April 30, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. – The 2003-04 Notre Dame hockey team held its annual break up dinner on Thursday, April 29 and coach Dave Poulin and his staff handed out the team awards for the 2004-05 season.
The Irish are coming off a 20-15-4 season that saw them advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in the 36-year history of the program. Notre Dame finished tied for fifth in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and made its third consecutive appearance at the CCHA’s Super Six.
Leading the list of award winners was senior captain Aaron Gill (Rochester, Minn.) who was chosen the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s Team MVP. On the year, Gill was a second team all-CCHA selection as he finished second on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points. He was also selected to the all-Regional Team at the NCAA’s Grand Rapids’ Regional where the Irish lost to Minnesota, 5-2. Gill, a free agent, signed a pro contract on April 23 with the San Jose Sharks after playing in nine games for the Shark’s AHL affiliate in Cleveland.
Senior defenseman T.J. Mathieson won his third consecutive Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award to cap a brilliant academic career at Notre Dame.
For the third year in a row, senior defenseman T.J. Mathieson (Clarksville, Md.) was chosen the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award winner. He joins Steve Noble ’98 and Carl Picconatto ’93 as the hockey team’s only three-time winners of the award. Mathieson owns a 3.816 grade-point average in Aerospace Engineering and has been named to the Dean’s List at Notre Dame in all seven of his semesters. An honorable mention CCHA all-Academic team selection in 2004, Mathieson will go to work with Northrop Grumman Space Technologies, an aerospace defense company with hopes of one day joining the U.S. Space Program.
Freshman goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) was voted the team’s rookie of the year for the 2003-04 campaign. Brown turned in a stellar season in the Irish nets with Notre Dame single-season marks for lowest goals-against average (2.32), save percentage (.925) and shutouts (4). For the season, Brown was 14-7-3 and was named honorable mention CCHA all-Rookie team and was a finalist for CCHA rookie of the year honors. He was named the CCHA rookie of the week four times on the year and defensive player of the week once. The Hockey Coaches Association rookie of the month in October, Brown was also received honorable mention recognition for rookie of the month in January and February.
Senior defenseman Tom Galvin (Miller Place, N.Y.) was selected by his teammates as the team’s top defenseman for the 2003-04 season. Galvin played in all 39 games and was seventh on the team in scoring with a goal and 18 assists for 19 points while picking up 40 minutes in penalties on the season. He was named the CCHA’s defensive player of the week for Feb. 15 and received special mention to the 2004 CCHA all-Academic team. Following the season, Galvin signed a contract to play for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League.
The team’s most improved player honors went to sophomore left wing Mike Walsh (Northville, Mich.) and freshman center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.). Walsh bounced back from an injury-plagued freshman season in 2002-03 when he scored just a goal and an assist for two points in 23 games to finish third in scoring last season with 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points while leading the team with a +16. He also chipped in four game-winning goals on the year. Paige was one of the team’s top penalty killers and face-off men during the year and led the freshman class in scoring with 10 goals and six assists for 16 points. Among his goals were four power-play tallies and two game winners.
For the past five years, the coaching staff has presented a Coaches’ Award to a player who they felt deserved recognition for his contributions to the team. This year’s winner was senior defenseman Neil Komadoski (Chesterfield, Mo.). One of the team’s alternate captains, Komadoski has been involved in Notre Dame’s Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and the community service work done by the student athletes. He was selected as the winner of Notre Dame’s Chris Zorich Award for community service and was recognized as the CCHA’s top citizen with the Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award. The Irish blueliner was also one of 15 nominees for college hockey’s Humanitarian Award as college hockey’s top citizen. On the ice, Komadoski was second among Irish defensemen with five goals and 15 assists for 20 points on the year. A 2001 third-round draft choice of the Ottawa Senators, Komadoski inked a two-year contract following the season and went on to play for Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, the Binghamton (N.Y.) Senators.