the series … Notre Dame’s 1-5 start included just one player with multiple goals (David Inman, 4) and four games in which the Irish totaled just 0-2 goals … the Irish also experienced uncharacteristic shortcomings on the penalty kill during the first six games (.750, 30-for-40).

LETS GET READY TO CLUSTER: Notre Dame this week opens play in its four-team CCHA “cluster” … the Irish also have first-semester cluster games versus Alaska Fairbanks (Nov. 12-13) and Michigan State (Dec. 4 at home, Dec. 5 at MSU) … due to the new format, the Irish will not play at Michigan, Western Michigan, Lake Superior or Miami while the following teams will not travel to the Joyce Center: Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Ohio State and Bowling Green.

ZASOWSKI TABBED AS CCHA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: The Notre Dame hockey team produced its second CCHA rookie-of-the-week winner in the past three weeks, as freshman goaltender Tony Zasowski (Darien, Ill.) was recognized for his strong series versus Miami (Irish center Connor Dunlop was honored by the CCHA on Oct. 18) … Zasowski made 58 saves in the Miami series while allowing just three goals (5-2, 2-2) … he helped stop all 14 Miami power plays in the series and turned away the first 19 shots he faced on Thursday (en route to 33 total), with 34 shutout minutes … Zasowski became the first freshman to start in net for the Irish since Matt Eisler made his first career start in the second game of 1994-95 … Zasowski faced a steady stream of shots in his first start (12-11-12 by period) while turning away eight power-play shots in that 5-2 win (MU was 0-for-8 on the PP in first game) … in the 2-2 tie, Zasowski made eight saves in the third period and five in overtime.

THEY KNOW THE WAY TO OMAHA: Two Notre Dame players spent their junior hockey days with the highly-supported Omaha Lancers of the USHL: senior LW Andy Jurkowski and freshman G Tony Zasowski … nearly half of the Irish roster is familiar with Omaha, as 12 current Notre Dame players spent time in the USHL and faced the Lancers during the past few years … the other players with USHL ties include senior D Sean Molina (Dubuque Fighting Saints), junior D Ryan Clark and freshman LW Jake Weigand (both from Lincoln Stars), junior LW Jay Kopischke (North Iowa Huskies), junior F Ryan Dolder (Twin City Vulcans) and freshman RW Michael Chin (U.S. under-18 team and Des Moines Buccaneers) … four other Irish players also played for the U.S. under-18 team that competes in the USHL: sophomore C Brett Henning, freshman C Connor Dunlop, freshman RW John Wroblewski and freshman D Paul Harris.

SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS: Nebraska Omaha – which began its Division I history with two independent seasons before joining the CCHA – has opened with an 0-3-1 record, after a pair of losses to Michigan State (2-5, 2-6) and a series at Northern Michigan (0-2, 4-4) … top early scorers for UNO include junior winger Jason White (2G-1A) and sophomore winger Jeff Hoggan (2G) … senior G Kendall Sidoruk has played all 244 minutes in the nets, with a 4.18 GAA and an .871 save percentage … UNO returned 21 of 29 letterwinners from its 1998-99 team that went 11-24-0 … top returning scorers include White (11G-16A) and junior C Allan Carr (8G-14A) … Sidoruk posted a 7-14-0 record last season, with a 3.28 GAA and .888 save percentage.

FRIEND OR FOE?: Several players from Notre Dame and Nebraska Omaha played together on previous teams … they include: Irish senior D Sean Molina and UNO sophomore C Kyle O’Keefe (Chicago Young Americans), ND freshman LW Jake Wiegand and UNO sophomore W Nick Fohr and junior D Ed Cassin (Lincoln Stars), and Irish freshman G Tony Zasowski, UNO junior C Jason Cupp and UNO junior W Billy Pugliese (Green Bay Gamblers).

ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame has posted wins in 20 road arenas during the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin (18 in the past two-plus seasons) … the Irish could add three more arenas to that list: Nebraska-Omaha’s Civic Auditorium, New Hampshire’s Towse Rink and Ohio State’s Value City Arena … the previous two seasons saw Notre Dame post road wins over all 10 CCHA opponents, including a 4-2 CCHA playoff win at Michigan and wins over Ohio State at the OSU Ice Arena and the off-campus Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum … Notre Dame owns three road wins over Wisconsin during the Poulin era, all at different sites: Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, the Dane County Coliseum and the Kohl Center dedication game … the Irish own road wins in the Poulin era at Mankato State, St. Cloud State, Northeastern and North Dakota – plus a 5-5 tie at Boston College … finally, Notre Dame has recent neutral-site victories at the University of Minnesota (vs. Brown) and the University of Denver (vs. Union) … Van Andel Arena is one of just five facilities in which a Poulin-coached Irish team has played but not posted any wins, with the others being: Princeton (two losses in ’96-’97), Boston College (loss and tie), Illinois Chicago (loss in ’96-’97) and the Palace at Auburn Hills (loss to Michigan in ’96-’97).

ILLINOIS GROUP GETS IT DONE: The Miami series was a productive one for members of Notre Dame’s six-player Illinois contingent, including a career-best 3A from senior D Sean Molina (Skokie), assists in both games from freshman D Evan Nielsen (Evanston), a game-winning goal by junior RW Matt Van Arkel (Richton Park) and 58 saves/3 GA by freshman G Tony Zasowski (Darien) … the team’s other Illinois natives include freshman RW Michael Chin (2A this season) and sophomore G Jeremiah Kimento (1-5-0, 3.29 GAA, .870 save pct.) … Notre Dame’s current roster has a distinctly Midwest flair, with six players from Illinois, two from Michigan, two from Wisconsin and one each from Missouri and Ohio (the current Minnesota contingent includes seven players, down from 10 last season, while the current Irish squad includes just three players from Canada, plus one each from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and New York).

LAMP LIGHTERS: Notre Dame last week received some needed boosts to its offense, after graduation losses of RW and team captain Brian Urick (16G-25A in ’98-’99), LW power-play ace Aniket Dhadphale (18-11) and All-America D Benoit Cotnoir (7-18) … senior C/LW Ben Simon (33 career goals, 68 assists) is the team’s most accomplished scorer while sophomore C/LW David Inman has five of the 19 Irish goals this season … Inman has 10 points (8G-2A) in the last 13 regular-season games while junior F Ryan Dolder has six (3G-3A) in the last 12 … freshman C Connor Dunlop it tied for the team scoring lead with six points, including assists on four of the team’s five goals at the IceBreaker … Notre Dame’s trio of junior LWs – Dan Carlson, Chad Chipchase and Jay Kopischke – are due for a scoring breakthrough, as that threesome has combined for just four goals in Notre Dame’s last 24 games … Carlson’s goal in the 3-2 CCHA playoff win over Northern Michigan represented his only goal in 21 games (before his recent PPGs vs. Ferris State and Miami) while Chipchase’s crucial goal in the 1998-99 season finale at Miami (4-2) marks his only goal in his last 22 games … Kopischke has not scored since Jan. 30, 1998, spanning 45 games played … senior RW Joe Dusbabek could provide a huge scoring lift for the Irish, after scoring 13 goals during his big freshman season (he has seven goals, plus 25 often timely assists, in 63 games over the past three years, including a 16-game goal drought that ended with a pair of PPGs in the Miami series) … sophomore C Brett Henning had just one goal in his previous 19 games before scoring in the recent win over Union and the tie vs. Miami while junior RW Matt Van Arkel’s goals vs. Union and Miami have extended his history of strong early-season play (19 of his 25 career points have come before New Year’s Day).

RECAPPING THE MIAMI GAMES (5-2, 2-2, Oct. 28-29): Notre Dame jumped ahead 4-0 en route to a 5-2 series-opening win, with Tony Zasowski making 33 saves in his first career start … Dan Carlson and Joe Dusbabek scored PPGs in a 49-second span while goals by Matt Van Arkel and David Inman capped a four-goal second period for the Irish … Miami made things interesting with goals by Ken Marsch and Matt Medvecz but Andy Jurkowski’s breakaway sealed the win … Sean Molina had a career-best three assists while Evan Nielsen’s heads-up lead pass to Jurkowski yielded his first career point with the Irish … MU used Ian Olsen (9 saves, 4 GA) and David Burleigh (7, 1) in the goal.

The next night, Dusbabek scored on the power play with 12 minutes left Miami’s Mike Glumac nudged home a goal six minutes later for the 2-2 … Miami jumped out to an early 1-0 lead (on a goal by Medvecz) and enjoyed a 27-20 edge in shots, but Zasowski made 25 saves (eight in the third period, five in OT) .. ND tied the game the equalizer at the midpoint of the second period, on a goal by Brett Henning … a strong effort by Nielsen set up Dusbabek’s goal, with Nielsen swiping a pass from the side of the net as he was being taken down from behind.

MIAMI POSTGAME NOTES: The struggling Irish penalty kill (.750 in first six games) responded with a 14-for-14 series vs. Miami … Tony Zasowski made 58 saves in the series (3 GA) … Zasowski became the first freshman to start in goal for the Irish since Matt Eisler, who made his first start in the second game of ’94-’95 … senior RW Joe Dusbabek ended a 16-game goal drought by scoring a PPG in each game of the series … Dusbabek also had an assist in the 5-2 win and has 5G-2A in eight career games vs. Miami (he has 30 points in 75 games vs. the rest of the CCHA) … Notre Dame has scored just one first-period goal this season (vs. Union) while allowing eight … freshman D Evan Nielsen turned in a pair of strong individual efforts for his first two career points with the Irish (he assisted on goals in both games) … versatile senior LW Andy Jurkowski (who has moved back to forward after playing most of ’98-’99 at D) is riding a career-best, three-game point streak (he had a goal and assist vs. Miami) … two of the last three ND-Miami games have gone to overtime (MU won 3-2 in OT at home last season). … Notre Dame’s last seven OT games have produced six ties and one loss (0-1-5 in 1998-99). … Notre Dame is 3-1-2 in its last six games vs. Miami … eight of Notre Dame’s 19 goals have come on the PP … Notre Dame also had a four-goal second period in its previous game vs. Miami (4-2 win in regular-season finale) … sophomore LW David Inman’s five goals this season represent half of his total from ’98-’99 (10) … senior D Sean Molina had a career-best 3A in the 5-2 win (including the lone assist on junior RW Matt Van Arkel’s game-winner), for the third multi-point game of his career … Van Arkel has totaled 19 of his 25 career points before New Year’s Day … the 5-2 win over Miami represented Notre Dame’s biggest night on offense in 17 games, since a 5-2 win over Alaska Fairbanks on Feb. 6, 1999.

DUNLOP MAKES EARLY MARK: Notre Dame freshman C Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) was named CCHA rookie of the week on Oct. 18, after assisting on four of Notre Dame’s five goals (including all three power-play goals) in the IceBreaker Tournament … Dunlop had the primary assists on third-period goals by Matt Van Arkel and Brett Henning that helped clinch the win over Union (4-0) while also assisting on David Inman’s first goal in that game … Dunlop then assisted on Tyson Fraser’s PPG in the 2-1 loss to Providence and had a shorthanded goal in the 5-3, season-opening loss to Michigan (becoming the first Irish freshman to score in a CCHA opener since Brian Urick’s four-goal game in the 7-4 win at UAF in ’95) … Dunlop leads the Irish with six points this season (he assisted on Joe Dusbabek’s PPG for a 2-1 lead on Miami, with the game ending 2-2).

SCHEDULE OF CHAMPIONS: Notre Dame’s ’98-’99 schedule included five teams that combined for seven of the NCAA titles in the 1990s: Wisconsin (’90), Northern Michigan (’91), Lake Superior (’92, ’94), Michigan (’96, ’98) and North Dakota (’97) … the Irish did not face recent NCAA champs Maine (’93, ’99) or Boston University (’95) in ’98-’99 but could play Maine this season, at the Denver Cup.

SIMON REACHES 100: Notre Dame senior C Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, Ohio) has earned preseason CCHA “player of the year” honors from Hockey News … Simon registered a goal and assist in the season-opening Michigan series, giving him 100 points (32G-68A) in 111 career games … Simon (18G-24A), whose junior-year goal total surpassed his first two seasons combined (13), scored three game-winning goals as a junior while assisting on seven others (including the 3-2 win over Michigan) … he also scored game-tying goals in ’98-’99 vs. Michigan and Michigan State (both 2-2) … Simon is the fourth Irish player to reach 100 points in the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin, joining ’96 graduate Jamie Ling (51-102) and ’99 grads Brian Urick (57-69) and Aniket Dhadphale (61-44) … Simon needs 18 more goals to become the 29th Notre Dame player ever to total 50-plus goals and 50-plus assists … he is 31 points shy of cracking Notre Dame’s top-20 career scoring list and needs 29 more assists to crack that top 10 list.

PP PERSONNEL: Graduation took its toll on the vaunted Notre Dame power play but three crucial PP performers return while others are poised to boost their contributions. Three ’99 grads – RW Brian Urick (16-25), LW Aniket Dhadphale (18-11) and D Benoit Cotnoir (7-18) – played key roles in the ’98-’99 Irish power play that ranked second in the CCHA (19.1 pct.), with that trio collecting a combined 42 points on the PP: Cotnoir (3 PPG-8 PPA), Dhadphale (9-5) and Urick (6-11). Those three combined for nearly half of the Irish PPGs in ’98-’99 (18 of 38, .474) while totaling 42.9 percent of the PP points (42 of 98). Cotnoir set up PPGs by 17 different Irish teammates in his career and totaled 36 career PP assists and 10 PPGs (accounting for 53 pct. of his 88 career points). Senior C Ben Simon (5 PPG/8 PPA in ’98-’99) is back as the team’s go-to player in man-up situations while two of the top PP point men in the CCHA also return: senior D Tyson Fraser (8 PPA in ’98-’99) and junior LW Dan Carlson (3 PPG-9 PPA).

FRONT & CENTER: Notre Dame continues to explore its options due to a talented four-player crowd at center. The Irish moved sophomore David Inman to the left wing of the first line for the season-opening Michigan series while Inman returned to second-line center at the IceBreaker. Senior Ben Simon skated at first-line left wing in the Providence game, alongside freshman C Connor Dunlop and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (Simon did not play in the Union game). Sophomore Brett Henning has centered the third line for most of the season, as he did for most of 1998-99. … in the Ferris State series, Simon centered a line with Inman on the right wing while the Miami series saw Simon on the right wing of the first line (with Dunlop at center) and Inman on the left wing of the second line (alongside Henning).

HOMESTANDERS: In its last 24 regular-season home games, Notre Dame is 15-5-4 with an 89-51 scoring edge (two 7-1 wins, one 9-5 win) … Notre Dame’s last 15 home wins have included 10 by three goals or more … despite opening the ’98-’99 season with a 10-0-2 mark at home, the Irish are just 3-5-2 in their last 10 home games (including the CCHA playoff series with Northern Michigan) and have been outscored 32-24 in those games.

TOUGH SLATE: Notre Dame’s 39-game, regular-season schedule includes as many as 21 different opponents, with as many as 14 games vs. teams that qualified for the 12-team NCAAs in 1999. Remaining home opponents include Michigan State (Dec. 4, March 3), Massachusetts (Dec. 10-11) and Princeton (Dec. 19-20). … The road schedule includes a pair of conference games at Michigan State (Dec. 5, March 4) and Ohio State (Feb. 4-5) and the long trip to Alaska Fairbanks (Jan. 28-29). … The Irish will play several noteworthy tournaments, including the Norwest Denver Cup (Dec. 31-Jan. 1), with defending national champ Maine and perennial power Colorado College. Notre Dame will spend Thanksgiving weekend in the northeast, with games at the University of New Hampshire versus UNH and Vermont (Nov. 27-28).

SCHEDULE CLARIFICATIONS: Fans and media should be aware of the following adjustments to earlier, non-official versions of the Irish schedule. … Notre Dame will spend the Thanksgiving weekend in the northeast, with a game at New Hampshire on Sat., Nov. 27 (5:00 p.m), followed by a Sun. afternoon game vs. Vermont (at UNH), at 2:00 p.m. … The Irish added a series vs. Princeton, after the end of finals week. Those games will be held at the Joyce Center, on Sunday, Dec. 19, and Monday, Dec. 20. … The Denver Cup is slated for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 (previous schedules may have indicated earlier dates). The Irish are scheduled to play on New Year’s Eve vs. DU at 7:35 p.m., with a New Year’s Day game vs. Colorado College or Maine (4:35/7:35).

TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Six recent members of the Notre Dame hockey program – including ’99 graduates Benoit Cotnoir, Aniket Dhadphale, Forrest Karr and Brian Urick – currently are pursuing their careers in pro hockey. Urick signed with the Edmonton Oilers and reported to the Hamilton (Ont.) Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. Dhadaphale and Matt Eisler (’98) made the opening-day roster with the Greensboro (N.C.) Generals in the East Coast Hockey League while Cotnoir made the roster of the ECHL’s Mobile (Ala.) Mystics. Karr was among the final cuts for the Mystics, after former Michigan State goalie Chad Alban was sent back down to Mobile (Karr currently is trying to catch on with another team). Defenseman Mark Eaton – who in the summer of ’98 opted to forego his final three years at Notre Dame and signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers – had a solid ’98-’99 season with the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms and is considered to be one of the top young prospects in the Flyers organization (he made the Flyers’ opening-day roster).

Academics Job One: The Notre Dame hockey team posted a 3.10 team GPA in the spring of ’99 semester while the program held a 3.00 cumulative team GPA at the end of the ’99 spring … nine players on the ’98-’99 team posted at least one Dean’s List semester (3.4 GPA or higher), including two who made the Dean’s List in both the fall of ’98 and the spring of ’99. The four returning players who turned in Dean’s List semesters in ’98-’99 are: senior D Andy Jurkowski (both semesters), sophomore F David Inman (both semesters), junior LW Dan Carlson (spring ’99) and senior D Tyson Fraser (fall ’98). … The six-member class of ’99 graduated with an average cumulative GPA of 3.30, led by Forrest Karr’s Academic All-America showing (3.70 cumulative GPA) and Aniket Dhadphale’s 3.43. Both Karr and Dhadphale were named to the prestigious six-player CCHA all-academic team. … Notre Dame hockey players have combined to post nine perfect 4.0 semesters in the past five years, including one by Jurkowski in the fall of ’97. … Top Academic All-America candidates for 1999-2000 include Jurkowski (3.83 cumulative GPA), Carlson (3.42) and Inman (3.60). … Steve Noble graduated in the spring of ’98 with a 3.956 cumulative GPA (five 4.0 semesters, 34 A’s, three A-‘s, one B+) as a finance major, ranking second in the College of Business Administration. Noble twice earned Academic All-America honors for men’s fall and winter “at-large sports” and was first runner-up for the 1998 national Hockey Humanitarian Award.