Jan. 29, 2015
The Games: University of Notre Dame (10-13-3, 5-4-3) vs. University of New Hampshire (8-14-2, 3-8-1)
Date/Site/Time: Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 – Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022) – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 – Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022) – 6:35 p.m.
Broadcast Information: Radio: Both games of this weekend’s series will be broadcast live on New Country 99.9 FM in South Bend and at UND.com (WatchND). Darin Pritchett, the voice of the Irish, will call the action. Television: Friday’s game will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and WatchND with Mike Monaco and Chuck Freeby on the call. Saturday’s game will air live on NBC Sports Network with Steve Schlanger and Anson Carter calling the action.
Internet: Audio: Live audio streaming for both games against New Hampshire will be available at the Notre Dame website at UND.com (WatchND) and on the WatchND app, both free of charge. Statistics: Available at collegehockeystats.net. Twitter: Follow Irish hockey on Twitter at @NDHockey.
WELCOME THE WILDCATS: After a three-game road trip to UConn and Northeastern, the Irish return home to the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend for a pair of games against New Hampshire. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 6-2-0 but the two Notre Dame wins were the biggest of them all as the Irish claimed wins in both of the NCAA Tournament matchups between the sides. Notre Dame eliminated the Wildcats from both the 2008 and 2011 NCAA Tournaments, the latter victory coming in Manchester, New Hampshire. UNH got some revenge last year when the teams met for the first time as conference rivals and the Wildcats swept the Irish, 4-2 and 5-2, in Durham, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Mario Lucia scored in each game, and added an assist, for a three-point weekend. Vince Hinostroza had two assists in the Feb. 1 contest. This weekend will mark UNH’s first visit to Notre Dame since Nov. 8-9, 1991, when the Wildcats won a pair of games at the Joyce Center.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS: The Wildcats uncharacteristically stand tied for 11th in Hockey East with a 3-8-1 league mark, good for seven points, while posting an 8-14-2 overall record. Head coach Dick Umile is in his 25th season at the helm of UNH and has guided the Wildcats to 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and four Frozen Fours. UNH is led offensively by Grayson Downing’s 14 goals and Tyler Kelleher’s 16 assists and 24 points. Adam Clark has been a mainstay in the Wildcat goal, seeing action in 20 out of the team’s 24 games, posting a 2.94 goals against average and .894 save percentage.
PLAYING WITH POWER: Notre Dame has scored a power play goal in each of its last five games, its longest run since scoring a power play goal in six straight games from Oct. 11-Oct. 26, 2013. Notre Dame has scored six power play goals over the past five games. Nationally, since Jan. 10, only Boston University (seven) has scored more power play goals in than Notre Dame’s six. Michigan, Providence, Vermont and Western Michigan all join Notre Dame with six power play goals since Jan. 10. This five-game, six-goal spurt represents a complete reversal of fortunes for the Irish with a man advantage. Notre Dame scored six power play goals over its first 21 games on the 2014-15 season. The Irish stood at five-for-83 (6.0 percent) on the power play following the Jan. 9 game at Western Michigan and ranked last in the nation. Notre Dame is six-for 23 (26.1 percent) since then.
RANKINGS: Neither Notre Dame nor New Hampshire received any votes in this week’s USCHO.com poll or the USA Today/U.S. Hockey Magazine rankings.
RUSSO RUSHES TO THE TOP: Defenseman Robbie Russo leads all blueliners nationally with 11 goals and is tied for the national lead with 25 points. The 11 goals are three better than his next closest defensive competitors while the 25 points are matched by Union’s Jeff Taylor. His 14 assists tie for seventh nationally as well. 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. Unfortunately, the Irish will be without Russo this weekend due to a Hockey East-imposed two-game suspension from a slashing incident at Northeastern.
MOST 2014-15 GOALS BY A DEFENSEMAN
11 Robbie Russo Notre Dame
8 Joey LaLeggia Denver
8 Dylan Zink UMass Lowell
7 Brock Maschmeyer Northern Michigan
MOST 2014-15 POINTS BY A DEFENSEMAN
25 Robbie Russo Notre Dame
25 Jeff Taylor Union
24 Mike Reilly Minnesota
23 Mike Paliotta Vermont
21 Joey LaLeggia Denver
21 Casey Nelson Minnesota State
MOST 2014-15 HAT TRICKS BY A DEFENSEMAN
1 Robbie Russo Notre Dame 1/18/15 at UConn
MOST GOALS BY A HOCKEY EAST DEFENSEMAN
Since 2002-03 17 Thomas PÃƒÆ’Â¶ck UMass 2002-03
16 Garrett Noonan Boston Univ. 2011-12
15 Ben Hutton Maine 2013-14
14 Colby Cohen Boston Univ. 2009-10
13 Brian Yandle UNH 2004-05
13 Bryan Schmidt Merrimack 2004-05
12 Jeff Dimen Maine 2009-10
12 David Warsofsky Boston Univ. 2009-10
11 Robbie Russo Notre Dame 2014-15
11 Carl Sneep Boston Coll. 2009-10
11 Maury Edwards UMass Lowell 2008-09
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 20th in Hockey East but, impressively, have come on a team which is only +2 in goal differential on the season. Notre Dame has outscored its foes 75-73 this year. Of the 19 players ahead of Russo and Gross, 17 play on either Boston University (+32), UMass Lowell (+23), Providence College (+18) or Boston College (+17), 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.
JACKSON GETS NO. 400: Head coach Jeff Jackson recorded the 400th victory of his career on Jan. 18 when Notre Dame beat UConn, 6-1, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Jackson became the seventh active coach to reach this milestone, but has coached at least five fewer years than each of the six coaches ahead of him (BC’s Jerry York, Michigan’s Red Berenson, Minnesota’s Don Lucia, UNH’s Dick Umile, Mercyhurst’s Rick Gotkin and Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold). Jackson’s efficiency in winning hockey games is remarkable. With a minimum of five Division I seasons, he is tied for the national lead in career winning percentage at .661 and ranks third for averaging 25.0 wins per season.
HIGHEST CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGE
Jeff Jackson Notre Dame .661
Red Berenson Michigan .661
Dave Hackstol North Dakota .653
Don Lucia Minnesota .639
Nate Leaman Providence .631
Dean Blais Omaha .628
Dick Umile UNH .626
MOST WINS PER SEASON
Red Berenson Michigan 25.90 (803 in 31)
Dave Hackstol North Dakota 25.27 (278 in 11)
Jeff Jackson Notre Dame 25.00 (400 in 16)
Don Lucia Minnesota 23.64 (662 in 28)
Dean Blais Omaha 23.00 (368 in 16)
Jerry York Boston Coll. 22.74 (978 in 43)
Dick Umile UNH 21.96 (549 in 25)
NINE WAS FINE: Both Jordan Gross and Mario Lucia posted identical nine-game point scoring streaks which were both snapped on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Northeastern. The identical runs stand as the longest Notre Dame point scoring streaks since Ryan Thang recorded an 11-game streak from Feb. 9 to March 23, 2007. Gross and Lucia both contributed to the scoring on Dec. 5 at UMass and every game afterwards until the second night at Matthews Arena. Lucia had eight goals and three assists for 11 points over the run while Gross had 12 points, coming on three goals and nine assists.
LUCIA LIGHTS THE LAMP: By tallying his 16th goal of the year on Friday night at Northeastern, Mario Lucia moved into a tie for the top spot in Hockey East, matching Danny O’Regan of Boston University who has also netted 16 goals this year. Lucia’s 16 goals tie for fifth in the nation. Lucia’s 16 goals on the year are already just one shy of Bryan Rust’s 2013-14 team-leading sum of 17. With 22 points on his junior campaign, Lucia is tied for 12th in Hockey East.
NOTHING GROSS ABOUT IT: Freshman defenseman Jordan Gross has made an immediate impact at both ends of the ice. His 17 points on the year (four goals and 13 assists) rank second in the nation among freshman defensemen and sixth in Hockey East among all rookies. Gross has done this while maintaining a +10 rating.
MOST 2014-15 POINTS BY FR. DEFENSEMEN
18 Zach Werenski Michigan
17 Jordan Gross Notre Dame
14 Noah Hanifin Boston College
14 Mark Friedman Bowling Green
44 SHOTS: On Jan. 16, during a 3-3 tie, Notre Dame got 44 shots on net through a UConn defense notoriously adept at blocking shots. The 44 shots on goal were both a season-high for the Irish and the most surrendered by UConn in a game this year. The 44 shots are Notre Dame’s most in a Hockey East game and the most in any contest since firing off 45 shots on goal against Lake Superior State on Jan. 18, 2014. The Irish last took more shots in a conference game on Feb. 2, 2013, taking 47 shots during a 2-2 tie at Ohio State in CCHA play.
A LOOK BACK AT NORTHEASTERN
Fri. Jan. 23: Northeastern 3, Notre Dame 2
Notre Dame fought courageously in the third period, erasing a 2-0 deficit, but Northeastern found a way to notch a final strike to lift the Huskies to a 3-2 win over the Irish on Friday night at Matthews Arena in Boston.
The first period may have been scoreless but the ice tilted heavily towards the Northeastern offensive zone as the Huskies enjoyed a 16-5 advantage in shots on goal with Cal Petersen forced to make several difficult saves in the Notre Dame net.
Notre Dame couldn’t convert on a power play that began the second period and Northeastern broke through on the scoreboard 2:36 into the frame as Kevin Roy finished off a textbook tic-tac-toe passing play from the slot, setup by Dustin Darou and Matt Benning. An unlucky 13 seconds into a power play with 6:28 left in the second period, Northeastern doubled its lead. Northeastern peppered Petersen in the net with multiple shots and rebounds. Dalen Hedges found a third-chance opportunity and scored.
Notre Dame broke through on the power play 3:11 into the third period, scoring a power play goal for the fourth consecutive game. Jordan Gross fed Mario Lucia for a one-timer and the second-generation Irish skater fired it home to cut the Notre Dame deficit to 2-1. It was Lucia’s 16th goal of the season, tying for the Hockey East lead. It extended both his point scoring streak and Gross’ to nine games, each the longest for Notre Dame since 2007. Gross entered tonight’s action leading all freshman defensemen nationally with 16 points.
The Irish got the equalizer at 13:15 when Sam Herr fired a wrister through a screen deftly set by Steven Fogarty. Jake Evans and Andy Ryan collected assists on the goal for the Irish. The game remained tied until there was 1:30 remaining. Gross had his stick chopped out of his hands by Roy. The play continued with the Huskies Mike McMurty collecting the puck and suddenly enjoying a two-on-one break. McMurty fed a pass across the ice to Hedges for the game-winning goal at 18:30.
The Irish enjoyed a 13-8 shot advantage in the third period but that did not erase the cumulative effects of the opening two periods as the Huskies outshot the Irish 40-25 on the evening. Petersen made 37 saves, his most since Nov. 7, in a valiant but losing effort.
Sat. Jan. 24: Northeastern 4, Notre Dame 2
Notre Dame saw its power play click better than it has all season, producing a pair of goals on three attempts, but that success was not enough to overcome Northeastern as the Huskies picked up a 4-2 victory over the Irish to complete a weekend sweep.
Notre Dame showed the initial emotion that the Irish lacked in Friday’s loss as Notre Dame peppered the Husky net early and broke through to open the scoring at 10:03. Austin Wuthrich had a shot blocked in front by a Husky defenseman but the puck squirted to Thomas DiPauli who ripped one into the net for a power play goal, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead. Vince Hinostroza picked up his team-leading 18th assist on the sequence.
The Huskies would knot the score at 1-1 shortly before the first intermission and just moments into a power play as Dalen Hedges knocked home his third goal of the series and seventh of the season.
After a scoreless and reasonably uneventful second period, the tide turned in a hurry in Northeastern’s favor once the third period commenced as the Huskies’ Zach Aston-Reese scored goals 10 seconds apart to open a 3-1 lead just 2:16 into the final stanza.
Notre Dame got the first of those two goals back on the power play, cutting its deficit to just 3-2 with 4:41 left in regulation. Defenseman Robbie Russo provided a heavy shot from the point and Anders Bjork was able to pick up the rebound for his second career goal. The assist was Russo’s 25th point of the year. He entered the contest leading all blueliners nationally in both goals and points.
Northeastern picked up an insurance goal though with 2:30 to play when Szmatula carried the puck behind the Notre Dame goal and snuck a tough-angle shot over Petersen’s shoulder and under the cross bar to account for the 4-2 final.