May 13, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame hockey coach Dave Poulin announced today the addition of three players who will join the Irish hockey program for the 2003-04 season. Joining the list of five players signed in November’s early-signing period are forwards Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.), Taylor Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) and Matthew Williams-Kovacs (Calgary, Alb.).
“I’m very excited about this group of players. All three are highly-skilled with strong leadership skills,” says Poulin, now in his eighth season at Notre Dame.
Michael Bartlett is a 6-0, 189-pound right-handed shooting forward who played last season for the USA National Developmental Program Under-18 team. Bartlett played in 58 games for the Under-18 team, recording seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. He had one power-play goal, one short-handed goal and one game winner. He was a member of the Under-18 team that finished fourth at the World Under-18 Championships in late April. In 2001-02, Barlett was a member of the USA Under-17 team that won the gold medal at the 2002 World Under-17 Challenge. For the year, he collected 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points to finish fifth on the team in scoring.
Poulin on Bartlett: “Michael has a tremendous upside to his game. He’s got a tremendous stride and the skills to develop into a strong power forward-type player. This past season, with the U.S. Developmental team, he usually played against the opposition’s top player. He really performed well at the World Under-18 Championships in April.”
Taylor Jindra is a 5-11, 185-pound right-handed forward who served as the team captain of the River City Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The Lancers advanced to the USHL finals where they fell to the Lincoln Stars in four games. Jindra was fifth on the Lancers in scoring this season with 14 goals and 25 assists for 39 points. He led River City with three short-handed goals on the year. In the postseason, Jindra had three goals and four assists in 11 playoff games. A native of Faribault, Minn., Jindra is the third player in recent years to come to the Irish from the Omaha/River City Lancers program.
Poulin on Jindra: “T.J. is an outstanding two-way player with tremendous speed and leadership skills. He was the captain at River City, a program that’s had lots of success in recent years in the USHL. Those teams have always had strong leaders and he fits right in with them. He plays a tough, hard-nosed game. He’s a competitor and a battler and should have a solid impact on our program.”
Matthew Williams-Kovacs is a 5-11, 195-pound right-handed forward who played last season for the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). During the 2002-03 season Williams-Kovacs finished second in scoring for Calgary with 31 goals and 28 assists for 59 points. He led the team in goals, power-play goals and game-winning goals during the season. He played in the 2002-03 AJHL All-Star game. Last season, he was the “Friends of the AJHL” scholarship winner. During his final season of midget hockey (2000-01), Williams-Kovacs led his team to the Air Canada Cup, the national championships, where they lost in the title game in double overtime. He becomes the seventh Notre Dame player from Alberta and will join current Irish Brad Wanchulak (Edson, Alb.) on next year’s squad.
Poulin on Williams-Kovacs: “Matt is a tough, versatile player with excellent hockey skills. His numbers at Calgary show that he’s the type of player who can make plays as well as finish them. He plays tough at both ends of the ice and has all the tools to become a strong offensive threat for us in the seasons to come.”
Notre Dame’s 2003 recruiting class has been ranked second in the nation behind Wisconsin by the Red Line Report, an independent scouting newsletter widely used by general managers and/or chief scouts around the NHL.
Bartlett, Jindra and Williams-Kovacs join defensemen Noah Babin and Wes O’Neill, forwards Jason Paige and Josh Sciba and goaltender David Brown. The eight-player freshman class replaces six players who will graduate from Notre Dame. That group includes goaltender Tony Zasowski, defenseman Evan Nielsen and forwards Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop, Jake Wiegand and John Wroblewski.
Notre Dame Hockey Freshman Class of 2003-04
Player Pos. Birthdate Ht. Wt. S/C Hometown/2002-03 TeamNoah Babin D 3/11/84 6-0 185 R Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)Michael Bartlett F 1/6/85 6-0 189 R Morton Grove, Ill./US Under-18 TeamDavid Brown G 2/11/85 6-0 185 L Stoney Creek, Ont./Hamilton Kilty Bees (OPJHL)Taylor Jindra F 8/24/82 5-11 185 R Faribault, Minn./River City Lancers (USHL)Wes O'Neill D 3/3/86 6-4 200 L Essex, Ont./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)Jason Paige C 1/19/84 6-0 192 R Saginaw, Mich./Compuware Ambassadors (NAHL)Josh Sciba F 2/6/85 5-11 191 L Westland, Mich./USA Under-18 TeamMatthew F 4/28/84 5-11 195 R Calgary, Alb./Calgary Royals (AJHL)Williams-Kovacs