Former Irish goaltending standout - David Brown '07 - participated in the 2013 Notre Dame Hockey Pro Camp.

Irish Head Into Christmas Break Ranked Third In The Nation; Following Sweep Of Michigan, Notre Dame Is 14-3-1 Overall And 9-2-1 In The CCHA

Dec. 18, 2006

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Complete Release in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

• The Series: #4/#4 Notre Dame (14-3-1/9-2-1) vs. Northern Michigan (7-10-2/4-7-1)

• Date/Site/Time: Saturday, Dec. 30 • 1:05 p.m. • Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (10,503)

Sunday, Dec. 31 • 4:05 p.m. • Joyce Center (2,713)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, “the voice of Irish hockey” will bring you all the play-by-play action.

• Internet: Irish hockey can be heard on the internet at the Notre Dame website – All Notre Dame home games and all CCHA games are available via gametracker.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Notre Dame moves into it’s two-week break for finals and the Christmas holidays looking at the best record at the break in the program’s history and its highest ranking in nearly 30 years. After 18 games, the Irish are 14-3-1 overall and 9-2-1 in the CCHA, good for second place, two points behind front-running Miami but Notre Dame has two games in hand on the RedHawks. The Irish enter the week ranked third in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and the polls for the week of Dec. 18. That’s the highest ranking that a Notre Dame hockey team has acheived since the final four weeks of the 1976-77 season when they were ranked third to finish that season. Notre Dame was 22-13-3 that year and finished second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The Irish go into the final two games of December having won four straight games against ranked teams – defeating #14 Alaska (3-1 and 6-2) and #7 Michigan (7-3 and 4-3). During the final 18 games of the season, Notre Dame will play eight games at home, nine on the road and one on neutral ice.

IRISH VERSUS WILDCATS: Notre Dame meets Northern Michigan on Dec. 30-31 to close out the 2006 portion of the season. On Saturday, Dec. 30, the two teams will meet at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Ind., in a 1:05 p.m. contest. This marks the second time in the last three years that Notre Dame has played in Ft. Wayne as they faced Michigan at the end of the 2004-05 season. On New Year’s Eve, the two teams meet at the Joyce Center for a 4:05 p.m. game. Northern Michigan leads the all-time series with an 18-11-5 mark. At Notre Dame, the Wildcats are 9-7-3 against the Irish and 1-0-0 on neutral ice. They are 4-1-1 versus Notre Dame in the last six meetings going back to the 2004-05 season.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) was named the CCHA offensive player of the week for the week ending Dec. 10. Condra had a goal and five assists for six points in Notre Dame’s sweep of Michigan. In the Dec. 8, 7-3 win, Condra scored once and had three assists for a four-point game. In the Dec. 10, 4-3 win, Condra set up a pair of Irish power-play goals. This marked the second time this season that Condra was honored by the CCHA as the offensive player of the week. He also took honors the week of Nov. 13. HOME ON THE ROAD: Notre Dame will play a neutral site game on Dec. 30 at Ft. Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at 1:05 p.m. This marks the second time the Irish have played in Ft. Wayne. The first time came on Feb. 18, 2005 when they dropped a 9-2 decision to Michigan. The attendance that night was 7,948 for Notre Dame’s home game on the road.

FIRST HALF NUMBERS: For the first 18 games of the 2006-07 regular season, Notre Dame owns a 14-3-1 overall record. After 18 games a year ago, the Irish were 6-11-1 for an eight-game improvement this year. In the CCHA, Notre Dame is 9-2-1. That is a five-game improvement over last year’s 4-7-1 league record. At the break this season, the Irish have scored 70 goals while giving up just 28 for a +42 goal differential (+2.33 goals per game). Last season after 18 games, the Irish had scored 48 while giving up 61 for a -13 differential (-0.72 per game). This season, the Irish have scored 22 more goals than a year ago and have given up 33 goals less than last season. Goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) went into the 2005-06 Christmas break with a 4-8-1 record and a 3.16 goals-against average to go with a .895 save percentage. Since Jan. 1 of 2006, Brown is 18-10-4 with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

RANKINGS UPDATE: For the eighth consecutive week, the Irish are in the national rankings in both polls. They enter the weekend against Northern Michigan ranked third in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and the polls. Prior to this season, the last time the Irish were ranked was the 2003-04 campaign when they finished the year ranked 12th. Notre Dame was ranked for six weeks that season, including the final four weeks of the year. Week-by-week with the Irish this season:

2006-07 Irish National RankingsDate       USA TODAY     USCHO.com10/02        ----           ----10/09        ----           ----10/16        ----            RV10/23        11th           12th10/30        10th           10th11/6          9th            9th11/13         6th            5th11/20         5th            4th11/27         5th            5th12/4          5th            5th12/11         4th            4th12/18         3rd            3rd

The last time the Irish were ranked as high as third came during the last four weeks of the 1976-77 season when they were ranked third in all four weeks on the way to a second-place finish in the WCHA. Notre Dame hasn’t been ranked often in its 39-year hockey history. During the 1972-73 season, the Irish finished ranked fourth overall in the WMPL radio poll and were ranked for eight weeks during the year. That season, Notre Dame lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA finals. The following year (1973-74), the Irish opened the season ranked second (WMPL) and stayed as high as No. 2 through the first four weeks of the year before dropping out. In 1976-77, the Irish were ranked in the final seven weeks of the season, reaching as high as No. 2 on Jan. 31, finishing the year ranked third in the WMPL radio poll. They lost to Minnesota in the WCHA playoffs in a total-goal series. Notre Dame would not be ranked again until October 26 of the 1981-82 season when they reached 10th but weren’t ranked again. In 1998-99, the Irish spent 16 consecutive weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 16) in both the USA Today and polls, before falling out at the end of the year. In 2002-03, the Irish were ranked for one week and in 2003-04, they were ranked six weeks in total, including the final four weeks in a row to finish 12th in the USA Today Poll and 13th in the final polls.

MICHIGAN RECAP: The Irish pulled off the sweep of seventh-ranked Michigan on Dec. 8 and 10, taking a 7-3 win at Ann Arbor before coming from behind on Sunday at the Joyce Center for a 4-2 win. The last time the Irish swept the Wolverines was Feb. 27-28, 2004 when they won twice at the Joyce Center (4-2, 5-2). On Sunday, Dec. 10, the Irish rallied from three one-goal deficits to take the 4-2 win. Sophomore Garrett Regan (Hastings, Minn.) led the way with two goals, including the game winner at 7:43 of the third period. Freshman defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and rookie forward Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) each scored power-play goals in the win. Michigan went on top early, scoring 42 seconds into the game on a Travis Turnbull goal. Lawson answered with his second goal of the season at 13:25 to even the score at 1-1. Kevin Porter put Michigan ahead at the end of one, 2-1, with his 14th goal at 16:08. Regan made it 2-2 at 7:45 of the second period with a power-play marker, but Mark Mitera put the Wolverines ahead 3-2 at 19:37 of the second with a long shot from the point. In the third, Thang (ppg) scored at 7:13 and Regan got the game winner just 30 seconds later. David Brown made several key stops in the third period to finish with 25 saves in the contest. Notre Dame was 3-for-7 on the power play. On Dec. 8 in Ann Arbor, Notre Dame got goals from seven different players in a 7-3 win. Sophomore Erik Condra led the Irish with four points (1g, 3a) and freshman defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) added three assists. Defenseman Tom Sawatske (Sr., Duluth, Minn.) got Notre Dame off to a fast start with his first goal of the season just 1:08 into the game. Garrett Regan gave the Irish a 2-0 lead when he scored on the power play at 19:27. Michigan cut the lead to 2-1 on an Andrew Cogliano goal at 11 seconds of the middle period. Condra restored the two-goal lead at 2:17 with a power-play goal to make it 3-1. Brandon Naurato cut the lead to 3-2 with a power-play marker at 12:10. Josh Sciba (Sr., Westland, Mich.), at 13:14 and Kevin Deeth (Fr., Gig Harbor, Wash.), at 18:40, answered to give the Irish a 5-2 lead after two periods. Christian Hanson (So., Venetia, Pa.) stuffed a rebound past Steve Jakiel at 7:18. Chad Kolarik cut the lead to 6-3 with his 12th of the year at 13:54, but again the Irish answered 17 seconds later when Evan Rankin (Jr., Portage, Mich.) picked up his second of the year at 14:11 to close the scoring at 7-3. Michigan out shot Notre Dame, 29-22, in the game. David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) made 26 saves for the Irish. Sauer had 11 saves in 40 minutes of play while Jakiel made four in the final 20 minutes.

YOST BUSTERS: Notre Dame’s 7-3 win on Dec. 8 at Yost Arena snapped an eight-game Michigan winning streak versus the Irish that covered the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The win was just the first for the Irish at Yost since Nov. 23, 2002 and snapped a five-game Michigan home winning streak. Since a 9-5 Notre Dame win at Yost on Oct. 22, 1982, the Irish have won just three times at Yost (3-23-1).

LUCKY SEVEN: The seven goals scored by the Irish on Friday night in the 7-3 win were the most scored by the Irish against Michigan since Oct. 22, 1982 in a 9-5 Notre Dame win at Yost Arena. In that 54-game span, the Irish scored six goals once and five three times, with Michigan winning 42 times, Notre Dame eight, with four ties.

TOP 10 MEETINGS: Notre Dame’s weekend series (Dec. 8 and 10) with #7/#7 Michigan marked the second time in the two program’s histories that both teams were ranked in the nation’s top 10 when they faced each other. The only other time came on Jan. 30, 1999 when the 10th-ranked Irish faced fifth-ranked Michigan at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame won the game, 3-2. Already this season, the Irish have played one series – Michigan State, Nov. 17-18 – where both teams were ranked in the top 10. Over the program’s history, Notre Dame has played in 32 games when both teams were top-10 teams. Here’s a look at the record in those games.

1972-73:  8 games (3-4-1)1973-74:  6 games (2-3-1)1976-77:  6 games (2-2-2)1981-82:  2 games (0-2-0)1998-99:  8 games (3-3-2)2006-07:  4 games (3-1-0)Total:   34 games (13-15-6)

TURNING ON THE POWER: Notre Dame went into the weekend series with Michigan having scored just one power-play goal on its’ previous 22 chances for a 4.5% success rate. Against the Wolverines, the Irish were 5-for-14 (35.7%) in the two games. They were 2-for-7 in the 7-3 win on Dec. 8 and then had a season-high three power-play goals in seven chances in the 4-3 win on Dec. 10. For the year, Notre Dame is 20-for-100 (20.0%) for the fourth-best power-play in the CCHA.

MID-SEASON BREAK: The Irish are currently 14-3-1 on the year and only once in the program’s history have they reached 13 wins going into the Christmas break. That came during the 1983-84 season when Notre Dame started that year with a 13-0 record. A year ago, the Irish won 13 games (13-19-4) for the entire season.

USA….USA….USA: Freshman defenseman Kyle Lawson has been named to the 2006-07 U.S. Junior National Team that will participate in the World Junior Championships in Sweden, beginning on Dec. 26. Lawson leads Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with two goals and eight assists for 10 points. He leads the Irish and is tied for the CCHA lead with a +15 rating in 18 games this season. Lawson is the 10th Notre Dame player to be selected to the U.S. Junior National Team and the first since Rob Globke `04 and Brett Lebda `04 played for the 2001-02 team. Besides Globke and Lebda, the seven other Irish players to play in the world juniors are: Jack Brownschidle (`76-’77 and `78-’79), Ben Simon (`96-’97 and `97-’98), Joe Dusbabek (`97-’98), Dan Carlson (`98-’99), Connor Dunlop (`99-’00 and `00-’01), Brett Henning (`99-’00), David Inman (`99-’00). Globke was a member of the 2000-01 and `01-’02 teams while Lebda was on the `01-’02 teams.

ON A TEAR: Sophomore left wing Garrett Regan had the best weekend of his career in the sweep of Michigan. Regan scored three goals in the series, equalling his total from 30 games as a freshman. Regan scored once in the 7-3 win on Dec. 8 and followed with a two-goal game (his second of the year) in the 4-3 win. His second goal was the game winner. On the year, Regan has six goals and five assists for 11 points in 18 games. Last season, he had three goals and four assists in 30 contests.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Prior to being selected to the U.S. Junior National Team, freshman defenseman Kyle Lawson was named the CCHA rookie of the week for the week ending Dec. 3. Lawson had a goal and an assist and was +5 in the two games of the weekend sweep versus Alaska. The Irish have players selected four times this season as rookie of the week with Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) named twice and Ryan Thang once.

THE PUCK STOPS HERE: Senior goaltender David Brown has started 17 of Notre Dame’s 18 games this season and has a 13-3-1 record with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. His goals against is second in the CCHA and fourth in the nation. His save percentage is second in the conference and fourth in the country. Brown and the Irish defense have teamed up to form the nation’s top defensive team, giving up just 28 goals in 18 games for a 1.56 goals-against average. Brown has twice been named CCHA goaltender of the week this season (Oct. 23 and Nov. 6) and was also the all-tournament goaltender at the Lightning College Hockey Classic. This season, Brown has taken over Notre Dame’s all-time top spot for career goals-against average (2.54), save percentage (.913) and shutouts (8).

A HOMECOMING: Notre Dame associate head coach Paul Pooley makes a homecoming this weekend when the Irish play at Ft. Wayne. As a player, Pooley spent the 1986-87 season with the Ft. Wayne Komets, serving as a co-captain of the Western Division championship team that was 48-28-6. He was fourth in scoring with 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 points. Earlier this fall, he had his number as a player at Ohio State retired in a ceremony held on Sat., Nov. 4 when Notre Dame played at Ohio State. A 1984 graduate of Ohio State, Pooley is still the Buckeyes all-time leading scorer with 114 goals and 156 assists for 270 points. A member of the CCHA’s all-Decade Team for the 1980s, Pooley was the CCHA player of the year in 1984 and a first team All-American as he led the nation in scoring with 32 gosl and 64 assists for 96 points in 41 games.A three-time CCHA all-academic selection, Pooley was an Academic All-American in his senior year. He began his coaching career at Ohio State as an assistant before joining Jeff Jackson’s staff at Lake Superior in 1992. During his three seasons in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the Lakers went to the NCAA Tournament three times, winning the title in 1992 and 1994. Pooley became the head coach at Providence College in 1994 and was the there for 11 seasons where his teams compiled a 185-187-40 record, won one Hockey East title (1995-96) and advanced to the NCAA tournament twice (1996 and 2001). He was selected to the OSU Hall of Fame in 1994. He is the first Ohio State hockey player to have his number retired.

CONDRA CAPERS: Erik Condra’s four-point game (1g, 3a) against Michigan on Dec. 8 was the second four-point game of his career. He had four assists in a game on Feb. 17, 2006 versus Bowling in a 7-4 win. The three-assist game was the fourth of his Notre Dame career. He leads Notre Dame in scoring with six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 17 games.

BLATCHFORD BITS: Freshman defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) ran his personal point-scoring streak to a career-high four games (1g, 5a) with an assist in the 4-3 win over Michigan on Dec. 10. In the first game of the series, Blatchford had a career-high three assists in the win, including an assist on Josh Sciba’s second-period game-winning goal. He has now played in 10 games this season and has a goal and seven assists for eight points.

PLAYING WITH THE LEAD: Through the first 18 games of the season, Notre Dame has played a total of 1089:45 minutes. In those 18 games, the Irish have trailed for just 120:10 minutes (or 11.0% of the time). On the year, the Irish have been in the lead or tied for 89.0% of the time or 969:35 minutes. That breaks down to being tied for 369:48 minutes (34.0%) and leading 599:47 (55.0%).

SCORING IN BUNCHES: Through the first 18 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored two or more goals in a period a total of 19 times. That includes 11 periods with two goals, six periods with three goals, one period with four and one with five lamplighters.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: The Notre Dame hockey program is part of a feature story “Puck of the Irish,” in the Dec. 11 issue of Sports Illustrated. The story was written by Rick Lipsey and covers the fast start in the 2006-07 season by the Irish hockey program.

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s win over Michigan on Dec. 10 at the Joyce Center gives the Irish a perfect 7-0-0 mark at the Joyce Center. A year ago, Notre Dame was 7-11-3 on home ice. Through the first 18 games, the Irish have played just seven games at home and 11 on the road.

SAWATSKE FOR TWO: Senior defenseman Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.) recorded the first two-point game (1g, 1a) of his collegiate career in the 7-3 win over Michigan. Prior to that game, Sawatske, who played the first two years of his career at Wisconsin, had one point in a game 19 times in 100 career games.

RED-HOT IRISH: With a 14-3-1 record in the first 18 games, Notre Dame has already equaled its win output from 2005-06 when the Irish were 13-19-4. The 14-3-1 start is the best for Notre Dame since starting the 1987-88 season with a 14-2-2 record. After 18 games just one year ago, Notre Dame was 6-11-1. The Irish reached the 14-win plateau in their 18th game this season. That’s the quickest the Irish reached 14 wins since 1987-88 when they started the year with 14 wins in the first 18 games.

KID STUFF: Notre Dame’s freshman class continues to impress as they accounted for two goals and three assists in the 4-3 win over Michigan. Kevin Deeth led the way with a pair of assists while Kyle Lawson and Ryan Thang each had a goal. In the first 18 games this season, the freshmen have combined for 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points, nine power-play goals, three short-handed tallies, six game-winning goals and are a combined +49. Leading the way is Deeth (8g, 11a) with 19 points. He leads the Irish with four power-play goals and is tied for first in the CCHA among rookie scorers. Thang (9g, 8a) follows with 17 points. Four of his nine goals have been game winners, which is tied for tops in the CCHA and the nation. Defenseman Kyle Lawson has two goals and eight assists on the year and leads the team with a +15. Left wing Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.) has four goals and two assists for six points in seven games. Among his goals are a power-play tally, a short-handed goal and two game winners. games. On defense, Brett Blatchford has a goal and seven assists for eight points in just 10 games. Christian Minella (1g, 3a) scored his first goal in his first game against Bowling Green and added a two-assists game versus Alaska for four points on the year. The freshman class has accounted for seven of Notre Dame’s 13 game-winning goals (Thang -4, Kissel-2 and Blatchford).

MOVING ON OVER: Junior center Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) moved from center to right wing prior to the Alaska series and scored three goals against the Nanooks. For the year, Van Guilder has a career-high 11 goals with 10 assists for 21 points. His previous career best for goals was eight in 36 games a year ago. In the first 18 games, Van Guilder now has two games with two or more goals and seven games with two or more points. The Roseville, Minn., native now has played in 92 consecutive games in his career.

JUST JOSHING: Josh Sciba saw his career-best six-game point streak (2g, 5a) snapped in the 2-0 loss at Michigan State (Nov. 18). For the season, Sciba is fifth on the team with five goals and nine assists for 14 points. Eight of his points (3g, 5a) have come on the power play. For his career, Sciba now has 35 career goals with 18 of them coming with the man advantage.

TWO-GOAL GAMES OR MORE: Scoring is definitely contagious. Through 18 games this season, the Irish have seen players score two or more goals in a game 11 times. Last season, Notre Dame had a total of seven multiple-goal games, including two hat tricks.

Mark Van Guilder - 3 times10/12 - 2 vs. Minn. St.10/20 - 3 at Boston College12/3 - 2 vs. Alaska
Ryan Thang - 2 times10/20 - 2 at Boston College11/10 - 2 vs. Bowling Green
Garrett Regan - 2 times10/12 - 2 vs. Minnesota State12/10 - 2 vs. Michigan
Kevin Deeth - 1 time10/14 - 2 at Minn. St.
Dan Kissel - 1 time10/21 - 3 vs. Providence
Erik Condra - 1 time11/11 - 2 vs. Bowling Green
Jason Paige - 111/17 - 2 vs. Michigan State

SCORING DEFENSE: For the fifth game in a row, and the sixth time in the last eight games, a Notre Dame defenseman scored a goal as Kyle Lawson scored in the first period of the 4-3 win over Michigan (Dec. 10). The Irish defense now has six goals and 39 assists on the season. Lawson leads the team with two goals and eight assists for 10 points. Noah Babin (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Wes O’Neill (Sr., Essex, Ont.) follow with nine points each – Babin (1g, 8a) and O’Neill (0g, 9a). Brett Blatchford has one goal and seven assists for eight points while Sawatske has a goal and two assists. Dan VeNard (Jr., Vernon Hills, Ill.) has three assists and Brock Sheahan (Jr., Lethbridge, Alb.) has a goal and two assists for the year.