March 9, 1999
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame freshman center David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) has been named to the 1998-99 Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie Team, in addition to earning CCHA Rookie of the Week Honors after playing a major role in last weekend’s series at Miami University.
Inman was one of four forwards named to the seven-player rookie team, due to a tie in the voting, marking just the second time that the CCHA All-Rookie Team has consisted of seven players. The other seven-player rookie team came in 1993-94, when three defensemen (Andy Roach of Ferris State and Harold Schock and Blake Sloan of Michigan) were chosen.
Notre Dame has produced an all-rookie team selection in each of the past three seasons and four times overall since rejoining the CCHA in 1992-93. Previous Irish players named to the CCHA all-rookie team include center Jamie Ling (’92-’93), right wing Joe Dusbabek (runner-up for ’96-’97 CCHA rookie of the year) and defenseman Mark Eaton (the ’97-’98 CCHA rookie of the year).
Michigan goaltender Josh Blackburn is the only 1998-99 all-rookie team selection who has been drafted by an NHL team (Phoenix, 1998, 5th round, 116 overall). Five members of the all-rookie team, including Inman, are listed by the NHL’s Central Scouting department as top prospects for the 1999 NHL Draft.
Just four teams placed players on the all-rookie team, led by two from regular-season champion Michigan State-forward Adam Hall and defenseman Jason Crain-and three from runner-up Michigan (Blackburn, center Mike Comrie and defenseman Jeff Jillson). A player from Notre Dame’s upcoming opponent-Northern Michigan forward Chad Theuer-rounds out the all-rookie squad. Jillson and Blackburn were the only unanimous selections in the voting.
Blackburn is the only all-rookie selection who has been drafted by an NHL team (Phoenix, 1998, 5th round, 116th overall). Five others – Comrie, Inman, Hall, Jillson and Crain – are listed by the NHL’s Central Scouting as top prospects for the 1999 NHL Draft.
Selections were based on league statistics and coaches could not vote for their own players. The rookie team will be honored at the 1999 CCHA Awards Banquet on March 18, at The Second City in Detroit.
Inman finished fourth among CCHA freshmen in league (8G-8A) and overall (10-10) scoring. The second-line Irish center for most of the season, Inman finished the regular season with four power-play goals and two game winners. He closed out the season with three goals and two assists in the final five games. His season statistics included 99 shots on goal (for a .101 shooting pct.), 28 penalties, a team-high 72 penalty minutes and a +2 plus-minus rating.
Inman also was named CCHA rookie of the week after totaling three points in the weekend series at Miami. Inman scored the first goal (on the power play) to spark Notre Dame’s late comeback in Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the RedHawks. He then scored a second-period, power-play goal that held up as the game-winner on Saturday (4-2) before assisting on a Matt Van Arkel goal that gave the Irish a 4-0 lead.
Notre Dame players earned seven weekly awards during the 1998-99 regular season (third-most behind MSU’s nine and Michigan’s eight) while the Irish joined Bowling Green and MSU as the only teams that produced six different CCHA award winners.
Notre Dame and Bowling Green were the only CCHA teams that produced two different winners for each of the three weekly awards (offensive player, defensive player and rookie). The other Irish award winners included senior goaltender Forrest Karr (Oct. 11, Jan. 10), senior right wing Brian Urick (Oct. 11), junior center Ben Simon (Nov. 15), freshman center Brett Henning (Jan. 17) and senior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir (Feb. 7).
Comrie (Edmonton, Alb.) led CCHA freshmen in goals, assists and points in both overall (17-22) and league (13-20) games while finishing sixth among all players in league scoring and seventh overall. He finished with a team-best +18 overall plus/minus rating. … Hall (Kalamazoo, Mich.) led CCHA freshmen with four game-winning goals and was second among freshmen in league goals with 10. He led all MSU freshmen in overall (10-5-15) and league (10-4-14) scoring. … Theuer (Clarkston, Mich.) led all NMU freshmen in overall (8-17) and league (6-13) scoring, placing him second among CCHA freshmen overall games and third in league games. He finished second on the team with 14 power-play points (3-11) and led NMU with 10 points (3-7) during a midseason eight-game unbeaten streak.
Jillson (North Smithfield, R.I.) ranked first in league (5-15) and overall (5-16) scoring among freshmen defenseman. He was second among Michigan blueliners in league and overall scoring and second on the team in overall plus/minus with a +17. Among his five goals were two power-play tallies and two game winners. He closed out the regular season on a five-game scoring streak (2-5-7). … Crain (Natrona Heights, Penn.) led OSU freshmen in overall (2-13) and league (2-9) scoring while ranking third on the team with a +8 rating in league games. He ranked fourth among CCHA freshmen defensemen in scoring and helped OSU’s power play rank third in the CCHA overall, scoring seven of his points (1-6) with a man advantage. OSU was 11-2-1 when Crain registered a plus rating. … Blackburn (Choctaw, Okla.) finished second in the league and fourth overall with a 2.29 goals-against average. He played 93 percent of Michigan’s minutes, posting a 17-8-5 conference record and a 20-9-6 overall mark. Blackburn registered three shutouts and held opponents to a single goal in seven league games and nine overall.
Players earning honorable mention all-rookie honors from the CCHA included: Greg Day (F, Bowling Green), Sean Connolly (D, NMU), Ryan Crane (D, Western Michigan), Andrew Hutchinson (D, MSU), Grady Moore (D, BG), Scott Titus (D, OSU) and Jeff Reynaert (G, WMU).