Jan. 19, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team (8-13-5, 5-7-4 CCHA) continues its battle to move up the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings this week, with a pair of home games vs. Western Michigan (8-10-2, 7-7-2) … WMU is tied for the fifth and final home-ice spot in the CCHA playoffs … Notre Dame’s trip last week to Northern Michigan yielded a 2-2 tie and 6-0 loss … the Irish close the regular season with seven of 10 games on the road … the WMU series will be aired live by WJVA radio 1580 AM (also available via the ND website at www.und.com, as are real-time stats for all home games).
QUICK NOTES FROM THE NMU SERIES: It’s been nearly two years since ND posted its last overtime win (5-4 at Bowling Green on Jan. 24, 1998), with the Irish going 0-1-10 in OT since that game (0-0-5 this season, including the 2-2 game at NMU) … the Irish continued their season-long trend of series dropoffs at NMU, as ND has totaled 10 points in first games of CCHA series (4-2-2) but just four points in the second games (1-5-2) … ND is mired in a goalscoring slump that has seen the Irish score just five goals in the last four games (three on the PP) … ND was whistled for 13 penalties in the NMU loss (leading to nine NMU PPs), well above of the team average of 7.5 penalties per game … the Irish have yet to win on the opponent’s ice this season (0-5-3) … the Irish have scored 0-2 goals in 16 of 26 games this season … due to the league’s new four-team cluster format, the Irish are not making the customary trips to four CCHA cities, including Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (Lake Superior), Kalamazoo (WMU), Ann Arbor (Michigan) and Oxford, Ohio (Miami) … the four teams that will not visit the Joyce Center in 1999-2000 include Northern Michigan, Ferris State, Bowling Green and Ohio State.
LONG TIME, NO SEE, PART II: Notre Dame and Lake Superior met recently for the first time in nearly a year, but this week’s series between the Irish and WMU is the first action between those teams in 14 months-since a 9-5 ND win at the Joyce Center on Nov. 22, 1998 … in its 52 games since that time, the Irish are just 18-26-8 while playing 40 times versus other CCHA teams, including: NMU (8 games), MSU (5), UAF (5), Miami (5), Michigan (4), Ferris State (4), Lake Superior (3), Ohio State (2), Bowling Green (2) and Nebraska-Omaha (2) … ND’s upcoming series at OSU (Feb. 4-5) also will be the first games between the Irish and Buckeyes in 14 months (they last played on Dec. 5, 1998).
PLAYOFF POSITIONING: With anywhere from 10-14 league games remaining for each CCHA team (ND has 12 left), the majority of the positioning for the 10-team CCHA playoffs is still up for grabs … Michigan (13-4-0), Michigan State (12-5-0) and NMU (11-3-2) have separated from the pack and will be looking to clinch a crucial top-three finish (which would avoid any possible inclusion in the 4-vs.-5 play-in game that determines the final semi-finalist, after the five first-round series) … Lake Superior (9-6-1) has surged to fourth place, followed by Ferris State (8-8-0) and WMU (7-7-2) … ND (5-7-4) is tied for seventh with Nebraska-Omaha (5-7-4) and Miami (6-6-2) while Bowling Green (6-10-0) is looking to hold off Ohio State (4-11-1) and Alaska Fairbanks (3-15-0) for the final spot.
FIT TO BE TIED: Head-to-head tiebreakers likely could be used to determine the CCHA playoff matchups, with the Irish already concluding series with Michigan, NMU, LSSU, FSU and Miami … ND holds the head-to-head tiebreakers with LSSU and Miami (both 1-0-1) but dropped both games to FSU … this weekend’s results would help settle a potential tie with WMU … ND trails the UNO series (0-1-1), needing either a pair of wins on Feb. 11-12 vs. the Mavericks to win the tiebreaker (or a tie and a win by three-plus goals) … head-to-head results will be decided in February vs. OSU and BG while the Irish need only one tie next week at UAF to clinch that tiebreaker.
FOUR ND PLAYERS LISTED AMONG NHL’S TOP DRAFT PROSPECTS: Four current and future Notre Dame hockey players are listed among the top 160 players on the NHL’s Central Scouting Service midseason skater rankings-representing the most players listed from any team in the CCHA … the rankings list the top prospects (separated into skaters and goaltenders) for the 2000 NHL Draft, which is open to players born between Sept. 16, 1980 and Sept. 15, 1982 … players born after Sept. 15, 1981 must “opt-in” and forfeit their college eligibility, regardless or whether they already have completed a year of college hockey … ND’s top-rated player is fall of ’99 signee Neil Komadoski (Feb. 10, 1982 birthdate), considered one of the nation’s top prospects among defensemen in his age group … Komadoski (Chesterfield, Mo./U.S. Under-18 National Team) checked in at 51st, ranking as the fourth-highest rated player/signee from teams in the CCHA (two of his current U.S. teammates that also are headed to CCHA schools are rated ahead of him) … current ND players on the Central Scouting list include three draft-eligible freshmen: defenseman Evan Nielsen (Evanston, Ill.), center Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) and right wing Michael Chin (Urbana, Ill.) … Nielsen checks in at 70th on the list, sixth-highest among all current CCHA players/signees and first among active CCHA defensemen (six spots ahead of Northern Michigan’s Sean Connolly) … Dunlop is listed 118th, eight-highest among all players with CCHA ties and second among active CCHA forwards (Michigan center Andy Hilbert is listed 26th). Chin is the ninth-highest CCHA player/signee on the list, at No. 158.
THE ND-WMU SERIES
Western Michigan owns a 26-13-2 series edge vs. Notre Dame (15-7-1 since the Irish rejoined the CCHA in 1992-93) but the Irish own a 5-3-1 edge in the last three seasons … ND has averaged 3.6 goals per game vs. WMU during the last nine games of the series, including a 17-8 scoring edge last season (7-1, 1-2, 9-5) … the Irish are 1-12-0 at WMU’s Lawson Arena since 1992-93, with the only win coming in 1997-98 (2-1) … ND’s top career scorers vs. WMU include senior C Ben Simon (2G-10A), junior LW Dan Carlson (4G-4A) and junior RW Matt Van Arkel (4G-2A).
WMU is in the thick of the battle for one of five home-ice spots in the CCHA playoffs, as the Broncos (8-10-2, 7-7-2 CCHA) are tied with Ferris State (8-8-0) for fifth place, three points behind Lake Superior but just two points ahead of Miami, Nebraska-Omaha and Notre Dame … WMU dropped two non-league games last week at Cornell (4-3, 3-1) after splitting a pair of 3-2 home games with Alaska Fairbanks … WMU ranks 4th in the CCHA for scoring (3.25 goals/gm), 8th in defense (3.20 goals allowed/gm), 2nd in power play (.188), 7th in penalty killing (.845) and 6th in fewest penalty minutes per game (21.18) … junior C David Gove is the CCHA’s third-leading scorer (20G-11A) while sophomore center Mike Bishai is tied for 12th on the CCHA scoring charts (19G-10A) … sophomore Jeff Reynaert ranks 12th in the CCHA with a 2.96 goals-against average, logging all but 63 minutes this season for the Broncos (he is 8-8-2, with a .905 save pct.) … Gove is tied for seventh in the CCHA for goals (11) and ranks fourth with 19 assists … Bishai’s seven power-play goals lead the CCHA (he also has three game-winners) while senior Jason Redenius owns two of WMU’s seven shorthanded goals … WMU returned 18 of 23 letterwinners from its 1998-99 team that went 6-20-8 overall and finished 10th in the CCHA … top returning scorers included Gove (9G-14A in ’98-’99) and senior D Daryl Andrews (3G-11A) while Reynaert posted a 3.57, .891 last season (when he was 1-7-1).
FRIEND OR FOE?
Several Notre Dame and WMU players are former teammates … ND senior D Nathan Borega and WMU senior RW Caley Jones (Vernon Vipers) … ND senior D Sean Molina and WMU senior LW Matt Addesa (Dubuque Fighting Saints) … Irish senior D Sean Seyferth and WMU senior LW Jeff Wojcik (Compuware Ambassadors) … ND junior D Ryan Clark and WMU junior C Chad Kline (Lincoln Stars) … Irish junior LW Chad Chipchase and WMU junior RW Jay McCabe (summer hockey) … ND freshman LW Jake Wiegand and McCabe (Compuware Ambassadors).
1998-99 ND-WMU RECAPS
@ND 7, WMU 1 (Oct. 10): Brian Urick and David Inman scored twice while Ben Simon had 1G-3A …Inman’s breakaway opened the scoring seven minutes into the game and the Irish added four PPGs while striking twice in a 31-second span of 4-on-4 … Forrest Karr had 20 saves while helping stop six of seven WMU man-up chances … WMU’s Chris Peck stopped 34 of 41 shots, 17 of which came during the nine Irish power-play chances … Can Carlson and Chad Chipchase scored the other ND goals while Jason Redenius scored for WMU.
@WMU 2, ND 1 (Oct. 24): ND owned a 32-22 shot edge but could not solve Matt Barnes (31 saves) … the victory gave WMU its 14th win over the Irish in the last 15 at Lawson Arena … WMU struck late in the first period, when Chuck Mindel collected a loose puck and wristed a shot from the left corner that deflected off Karr’s right shoulder … ND tied the game early in the second, on a play initiated by Jay Kopischke’s right-side faceoff win … Brett Henning made a pass back into the slot for Kopischke, whose rebounded shot was put back by Matt Van Arkel (1:14) … Steve Rymsha scored the game-winner at 3:14 of the third, knocking home a rebounded shot by Redenius … ND was 0-for-4 on the power play).
@ND 9, WMU 5 (Nov. 20): Chipchase scored 32 seconds into the game (he added another goal in the 2nd period) and ND built its lead to -0, with eight different Irish players eventually scoring goals (vs. three different WMU goalies) … Ben Simon, Carlson and Van Arkel each had 1G-2A for the Irish … ND’s nine goals came on just 21 shots (.4238 shooting pct.) … WMU scored five 3rd-period goals but could not overcome ND’s biggest goal output since a 10-2 win over St.-Francis Xavier on Oct. 14, 1993 … the nine goals were most by ND in a CCHA game since a 9-6 win over Miami on Jan. 14, 1983 … the 14 combined goals were most in a game involving ND since the Irish dropped a 10-6 game to Ferris State on Jan. 11, 1994 … other ND goalscorers included Joe Dusbabek, Urick, Tyson Fraser and Craig Hagkull … WMU’s goalscorers included Rymsha, redenius, Chuck Novock and Corey Waring.
AROUND THE HORN
Junior RW Ryan Dolder has 10 points (3G-7A) in the last 12 games and remains atop the Irish scoring charts with 16 points (5G-11A) … senior RW Joe Dusbabek’s PPG vs. LSSU made him the eighth different player to record a game-winning goal for ND this season (in eight wins) … Dusbabek leads ND with nine points in CCHA play (3G-6A) and ranks second on the team with five PPGs … he has totaled four points in the last five games (2G-2A ) … sophomore F David Inman returned to center in the LSSU series and had 1G-1A in the two games, in his first action since returning from the World Junior Championship … Inman’s goal in the 2-1 win was his first in five games played and just his second since Nov. 6 (spanning nine games played) … both of freshman RW Michael Chin’s goals this season have come during the last seven games (he scored the equalizer in the 1-1 tie with LSSU) … Inman remains the only Irish players with more than six goals … senior LW Andy Jurkowski has played in a team-best 78 consecutive games … junior LW Jay Kopischke has 3G-3A in his last 10 games played … senior C Ben Simon’s five-game point streak was snapped in the Denver Cup … Simon has 113 career pts (37G-76A) in 128 games … Simon notched his third career two-goal game in the 5-3 UMass win (he has yet to record a hat trick) … Simon-who was held without a point at the DU Cup-has 10 points (4G-6A) in his last 12 games (five in first 12) … Simon is averaging just 2.2 shots/game (53 in 24 GP), compared to 3.1 in ’98-’99 (113 in 37) and 2.8 over his first three seasons (287 in 104) … Dolder was recognized by the coaching staff for his emerging leadership by being named the team’s third alternate captain on Dec. 1 … Jurkowski posted the first multi-point game of his career in the 4-3 loss to Princeton (2A) and is tied for sixth on the team with 10 points (4G-6A, he had 2G-4A in 70 games over his first three seasons, as mostly a D) … Jurkowski has no points in the last seven games (0G-2A in the last 11) and is in the midst of a 15-game goalless streak (he had 4G in the previous six games) … Dolder, junior LW Dan Carlson and Jurkowski are the only players to appear in all 26 games this season … sophomore Sam Cornelius played five games as a fourth-line LW/extra D in mid-December and early January … freshman C Connor Dunlop has not registered a point since Nov. 13 (13 team games), with no points in six games played while missing three games due to injury and four while at the World Junior Championship … sophomore C Brett Henning has no points since Nov. 28 (he has no points in his last eight GP while also playing in the World Juniors) … Inman has 3A in his last five games, after totaling just one in the first 17 … Carlson’s four-game point streak was snapped in the LSSU tie (he has points in seven of the last nine games, 3G-4A).
FROM THE BLUE LINE
Senior D Sean Seyferth has five points this season (2G-3A) after totaling seven in his first three seasons combined (4G-3A) … senior D Sean Molina’s seven points this season (1G-6A) are a career-best … junior D Ryan Clark (from nearby Littleton, Colo.) scored in the Denver game for his first goal of the season and second of his career … Molina scored in the 4-3 loss to Princeton on Dec. 19, for his first career goal … Molina is tied for fifth on the squad in plus-minus (even), after ranking second on the ’98-’99 squad (+13) … Molina has totaled just 35 career penalties (four in the last 16 games) while playing the most games (132) of any current Irish player (he is averaging 3.8 games per penalty for his career) … Molina is tied for fifth on the 1999-2000 team with six assists, equaling his career-best season total from ’97-’98 … senior D Tyson Fraser’s assist vs. UMass was his 50th career point (7G-43A) and marked his 45th career game with a goal or assist … freshman D Evan Nielsen has 2G-3A in the last nine games.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Freshman Tony Zasowski ranks 7th overall in the CCHA with a 2.47 GAA , which would best the Irish record of 2.58 set by Forrest Karr last season, while sophomore Jeremiah Kimento (3.01) ranks 14th in the CCHA … Zasowski has allowed just 24 even-strength goals in 14 games played … Zasowski and Kimento combined for 56 saves and three GA in the recent LSSU series … Zasowski picked up the 2-1 win over LSSU in his first appearance since Dec. 10, making 29 saves and helping stop all six Lakers PPs … Zasowski closed the game with 28 straight saves, after allowing an early goal … he had allowed four goals in each of his previous two games … Zasowski’s season save percentage (.908) sits ahead of the long-standing ND record of .907 (set by Mark Kronholm in 1970-71) … Zasowski has allowed 0-2 goals in nine of his 13 starts … Kimento closed the 1-1 game vs. LSSU with 25 straight saves (he totaled 27) … Zasowski turned in an earlier shutout streak of 130:36, spanning 54 minutes of the 2-1 loss at UNH and the first 76 minutes of the MSU series … ND’s team GAA of 2.80 could challenge the team record (2.61 ,set in 1998-99), but the Irish have allowed 37 goals in the last 12 games … Zasowski (19 saves vs. UAF, 24 vs. MSU) is the second ND goalie with two solo shutouts in the same season (Karr shut out OSU and Miami in ’98-’99) … Kimento posted a 19-save shutout vs. Union, marking the first time that the Irish have shut out three opponents in the same season … junior G Kyle Kolquist made his first career start (and second career appearance) in the 4-2 loss to Princeton, with 21 saves and just one even-strength goal allowed.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Notre Dame has posted a 16-3-5 home record in regular-season CCHA games during the past two seasons (one loss to Ferris State, two vs. Michigan) … nearly 40 pct. of ND’s goals this season have come on the power play (23 of 59, including four of the last six), with senior C Ben Simon (5 of 6), junior LW Dan Carlson (4 of 6) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (4 of 5) each scoring the bulk of their goals on the PP … ND’s most noticeable dropoffs from last season are in goals per game (3.0 to 2.3) and first-period scoring margin (+6 to -9) … after shutting out Michigan State on Dec. 4 (1-0), the Irish gave up 27 goals in the next seven games before allowing just three in the LSSU series (then eight at NMU) … 10 of ND’s last 16 games have been decided by 0-1 goals (4-3-3 in those games) … ND’s last 11 OT games have produced 10 ties and one loss (0-1-5 in ’98-’99), with ND’s last OT victory coming nearly two years ago, a 5-4 win at Bowling Green on Jan. 24, 1998 … the Irish went 0-4-1 this season when playing the first game of non-conference weekend action … ND’s eight wins have featured eight different game-winning goalscorers … the Irish are 17-6-5 (.696) in their last 28 regular-season home games, with three losses by one goal … the Irish are 22-0-3 during the past two seasons when leading at the second intermission (6-0-0 this season) and 17-2-2 when ahead at the first break (5-2-0) … junior RW Ryan Dolder (GWG, 3 GWA) is the only Irish player with more than two game-winning points this season (a total of 14 players have scored or assisted on the eight GWGs this season) … prior to the 4-1 first period vs. Vermont, the Irish had been outscored 13-4 in the first period this season (now 30-21, with a 23-18 opponent edge in the second, 21-20 opponent edge in the third) … since opening the ’98-’99 season with a 10-0-2 record at home, the Irish are just 10-8-4 in their last 22 home games.
RACKING UP THE MILES: Notre Dame’s 11 road trips this season cover many miles, with two trips to Denver, plus last week’s trip to the upper peninsula for a series at Northern Michigan, the upcoming trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, and earlier visits to Omaha, Neb. and Durham, N.H. … the other trips include Big Rapids/Grand Rapids, Mich., East Lansing, Mich. (2), Bowling Green, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio … the reworked CCHA “cluster” schedule resulted in the loss of the customary short trips to Kalamazoo (Western Michigan) or Ann Arbor (Michigan).
NEARING THE STRETCH RUN: Despite an 0-4-0 start in the CCHA, ND is 5-3-4 in its last 12 CCHA games and tied for seventh, three points out of fourth … ND ranks 10th in the CCHA for overall goals/gm (2.27, just .02 ahead of Ohio State and Alaska Fairbanks), 6th in goals allowed (2.85), 8th in power-play pct. (.150), 8th in penalty-kill pct. (.840) and 1st in fewest penalty minutes/gm (16.42) … sophomore C/LW David Inman is tied for 21st in the CCHA with eight goals in 22 games played (he had 10 in ’98-’99) while senior C Ben Simon is tied for fifth in the CCHA with five PPGs in 25 games played … Simon and junior RW Ryan Dolder (5G-11A) is tied for 26th on the CCHA scoring charts (Dolder is tied for 14th in assists). LINEUP SHUFFLE: Notre Dame faced some interesting lineup choices in the Princeton series (just 10 healthy forwards and seven D), due to the absence of three U.S. junior national team members: sophomore C Brett Henning, sophomore C/LW David Inman and freshman C Connor Dunlop … three others missed that series: senior RW Joe Dusbabek (illness), junior D Ryan Clark (injury) and freshman RW John Wroblewski (injury), with Dusbabek and Clark returning for the Denver Cup and Wroblewski back for the LSSU series.
AVOIDING THE SIN BIN: ND’s low team GAA (2.80) is due in large part to a surging penalty kill (.840, 29-for-33 streak) and the CCHA’s least-penalized squad (7.7 penalties, 16.4 PIM/gm, leading to just 5.8 opp. PP chances/gm) … since ranking as the CCHA’s most-penalized team in ’95-’96 (11.31), the Irish were the CCHA’s least-penalized in ’96-’97 (8.69) and ’97-’98 (6.37) and the third-least penalized in ’98-’99 (8.40) … ND’s more disciplined players include soph. RW John Wroblewski (3 penalties), senior LW Andy Jurkowksi (5, 24 in 96 career games), senior C Ben Simon (8, compared to 30-31-31 in the past three seasons), and sophomore C Brett Henning (4, 19 in 60 career games) … senior D Sean Molina has nine penalties this season (35 in 132 career games) … senior D Nathan Borega had just 16 penalties as a sophomore and 13 as junior but has 26 this season … the Irish were whistled for 13 penalties in the 6-0 loss at NMU (most in 20 games, since 15 in the 4-2 loss to Ferris state on Oct. 24).
IRISH HELP U.S. REACH WORLD SEMI’S: Three ND players returned from a three-week stint with the U.S. National Junior Team, helping the U.S. reach the semi-finals of the World Junior Championship in Sweden (Dec. 26-Jan. 4) … this marked the fourth straight year that Irish players have been members of the prestigious 22-player team … the invitees included soph. C Brett Henning (Huntington, N.Y.), soph. C/LW David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) and fr. C Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.)-most from any school on the initial roster … early U.S. highlights included ties with eventual finalist Czech Republic (2-2) and rival Canada (1-1) … Dunlop assisted on the first U.S. goal and scored unassisted to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead, in a 5-1 quarterfinal win over Sweden … the Czechs beat the U.S. in the semi’s (4-1) before Canada claimed the bronze with a shootout win over the U.S. (4-3, 3-1 in shootout) … Dunlop-who alternated as the 2nd and 3rd-line center-led the U.S. in faceoff pct. (64), winning 69 of 108 … Henning won 14 of his 37 faceeoffs as the 4th-line center while Inman was used as a winger on several lines … the team first assembled Dec. 13 in West Point, N.Y., and was introduced between periods of the N.Y. Rangers-L.A. Kings game on Dec. 15 … Boston College leads the way with nine selections to the National Junior Team during the past four years, followed by ND (7).