Feb. 13, 2015
GIVE ME PROVIDENCE: The No. 10/11 Providence College Friars come to the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend for games on Friday and Saturday nights. Notre Dame stands at 4-2-1 all-time against the Friars and 1-0-1 in the Hockey East era. Last year the Irish claimed a 3-0 win and battled to a 2-2 tie at the Friars’ Schneider Arena over this same weekend (Feb. 14-15). Goalie Steven Summerhayes was Notre Dame’s star of the weekend, making 47 saves in the 2-2 tie and 36 saves in the shutout victory. The Friars came to the Joyce Center Oct. 15-16, 2009, with the sides splitting a pair of games. Notre Dame claimed wins over the Friars in Providence during both the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons in single meetings. The two teams faced off for the first time in Denver during the 1999 Ice Breaker Tournament with Providence claiming a 2-1 win.
ABOUT THE FRIARS: Providence stands in fourth-place in the Hockey East standings, just one point ahead of fifth-place Notre Dame in what could prove to be a pivotal weekend for each side in the race to earn a topfour seed and coveted first round bye for the Hockey East tournament. PC took three points out of a homeand- home series against UConn last weekend, tying the Huskies, 2-2, on Wednesday night in Hartford but drubbing UConn, 10-1, on Saturday night in Providence. Five Friars have at least 20 points so far in 2014-15, led by Nick Saracino (10-17-27) and Trevor Mangoia (13-13-26). Jon Gilles has been a mainstay in the Friar net, appearing in 26 of Providence’s 28 games and posting a 2.00 goals against average and .933 save percentage, ranking ninth in the nation.
RUSSO NAMED CAPTAIN: Formalizing a leadership role that senior defenseman Robbie Russo has undertaken all season with his freshman-laden positional group, Notre Dame head hockey coach Jeff Jackson announced on Feb. 12 that the Westmont, Illinois native will serve as a team captain for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. Russo joined team captain Steven Fogarty and alternate captains Sam Herr and Peter Schneider in this new position guiding his peers. “Robbie’s been a leader for our team the whole season and I thought it was time that he got the opportunity to be recognized for that leadership,” Jackson said. “He’s done a great job with our young blue line. He’s had an All- America type of year, but it’s not just based on his performance. It’s based on the fact that he’s taken charge of this team and times, put them on his back at times and shown some character. His attitude has been extremely positive and he’s well-respected in the locker room.”
RANKINGS: Notre Dame did not receive any votes in this week’s USCHO.com poll or the USA Today/U.S. Hockey Magazine rankings. The Friars are ranked 11th and 10th, respectively, in those polls.
RUSSO RUSHES TO THE TOP: Defenseman Robbie Russo leads all blueliners nationally with 11 goals and is fifth in the nation with his 25 points. The 11 goals are two better than his next closest defensive competitors. Russo’s 11 goals are already the ninth-most for an entire season by a Hockey East defenseman since 2002-03. He has the only hat trick in the country this year for a blueliner and the only one in Hockey East since at least the 2011-12 season.
PLAYING WITH POWER: Notre Dame’s power play unit sprang to life beginning with the Jan. 10 game against Western Michigan. The Irish scored a power play goal in eight consecutive games from that evening on – its longest streak since opening the 2011 season with a run of eight consecutive games scoring on the power play. That streak was snapped Saturday, Feb. 7 at Maine, partly for a lack of opportunities. Notre Dame was awarded just one full power play in the game, along with an abbreviated one over the final 25 seconds of the contest, leaving the Irish zero for two on the night. Notre Dame has scored 10 power play goals since the streak began on Jan. 10. Nationally, the 10 goals ties Minnesota for the fifth-most during this span. Only Boston University (14), Michigan Tech (12), Minnesota State (11) and Vermont (11) have scored more power play goals since Jan. 10 than Notre Dame.
ON THE PLUS SIDE OF THINGS: Often paired together, Notre Dame defensemen Robbie Russo and Jordan Gross both have +10 ratings on the 2014-15 season. Those individual +10 mark ties for 23rd in Hockey East but, impressively, have come on a team which is only +5 in goal differential on the season. Notre Dame has outscored its foes 91-86 this year. Of the 22 players ahead of Russo and Gross, 21 play on either Boston University (+40), Providence College (+26), Boston College (+19) or UMass Lowell (+18), all of which have far more significantly outscored their opponents this year affording its players an easier opportunity to have such lofty plus/minus ratings.
“VENI VIDI VICI” – VINNY: Vince Hinostroza came to Maine, saw the ice and conquered the score sheet as he picked up three points and the Army ROTC first star of the game accolade in both of Notre Dame’s contests at Main, Feb. 6-7. Hinostroza set up three goals in the 4-4 tie on Friday night, each of which either tied the game or gave the Irish the lead. It marked his second three-assist game of the year. No Notre Dame skater has had four assists in a game since Stephen Johns against Canisius on Dec. 29, 2010. Saturday night saw Hinostroza score twice and add an assist in Notre Dame’s 5-1 win. With 25 assists on the year, Hinostroza is tied for third in both the nation and Hockey East. Only Jack Eichel (28) and Evan Rodrigues (28), both of Boston University, can top the Irish sophomore’s 25 helpers.
LUCKY SEVEN FOR VINCE: Vince Hinostroza is currently riding a seven-game point scoring streak, including four multiple-point games. Hinostroza has accumulated 14 points (three goals and 11 assists) since the streak began at UConn on Jan. 18. Over that span, he ranks second nationally in points, trailing only Boston University’s Evan Rodrigues (18).
LUCIA LIGHTS THE LAMP: By tallying his 18th goal of the year on Friday night at Maine, Mario Lucia moved into a tie for the top spot in Hockey East, matching Danny O’Regan and Ahti Oksanen, both of Boston University. Lucia’s 18 goals tie for sixth in the nation. Lucia’s 18 goals on the year are the most by an Irish skater since Anders Lee’s 2012-13 team-leading sum of 20. With 25 points on his junior campaign, Lucia is tied for 12th in Hockey East.
PETERSEN GETS WEEKLY HONOR: Goaltender Cal Petersen has been named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts last week at Maine in which he allowed just one goal over a span of 85 minutes on the ice. (0.71 goals against average) while stopping 43 of the 44 shots he faced for a .977 save percentage. Petersen entered a wild 4-4 game on Friday night after two periods and helped settle down play. Petersen blocked all 10 shots he faced in the third period and overtime to help the Irish maintain their road point. On Saturday night, Petersen picked up his seventh win of the year by making 33 saves and yielding just a single first period goal in Notre Dame’s 5-1 win over the Black Bears. Petersen leads all freshman goaltenders in Hockey East with his 2.63 GAA on the season.
NOTHING GROSS ABOUT IT: Freshman defenseman Jordan Gross has made an immediate impact at both ends of the ice. His 22 points on the year (five goals and 17 assists) rank first in the nation among freshman defensemen and tied for fifth in Hockey East among all rookies. Gross’ 17 assists are tied for fourth overall by a freshman of any position. Only Boston University’s Jack Eichel (28), Michigan’s Dylan Larkin (21) and Denver’s Danton Heinen (19), all forwards, have assisted on my goals this year among freshmen. Gross’s 17 assists are four ahead of the next closest freshman blueliners, Werenski and Mark Freidman of Bowling Green, both of whom have 13 assists this year. Gross has done this while maintaining a +10 rating.
A FUN FEBRUARY TO COME?: Notre Dame’s on-ice success has varied widely by month but, if the alternating rhythm continues, the 1-0-1 weekend at Maine may be a harbinger of good fortune in February. After starting the season with a 5-2-0 mark in October, the Irish fell on hard times in November, turning in a 1-6-2 record. Notre Dame rebounded to go 3-1-0 in December, but slumped back in January, posting a 2-5-1 record.