Defenseman Brett Blatchford brings a five-game point streak into the Michigan State series.

Irish Face Off Against No. 6/7 Michigan State In Home-And-Home Series

Jan. 13, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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– The Games: Notre Dame (9-10-5/5-7-4-2) vs. #6/#7 Michigan State (15-6-3/10-3-3-0)

– Date/Site/Time: Friday, January 15, 2010 – Joyce Center – 8:05 p.m. Saturday, January 16, 2010 – Munn Arena – 7:05 p.m.

– Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Cat Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pre-game show 20 minutes before the opening faceoff. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish. Television: Friday night’s game will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Matt Shepard and Dave Starman calling the action.

– Internet: Audio: Both games of the Michigan State series will have live audio and available free of charge at the Notre Dame website – Live statistics will be available at the Notre Dame website (, the Michigan State website ( and the CCHA website (

NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN STATE, PART II: The Irish and Spartans meet for the second home-and-home series of the season this weekend. On Friday, Jan. 15, the teams will square off at the Joyce Center in an 8:05 p.m. game that will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Matt Shepard and Dave Starman calling the action. The following night, Sat., Jan. 16, the two teams will battle at Munn Arena in East Lansing, Mich., in a 7:05 p.m. game. Notre Dame comes into this series looking to bounce back from last weekend’s home losses to Ferris State (5-2, 4-2). The Irish are 9-10-5 on the season and 5-7-4-2 in conference play, good for 21 points and a three-way tie for seventh place with Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha. Notre Dame is two points behind sixth-place Ohio State (23), three behind fifth-place Lake Superior (24) and six behind fourth-place Alaska (27). Michigan State comes into the weekend with a 15-6-3 overall mark and a 10-3-3-0 record in the CCHA, good for 33 points. The Spartans are in third place, just one point behind first-place Ferris State and Miami with the Bulldogs and RedHawks having two games in hand. MSU is ranked sixth in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and seventh in the College Hockey polls.

IRISH VERSUS SPARTANS: The two teams have met 104 times in the all-time series with the Spartans holding a 59-35-10 edge in those games. At the Joyce Center, the Spartans are 21-19-7 while in East Lansing, they are 35-14-3 against the Irish. On neutral ice, Michigan State has a 3-2-0 advantage. The two teams have met twice this season – Nov. 19 and 22. In the opening game, the teams battled to a 1-1 tie at Munn Arena before Notre Dame won the shootout, 2-1. On Nov. 19, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Ind., the Irish defeated the Spartans, 4-1. The Irish come into this weekend with a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2) versus Michigan State, dating back to Jan. 13, 2008, a 1-1 tie at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame has more ties (10) versus the Spartans than any other team that they have played. Since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93, the Irish are just 9-32-9 against Michigan State, including a 3-20-2 record at Munn Arena.

FERRIS STATE RECAP: Saturday, January 9, 2010 – Ferris State got goals from five different players and goaltender Pat Nagle made 18 saves in a 5-2 win in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,857 at the Joyce Center. Scott Wietecha, Aaron Lewicki, Zach Redmond, Justin Menke and Mike Embach scored for the Bulldogs. Kevin Deeth (Sr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) and Ian Cole (Jr., Ann Arbor, Mich.) had Notre Dame’s goals. The Bulldogs out shot the Irish, 31-20, in the game. Mike Johnson (Fr., Verona, Wis.) made 26 saves for Notre Dame.

Sunday, January 10, 2010 – Third-period goals by Ferris State’s Blair Riley and Cody Chupp snapped a 2-2 tie to give the Bulldogs a 4-2 win over Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon at a sold-out Joyce Center. The win gave Ferris State a weekend sweep of the Irish and moved the Bulldogs into a tie for first place in the CCHA with Miami. Notre Dame defensemen Kyle Lawson (Sr., New Hudson, Mich.) and Ian Cole (Jr., Ann Arbor, Mich.) each scored first-period power-play goals to give the Irish a 2-1 lead after the opening period. Mike Embach opened the scoring for Ferris State and Eric Alexander tied the game 2-2 with the lone second-period marker. The Bulldogs out shot Notre Dame, 33-29, in the game with Pat Nagle making 27 saves for Ferris State. Senior goaltender Tom O’Brien (Mokena, Ill.) made a career-high 29 saves for the Irish in his second start of the season. Notre Dame was 2-for-9 on the power play while Ferris State was 0-for-4.

OUT OF ACTION: Notre Dame will be without the services of junior defenseman Teddy Ruth (Naperville, Ill.) for Friday’s game with Michigan State. Ruth will serve a game disqualification penalty that he received in the Jan. 10 game with Ferris State. He was assessed a five-minute major for grasping the facemask at 9:41 of the third period after taking a hit from behind from the Bulldogs’ Travis Ouellette. Ouellette received a major penalty for checking from behind with a game disqualification penalty. He has since been assessed another one game suspension by the CCHA for the hit from behind on Ruth.

HOME ICE STRUGGLES: Notre Dame’s two losses to Ferris State (Jan. 9-10) dropped the Irish to 5-6-3 in their first 14 home games this season. During the 2008-09 campaign, the Irish were 13-3-2 at the Joyce Center and over the previous three seasons owned a 37-9-7 mark on home ice.

HITTING THE CENTURY MARK: Notre Dame senior captain Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) became the 45th player in the history of the Irish hockey program to score 100 points in his career. Thang’s assist on Ian Cole’s power-play goal in the first period of the Jan. 10 game with Ferris State gave him 51 goals and 49 assists for his 100th career point. He joins senior teammate Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) who went over 100 points earlier this season on the list. Deeth is now 37th on the list with 35 goals and 75 assists for 110 career points.

WINNING THE GOLD: Notre Dame freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) returns to the Notre Dame lineup this weekend after returning from helping the U.S. Junior National team win the gold medal at the World Junior Championships. The 5-11, 195-pound right wing was third in scoring on the team with a goal and eight assists for nine points and was +8 in the tournament. He is the first Irish player to win a gold medal in the World Junior Championships. Palmieri sat out the Ferris State series as Coach Jeff Jackson gave him the series off to return home after missing the holiday break.

IRISH MEDALS: A total of 13 Notre Dame players have participated in the World Junior Championships since 1977. In that time, three have been members of U.S. medal-winning teams. Joining Kyle Palmieri and his gold medal this season are current Irish defenseman Kyle Lawson, who won a bronze medal in 2007, when he was captain of the U.S. team and former standout Ben Simon `00, who won a silver medal in 1997.

SCORING WOES: Through the first 24 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored a total of 53 goals. The Irish have scored goals via the power play in 19 of their 24 games, getting a total of 27 power-play goals. Notre Dame has one short-handed goal to give the team 28 special team goals to go with 25 even-strength goals. For the year, the Irish are averaging 2.21 goals-per game and the offensive attack is ranked 50th in the nation.

DEFENSIVE DANDIES: While the Irish have struggled to score goals, they have done a good job of keeping the puck out of the net through the first 24 games. In those games, Notre Dame’s defense has held opponents to two goals or less in 13 of them and has given up three or less in 19 of the 24 contests. For the year, the Irish have given up just 53 goals for a 2.21 goals per game to rank seventh in the nation in team defense.

STREAKERS: A pair of Notre Dame defensemen currently have scoring streaks going into the Michigan State series. Senior Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) has scored in five straight games (0g, 6a, 6 pts) in a streak that began on Dec. 13 versus Michigan. Defenseman Ian Cole has scored in four straight games (2g, 2a, 4 pts), including goals in each of his last two contests. Left wing Calle Ridderwall (Jr., Stockholm, Sweden) has a two-game point streak (0g, 2a, 2 pts.).

SWEEPLESS IN SOUTH BEND: For the second time this season, the Irish were swept in a weekend series as Ferris State took two on Jan. 9-10 to join Miami and its Dec. 4-5 sweep against the Notre Dame. The Ferris State speep marks just the 10th time in the Jeff Jackson era (2005-) that the Irish have been swept in a two-game series. Since Jackson took over, the Irish have been swept five times in 2005-06, twice in 2007-08, once last year and twice this season.

TAKE THE HIGHWAY: Following Friday night’s game with Michigan State, Notre Dame will play just three of its final 11 games at home. The Irish will host Nebraska-Omaha in a weekend series on Jan. 30-31 and then close out the home schedule on Feb. 27 versus Michigan.

TOUGH TICKET: With two sellout crowds last weekend against Ferris State, Notre Dame now has had 10 sellouts in its first 14 home games this season. The Irish have recorded sellouts in 19 of their last 23 home games, dating back to Dec. 13, 2008 versus Bowling Green. In 14 home games this season, Notre Dame is averaging 2,712 per game. A sellout is 2,713.

WALKING WOUNDED: Notre Dame will be without the services of two players due to injuries for the Michigan State series. They are:

Sam Calabrese - leg injury (2-3 weeks)Eric Ringel - concussion (day-to-day)

Both players were injured in the series at Miami, Dec. 4-5, and missed both games of the Michigan series (Dec. 11 and 13), the Shillelagh Tournament and the Ferris State series (Jan. 9-10).

HIGHLY RANKED: Notre Dame freshman center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) is the top-ranked collegiate hockey player in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Sheahan was ranked fifth among all North American skaters. As a freshman at Notre Dame, who only turned 18 on Dec. 7, Sheahan is fifth on the team in scoring with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 23 games. Four other players who have signed national letters-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in 2010 or 2011 also have been ranked. Joining Sheahan are defenseman Stephan Johns (Wampum, Pa.), ranked 28th; defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.) is 32nd; defenseman Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.) checks in at 42nd and forward Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) is ranked 76th. Johns, Tinordi and Rust play for the U.S. National Development Program while Lind plays for the Chicago Steel in the USHL.

THE KID IS ALRIGHT: Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson has gotten his collegiate career off to a fast start through the first 24 games of the season. He saw his streak of nine straight apperances and seven consecutive starts snapped on Jan. 10 when Tom O’Brien got the call in goal. In 15 games, including 14 starts, Johnson is 6-6-3 with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage with two shutouts. Johnson recorded a shutout versus Providence College on Oct. 16 in his first career start and picked up his second with a career-high 38 saves versus Michigan on Dec. 13. His 2.04 goals-against average is sixth in the nation and his .928 save percentage is sixth among all Division I goaltenders. In his 14 starts, Johnson has given up 30 goals while the Irish have scored 27.

TOMMY O: Senior Tommy O’Brien made his second start of the season and just the fourth of his career in the 4-2 loss to Ferris State (Jan. 10). In the game, O’Brien made a career-high 29 saves in taking the loss. In three appearances this season, O’Brien is 1-1-0 with a 2.29 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. During his career, the Mokena, Ill., native is 2-1-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage with one shutout.

SEASON HIGH: The five goals scored by Ferris State on Saturday night were the most surrendered by Notre Dame and goaltender Mike Johnson in a game this season. Previously, the most goals given up by the Irish in a game were four and that was done four different times.

CLOSE ONES: The Dec. 4, 1-0 loss to Miami, dropped Notre Dame to 2-5 in one-goal games this year. Last season, the Irish were 11-2 in games decided by one goal.

OFFENSIVE HIGHS: Notre Dame’s 5-2 win versus Colgate marked a season high for goals for the Irish in a game. Prior to the five goals scored versus the Raiders, the most Notre Dame had scored in a game was four, something the Irish did twice during the year. Notre Dame also had three power-play goals versus Colgate, equaling a season-high in that category. The Irish also had three power-play goals versus Bowling Green (11/28/09).

OVERTIME MARKS: Five of Notre Dame’s last nine games have gone into overtime with one game decided in the extra session and four going to a shootout. For the season, the Irish are 1-0-5 in overtime games. In the five shootouts to date, Notre Dame is 3-2. The overtime win on Nov. 27 versus Bowling Green was the first for the Irish since Feb. 20, 2009 at Nebraska-Omaha, a 4-3 win. Notre Dame is now 3-0-8 in overtime since its last overtime loss, a 2-1 decision to Miami on March 21, 2008, in the CCHA semifinal game.

WELCOME TO NOTRE DAME: Junior defenseman Joe Lavin (6-3, 200) joins the Irish lineup for the second half of the season after leaving Providence College following the first semester of the 2008-09 season. He finished that year with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers and played the first half of this season in Omaha. In 48 games over a season-and-a half with Providence, Lavin had no goals and eight assists for eight points. After leaving Providence, he played in 33 games for Omaha last season, scoring seven goals with 16 assists for 23 points with 28 penalty minutes. This year, Lavin played in 24 games with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points and was third on the team with a +16. The Lancers were in first place in the USHL’s Western Division when Lavin left with a 19-4-1 record. He was a fifth-round pick, 126th overall, of the Chicago Black Hawks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Lavin is a product of the USA National Team Development Program where he was a teammate on the Under-18 team with fellow Irish juniors Ian Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Brad Phillips (Jr., Farmington Hills, Mich.) and Teddy Ruth.

PENALTY KILLERS: Notre Dame’s penalty-killing unit ranks first in the CCHA and second in the nation. To date, the Irish have killed 102-of-114 opponent power-play chances for an 89.5% success rate. That puts them on top of the CCHA list and second in the nation behind Air Force (90.0%, 90-of-100).

GOAL-SCORING MACHINE: Junior left wing Calle Ridderwall scored his team-best 12th goal of the year in the 5-2 win over Colgate (Jan. 2). The goal came on the power play and was his eighth of the year with the man advantage. Ridderwall is currently tied for third in the CCHA with 12 goals while leading the league with eight power-play tallies. Over the last two seasons, he has scored 29 goals for Notre Dame with 19 of them coming via the power play. Ridderwall’s hat trick on Nov. 28 versus Bowling Green was the first for an Irish player since Jan. 5, 2007 when Kevin Deeth (Sr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) scored three in a win over Robert Morris at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.

LIGHTING THE LAMP: Sophomore defenseman Sean Lorenz did something he has never done in college hockey versus Colgate on Jan. 2. At 8:36 of the second period, Lorenz took a drop pass from fellow defender Brett Blatchford and drilled a 50-foot shot past Raider goaltender Charles Long for the first goal of his Notre Dame career. The goal snapped a streak of 56 consecutive games without a goal for the 6-1, 202-pound defender.