Feb. 15, 2000
The Notre Dame hockey team (13-15-6, 10-9-5 CCHA) remains on the bubble in its quest for home ice in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament (top five spots), with an upcoming series (Feb. 18-19) at ninth-place Bowling Green (13-15-0, 10-12-0) … the Irish remain fifth in the CCHA, after a 3-1 loss and 7-1 overtime win over Nebraska-Omaha … both games will be aired live by WJVA radio 1580 AM (also available via www.und.com).
ANOTHER BIG TOLL-ROAD TRIP: For the second straight season, ND heads into a late-season game at Bowling Green on the bubble for home ice in the CCHA Tournament … last season, a 5-1 loss at Bowling Green on Feb. 20 set up the showdown series with Northern Michigan the next week (which ended 3-3, 2-1 in favor of the Irish … but the home-ice race still went down to the last night).
QUICK NOTES FROM THE UNO SERIES: Three ND freshmen combined for eight of the team’s 19 points in the 7-4 win over UNO: RW Michael Chin (2G), D Evan Nielsen (1G-2A) and C Connor Dunlop (3A) … those three players had combined for just 29 points in the previous 33 games … sophomore LW David Inman had 2G-2A in the UNO win-the most points in a game by an ND player this season … junior LW Dan Carlson stayed atop the Irish scoring charts (14G-12A) with 1G-1A in the UNO win and has goals in seven of the last eight games … ND’s seven goals in the UNO win are its most in 60 games (since a 9-5 win over WMU on Nov. 20, 1998) while the team’s four PPGs are its most since a 4-for-9 PP night in another WMU game (Oct. 1, 1998, 7-1) … senior C Ben Simon scored in the UNO win (just as the second period was ending), snapping his surprising 14-game goal drought … the split marked the first time in seven series that the Irish did not play an overtime game (dating back to the Dec. 19-20 Princeton series).
CLOSING THE DEAL: ND quietly has laid claim to a lengthy streak, similar to the one held by Michigan until recently (but much shorter in duration) … the Irish have gone unbeaten in their last 37 games when holding a lead at the second intermission (32-0-5, 9-0-2 this season) … the last time ND lost after holding a second-intermission lead was Jan. 9, 1998, in the second game of a three-game series at Alaska Fairbanks … the Irish carried a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation but UAF’s Sean Fraser tied the game with a PPG in the third minute of the final period … Chris Kirwan handed the Irish a tough 3-2 loss, when he converted a breakaway chance with 0:45 left in overtime.
PRECIOUS POWER PLAY: Based on percentage of goals scored on the power-play, Notre Dame possibly has benefitted more from PPGs than any other CCHA team this season (11-8-4 when scoring one PPG, 7-1-1 when scoring two, 2-7-1 when scoring none)… in fact, six of ND’s 13 wins can trace their victory margins to PPGs (including one win from each of the last four series) … the Irish also have lost six games where PPGs helped provide the margin of defeat, but three of those defeats came in the first six games and opposing PPGs have led to no ND losses in the last 15 games … Notre Dame’s percentage of PPGs (36) to overall goals (83) ranks as the third-highest in the CCHA (.434), with 17 of ND’s last 30 goals coming on the PP (.566) … possibly most interesting of all, the only other three teams who rely on PPGs for more than 40 percent of their offense also occupy the bottom three spots in the standings: Alaska Fairbanks (.462), Western Michigan (.446) and Ohio State (.431) … ND is averaging nearly one PPG per game (0.94) but also averages just 1.5 non-PPGs per game … the Irish head into the BG series with PPGs in seven of the last eight games (13-for-58, .224) while the ND penalty kill stopped 15-of-16 opponent PP during the last three games (helping pick up four crucial points) … senior C Ben Simon (5 of 7), junior LW Dan Carlson (9 of 14, plus a 6-on-5) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (5 of 7) each scoring the bulk of their goals on the PP … here’s how the rest of the CCHA shakes out, in pct. of goals scored on the PP: Michigan (.376), MSU (.368), Ferris State (.343), BG (.341), Miami (.381), UNO (30.3), NMU (.286) and Lake Superior (.256).
GOOD THINGS BOUND TO HAPPEN: ND’s 3-1 loss last week at the hands of Nebraska-Omaha marked the ninth time this season that the Irish have lost despite holding the shot edge (31-26) … all told, the Irish are just 8-9-1 when holding the shot edge … ND has outshot its opponents in seven of the last eight games (the other game had equal shot totals), with the Irish owning a 5-2-1 record in those games (and an average shot margin of 36-22).
FIVE ALIVE: Despite being one of the CCHA’s lowest-scoring teams, ND has one of the league’s top-scoring fivesomes, as five Irish players are bunched among the CCHA’s top-40 scorers: junior LW Dan Carlson (14G-12A), senior RW Joe Dusbabek (7G-15A, 29 GP), junior RW Ryan Dolder (7G-13A), senior C Ben Simon (7G-16A, 32 GP) and sophomore LW/C David Inman (13G-7A) … only Michigan (8) has more players with 20-plus points.
NO SUCH THING AS AN EASY WIN: The challenge of a season-long CCHA schedule can be seen in ND’s results versus teams that currently occupy the bottom tier of the standings: three one-goal wins and a tie vs. 12th-place Alaska-Fairbanks, a loss at 11th-place Ohio State, a tie vs. 8th-place Miami, two losses and tie vs. 7th-place Nebraska-Omaha, and two losses to 6th-place Ferris State … weekend sweeps also have been a rarity in series involving the Irish … Michigan and Ferris State swept the Irish early in the season, as did Princeton when ND was missing three key players at the World Juniors … ND has put together back-to-back wins just three times this season (including one three-game win streak), with home sweeps of UAF and WMU.
IRISH WIN IN LAST MINUTE: Dan Carlson’s GWG at Ohio State (with 0:56 left to play) held extra significance, as the first time the Irish have scored a GWG in the final minute of regulation or OT in seven years-since Matt Osiecki found the net with 55 seconds left in overtime to give the Irish a 5-4 win at Kent State on Feb. 14, 1992 … since that time, Notre Dame has been on the losing end of 12 last-minute, game-winning goals (seven of those have come during the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin).
DOUBLE (OVERTIME) DIP: In addition to his last-minute score at Ohio State (2-1, Feb. 5), Dan Carlson earlier had scored two huge goals in the 4-3 home win over Western Michigan on Jan. 21, forcing OT with 1:23 left in regulation before netting the 6-on-5 game-winner in the first minute of OT … his recent timely play makes Carlson just the second player in Notre Dame hockey history-and the first in 28 years-to score two overtime goals in the same season .. junior winger Paul Regan scored OT goals in ’71-’72 vs. Michigan Tech (6-5) and Cornell (5-4).
PLAYOFF POSITIONING: Positioning for the 10-team CCHA Tournament is still up for grabs … Michigan (17-5-1/35 points) has stretched to a four-point cushion on Michigan State (15-7-1), followed by Northern Michigan (14-6-2/30) and Lake Superior (14-8-2/30) … those teams are looking to clinch a crucial top-three finish (which would avoid the 4-vs.-5 play-in game that determines the final semi-finalist, after the five first-round series) … ND (10-9-5/25) remains fifth, followed closely by Ferris State (11-11-2/24), Nebraska-Omaha (9-10-5/23) and Miami (9-10-3/21) … Bowling Green (10-12-0/20) and sliding Western Michigan (8-13-3/19) are looking to hold off Ohio State (5-14-3/13) for the final spot.
FIT TO BE TIED (WITH A NEW SPIN): Head-to-head tiebreakers could be used to determine the CCHA playoff matchups-but they no longer are the first criteria used to break ties in the final regular-season standings … due to the unbalanced schedule in the first-year cluster format, the CCHA schools voted to alter the tiebreaking criteria, whereby total number of league wins would be the first comparison, followed by head-to-head results and head-to-head goal differential … although ND already holds the head-to-head edge on third-place Lake Superior and is just five points behind LSSU, the Irish (10-9-5) have four fewer CCHA wins than the Lakers (14-8-2) … ND also stands four wins behind NMU and five behind MSU while owning the same number of league wins as BG and one more than UNO and Miami (FSU has 11, WMU 8).
CARLSON EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) was named CCHA player of the week-the first Irish player so honored this season-after factoring in all three ND goals in the split at OSU … his PPG in the opening game cut OSU’s lead to 2-1 early in the third period … the next night, he assisted on Michael’s Chin’s PPG for an early 1-0 lead before sending home Chin’s deflected shot with 0:56 left in OT … Carlson sits atop ND’s season charts in points (23), goals (12, six in last six games), PPGs (8) and GWGs (4, one in each of the past three weeks) … ND players have been recognized four times in weekly CCHA awards this season, with C Connor Dunlop (Oct. 18) and G Tony Zasowski (Nov. 1, Jan. 24) earning rookie of the week … just three schools have produced more CCHA weekly award winners: Michigan (8), Northern Michigan (7) and Lake Superior (5).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: ND’s 13 wins have featured eight different game-winning goalscorers … the Irish are 20-7-5 (.703) in their last 30 regular-season home games (three losses by one goal) … the Irish are 32-0-5 in the past two seasons when leading at the second intermission (9-0-2 this season), 20-2-2 when ahead at the first break (8-1-0) … ND’s leaders in GW points: junior LW Dan Carlson (4 GWG-GWA), junior RW Ryan Dolder (2 GWG-3 GWA) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (GWG-3 GWA) … they are the only ND players with more than three GW points this season (15 have scored or assisted on the 13 GWGs ) … prior to the 4-1 first period vs. Vermont, ND had been outscored 13-4 in the 1st this season (now 36-28, with a 27-26 opponent edge in the 2nd, 30-27 opponent edge in the 3rd).
10-POINT SERIES: A pair of Minnesota natives-junior LW Dan Carlson (Edina) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (Faribault)-played leading roles in the sweep of WMU … Carlson converted a scramble 6-on-5 goal with 1:23 left to force OT in the first game before slapping home a PPG from the top of the slot 0:52 into OT … he assisted on Dusbabek’s goal the next day for a 1-0 lead and scored the clinching third goal en route to a 4-1 final … Carlson’s four-point weekend was the first by an ND player this season in CCHA action but Dusbabek bettered him with a six-point series (1G-2A in both games) … he was credited with the first ND goal of the series when his pass deflected off a WMU player (he later assisted on Carlson’s GTG and GWG) … the next night, he opened the scoring with a rocket shot from outside the blue line before assisting on the next two goals.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Despite an 0-4-0 start, ND is 10-5-5 in its last 20 CCHA games (5-3-2 in the last 10) and alone in fifth place, five points out of third … ND ranks 10th in the CCHA for overall goals/gm (2.44), 6th in goals allowed (2.74), 5th in power-play pct. (.165), 7th in penalty-kill pct. (.833) and 1st in fewest penalty minutes/gm (15.79) … freshman G Tony Zasowski’s 2.33 overall GAA ranks 7th in the CCHA (4th among goalies with 850-plus minutes) … junior LW Dan Carlson is tied for 10th in the CCHA with 14 goals (double his total from last season) and is tied for 14th with 26 points … sophomore C/LW David Inman is tied for 15th in the CCHA with 13 goals (he had 10 in ’98-’99) … Carlson also is tied for third in the CCHA with nine PPGs and is tied for second with four GWGs … senior C Ben Ben Simon (7G-16A) is tied for 21st on the CCHA scoring charts.
DISCIPLINED PLAY: ND’s low team GAA (2.69) is due in large part to the Irish being CCHA’s least-penalized squad (7.4 penalties, 15.9 PIM/gm, leading to just 5.6 opp. PP chances/gm) … since ranking as the CCHA’s most-penalized team in ’95-’96 (11.31), the Irish were the least-penalized in ’96-’97 (8.69) and ’97-’98 (6.37) and the third-least penalized in ’98-’99 (8.40) … ND’s more disciplined players include soph. RW John Wroblewski (3 penalties, 24 GP), senior LW Andy Jurkowksi (5, 24 in 104 career games), senior C Ben Simon (12, compared to 30-31-31 in the past three seasons), sophomore C Brett Henning (5, 20 in 62 career games), junior LW Dan Carlson (11, 38 in 107 career games) and junior RW Ryan Dolder (10, 25 in 95 career games) … senior D Sean Molina has 13 penalties this season (39 in 140 career games) … senior D Nathan Borega had just 16 penalties as a sophomore and 13 as junior but has a team-high 28 this season (just one in the last six games) … ND was whistled for 13 penalties in the 6-0 loss at NMU (most in 20 games, since 15 in 4-2 loss to FSU on Oct. 24), leading to 10 PPs.
AROUND THE HORN
* Junior LW DAN CARLSON (14G-12A) remains atop the team scoring charts, with goals in seven of the last eight games (8G-3A) … Carlson-who has scored or assisted on five of Notre Dame’s 13 winning goals this season-is tied for 10th all-time at ND with seven career GWGs (just seven players have totaled 10-plus, with Brian Urick and Dave Poulin sharing the record of 13) … his four GWGs this season (one in each of three straight series before UNO, two in OT) are tied for eighth in the Irish record book … since Dave Bankoske’s record seven GWGs in 1989-90, only Urick (5, ’97-’98) has posted more game-winners in a season that Carlson’s current total … Carlson had 3G-2A in the WMU series, including the game-tying goal in the first game with 1:23 left to play and the overtime game-winner in that 4-3 game … he came back in the next game (2-1) at UAF to record his second GWG in three games (he also scored in the last minute of OT at OSU, 2-1) … Carlson has 10G-7A in the last 15 games while his 14 goals include nine on the PP and one 6-on-5 (he totaled just six PPGs in his first two seasons) … Carlson’s four GWGs are more than his total from his first two seasons (3).
* Senior RW Joe Dusbabek (7G-15A) stands third on the team in scoring, despite missing the OSU series due to muscle spasms … Dusbabek (5G-12A) ranks one point behind as the team’s top scorers in CCHA games … he is tied for second on the team in overall power-play goals (5) … Dusbabek had 1G-2A in both games of the recent WMU series and has 12 points in his last 11 games played (4G-8A).
* Despite going without a point in the UNO series, junior RW Ryan Dolder has 14 points (5G-9A) in the last 19 games (2G-2A in the last six) and is tied for fourth on the team in scoring (7G-13A) … Dolder was recognized by the coaching staff for his emerging leadership by being named the team’s third alternate captain on Dec. 1
* Sophomore LW David Inman (13G-7A) has 6G-4A since returning from the World Junior Championship, including 2 PPGs and 2A in last week’s 7-4 win over UNO (the most points by an ND player in a single game this season) … Inman also recently scored the second goal in the 4-3 win over WMU and had two PPGs in the 3-3 tie at UAF … Inman owns two of the six multi-goal games by Irish players this season (he also had 2G vs. Union, Ben Simon scored twice vs. UMass, Carlson twice vs. WMU and Mike Chin twice vs. UNO) … Inman has 6A in his last 13 games (one in the first 17).
* Freshman RW Michael Chin had 2G in the win over UNO, giving him 4G-4A in the last seven games … Chin’s recent surge has included 3A in the UAF series and 1G-1A in the 2-1 win at OSU … each of Chin’s six goals have come during the last 15 games (he scored the equalizer in the 1-1 tie with LSSU) … Chin (6G-6A) leads all ND freshmen in goals and is one point behind C Connor Dunlop (2G-11A) for most points among the Irish rookies.
* Senior C Ben Simon has 119 career pts (38G-81A) in 135 games … Simon notched his third career two-goal game in the 5-3 UMass win (he has yet to record a hat trick) … he has 16 points (5G-11A) in his last 19 games (five in first 12) and halted a 14-game goal drought in the UNO win (he also had 3A in that series).
* Senior LW Andy Jurkowski has played in a team-best 86 consecutive games … Jurkowski posted the first multi-point game of his career in the 4-3 loss to Princeton (2A) and ranks seventh on the team with 12 points (4G-8A, 2G-4A in 70 games over his first three seasons, as mostly a D) … Jurkowski had an assist in the 4-3 win over WMU to end a seven-game point (he also had an assist at UAF) drought but still is looking to end a 23-game goal drought (he had 4G in the previous 6 GP) … Dolder, Carlson and Jurkowski are the only players to appear in all 34 Irish games this season.
* Junior LW Jay Kopischke has 4G-4A in his last 18 games played (he totaled nine points in his first two seasons).
* Freshman C Connor Dunlop (ND’s top-scoring rookie, 2G-11A) assisted on Carlson’s goal in the 4-1 win over WMU for his first point since returning from the World Juniors … he added his eighth assist of the season in the 3-3 tie at UAF before picking up 3A in the win over UNO.
* Sophomore C Brett Henning picked up an assist in the win over UNO, for his first point with the Irish since Nov. 28 (he had no points in his previous 15 GP, while also playing in the World Juniors).
* Sophomore Sam Cornelius played five games as a fourth-line LW/extra D in mid-December and early January.
FROM THE BLUE LINE
* Senior D Sean Molina’s eight points this season (1G-7A) are a career-best … Molina is tied for fourth on the squad in plus-minus (+1), after ranking second on the ’98-’99 squad (+13) … Molina has totaled just 39 career penalties while playing the most games (140) of any current Irish player (he is averaging 3.6 games per penalty for his career) … Molina is tied for ninth on the 1999-2000 team with a career-best seven assists … Molina scored in the 4-3 loss to Princeton on Dec. 19, for his first career goal … by playing in the final four regular-season games and at least two postseason games, Molina would become the ninth Notre Dame player ever to log 146 career games played.
* Junior D Ryan Clark (from nearby Littleton, Colo.) scored in 3-3 tie at Denver for his first goal of the season and second of his career.
* Senior D Tyson Fraser’s assist vs. UMass was his 50th career point (he now has 7G-45A) and marked his 45th career game with a goal or assist (now 46) … Fraser is tied for sixth on the current Irish team in assists (8) and ranks as the team’s second-leading scorer among D (2G-8A).
* Senior D Sean Seyferth has six points this season (2G-4A) after totaling seven in his first three seasons combined (4G-3A).
* Freshman D Evan Nielsen (4G-8A) moved past Fraser last week as the team’s top-scoring D (he had 1G-2A in the -4 win over UNO) ranks as the team’s second-leading scorer among D … Seyferth is the only other D with multiple goals … Nielsen end a nine-game point drought in the win over UNO (he had 0G-1A in the previous 12 GP) * The Irish senior D foursome of Borega (132), Fraser (123), Molina (140) and Seyferth (59) has combined for 454 career games played … throwing in Clark (81) gives the Irish D a total of 535 games of career experience (568 with Nielsen’s 33).
BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Freshman Tony Zasowski ranks 7th overall in the CCHA with a 2.33 GAA (4th among goalies with 850-plus minutes), which would best the Irish record of 2.58 set by Forrest Karr last season, while sophomore Jeremiah Kimento (3.01) ranks 13th in the CCHA.
* Zasowski has allowed just 32 even-strength goals in 23 games played, including just 11 in his last 11 appearances.
* His 2.19 conference GAA ranks 6th overall (3rd among league netminders with 800-plus minutes).
* He received his second CCHA rookie-of-the-week award after totaling 41 saves and allowing one even-strength goal in the WMU series (4-3/ot, 4-1) … Zasowski is one of four players to earn multiple rookie-of-the-week honors this season, joining Ferris State F Chris Kunitz (3), MSU G Ryan Miller (3) and NMU F Chris Gobert (2) … ND joins FSU, MSU and NMU (all 3) as the only CCHA schools with three-plus rookie honorees this season (freshman C Connor Dunlop was honored on Oct. 18, after assisting on four goals in games vs. Providence and Union).
* Zasowski’s season save percentage (.906) has him on pace to challenge the long-standing ND record of .907 (set by Mark Kronholm in 1970-71).
* Zasowski has allowed 0-2 goals in 14 of his 20 starts and turned in a shutout streak of 130:36, spanning 54 minutes of the 2-1 loss at UNH on Nov. 27 and the first 76 minutes of the MSU series (Dec. 4-5).
* ND’s team GAA of 2.69 is on pace to challenge the team record (2.61, set in ’98-’99).
* Zasowski (19 svs vs. UAF, 24 vs. MSU) is the second ND goalie with two solo shutouts in the same season (Karr shut out OSU and Miami in ’98-’99).
* Kimento posted a 19-save shutout vs. Union, marking the first time that the Irish have shut out three opponents in the same season.
* Zasowski and Kimento combined for 56 saves and three GA in the crucial Jan. 7-8 LSSU series … Zasowski picked up the 2-1 win over LSSU in his first appearance since Dec. 10, making 29 saves and helping stop all six Lakers PPs (he closed the game with 28 straight saves, after allowing an early goal) … Kimento closed the 1-1 game vs. LSSU with 25 straight saves (he totaled 27).
* Junior G Kyle Kolquist made his first career start (and second career appearance) in the 4-2 loss to Princeton, with 21 saves and just one even-strength goal allowed.