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Irish Hockey Looks To Take Final Steps Towards Securing Playoff Home-Ice

February 29, 2000

GOOD BYE?: After playing with just 17 healthy skaters in the 1-1 tie at BG on Feb. 18, Notre Dame was hoping to get healthy and rested with last week’s off week … as it turns out, another key player was lost-as sophomore LW/C David Inman likely will miss the rest of the season due to illness (see p. 2) … ND is 2-2-1 during the Poulin era in games following bye weeks, including a 2-1 loss earlier this season at New Hampshire … other recent games after bye weeks (not including semester break) include: a 6-3 win over Lake Superior in `95-’96, a 5-4 OT win at BG in `97-’98, a 5-5 tie at then-No. 1 Boston College and a 4-3 loss at Ohio State (both in `98-’99).

FINAL-WEEK FOCUS: During the Poulin era, Notre Dame is just 1-4-0 in games during the final week of the regular season, with a 4-2 win last season at Miami securing home ice for the first round of the CCHA Tournament … the Irish lost to Ferris State (6-3) on the final week of Poulin’s first season (`95-’96) before dropping a 3-2 game vs. MSU to end `96-’97 … ND closed the `97-’98 regular season with a 1-0 loss to Michigan before splitting at Miami in the final week last season (3-2 loss in OT, 4-2 win).

NOTES FROM BG SERIES (5-3, 1-1): Tony Zasowski opened the first game with 25 saves but it was the surging ND power play-led by northern Ohio native Ben Simon (Shaker Heights)-that helped hold off BG … the first 5:00 of the final period produced three goals, including two scores by BG for a 4-3 score and a frantic finish … Simon scored the seventh GWG of his career, at 4:05 of the third period, tapping-in a wide shot by senior D Tyson Fraser that rebounded off the back boards … Simon’s pass around the boards set up a skilled empty-net goal from junior LW Dan Carlson … Simon earlier converted on the PP, for a 3-1 lead with 0:08 left before the second intermission … ND had built an early 2-0 lead behind a SHG from freshman C Connor Dunlop, the team’s first “shorty” since the season-opening loss to Michigan … later in the opening period, clever stickwork and passing from Simon and Carlson set up senior RW Joe Dusbabek’s goal from the left side of the crease … Zasowski’s 31-save night included a series of acrobatic saves, with various flops, kick saves and covers in a brilliant 17-save first period … three freshmen combined for ND’s only goal in the second game while Zasowski made 20 saves … fourth-line LW Jake Wiegand scored for his first point of the season, assisted by D Evan Nielsen and Dunlop … ND was forced to play with just 17 healthy skaters, due to an injury to junior D Ryan Clark and illness with senior C Troy Bagne (four others did not make the trip, due to injury and/or rehab).

PRECIOUS POWER PLAY: Notre Dame possibly has benefitted more from power-play goals than any other CCHA team (12-8-4 when scoring one-plus PPG, 8-1-1 when scoring two-plus, 2-7-2 when scoring none) … seven of ND’s 14 wins can trace their victory margins to PPGs (including one win from each of the last five series) … the Irish have lost six games where PPGs helped provide the margin of defeat, but three came in the first six games and opposing PPGs have led to no ND loss margins in the last 17 games … ND’s pct. of PPGs (38) to overall goals (89) ranks second-highest in the CCHA (.427, behind OSU’s .453), with 19 of ND’s last 36 goals coming on the PP (.528) … ND is averaging 1.06 PPGs/gm but also averages just 1.42 non-PPGs/gm … the Irish head into the MSU series with PPGs in eight of the last 10 games (15-for-67, .224) while ND stopped 22-of-24 opponent PP during the last five games (helping pick up seven crucial points) … senior C Ben Simon (7 of 9), junior LW Dan Carlson (9 of 15) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (5 of 8) each have scored the bulk of their goals on the PP … here’s how the rest of the CCHA shakes out, in pct. of goals on the PP (as of Feb. 28): UAF (.427), WMU (.412), Mich. (.363), MSU (.398), FSU (.346), BG (.343), UNO (.327), Miami (.323), NMU (.282) and LSSU (.267).

MORE ON THE PP: ND ranks fifth in the CCHA with a .172 overall PP pct. and owns the fourth-most PPGs (38), behind Michigan (49), MSU (43) and WMU (40) … unlike ’98-’99-when a talented first unit accounted for the bulk of ND’s 38 PPGs (.191)-the Irish this season have received PPGs both the first and second units, with personnel on those units fluctuating more than in ’98-’99 … the first PP unit in recent weeks has included senior C Ben Simon (7 PPGs this season, 18 career), senior RW Joe Dusbabek (5, 10), junior RW Ryan Dolder (3, 3), junior LW Dan Carlson (9, 15) and senior D Tyson Fraser (2, 5) … top performers on the second unit-which accounted for 3-of-4 PPGs in the 7-4 win over UNO on Feb. 12-have included freshman C Connor Dunlop, freshman RW Michael Chin (2) sophomore LW/C David Inman (5, 9, likely out for the year with mono), senior D Sean Molina and freshman D Evan Nielsen (2) … candidates to fill Inman’s spot include junior LW Jay Kopischke (1, 1), sophomore C Brett Henning (2, 3) and junior RW Matt Van Arkel (0, 5) … ND’s PP unit in ’98-’99 included Carlson and Fraser (part-time) at the point, plus Simon and graduated wingers Aniket Dhadphale and Brian Urick (graduated D Benoit Cotnoir split time with Fraser at the point on the first unit) … that first unit combined for 23 PPGs in `98-’99 (Dhadphale had nine, Urick six and Simon five, plus three each from Carlson and Fraser).

PLAYOFF PEEK:ND (11-9-6) holds a two-point lead on Ferris State (12-12-2) in the race for the fifth and final home-ice spot in the CCHA Tournament (ND can finish no lower than sixth) … the scenario is nearly-identical to the final weekend of the `98-’99 season, when ND headed to Miami with a one-point cushion on NMU for the fourth and final home ice spot (the tournament expanded to 10 teams this season), with ND maintaining that one-point lead with a split at Miami … FSU hosts 10th-place Western Michigan this week (WMU has clinched a playoff spot but could climb to eighth) … FSU would receive the final home-ice spot if finishing tied with the Irish, due to the first tiebreaker (league wins) … ND can clinch home ice through any combination of three points between the ND results (points gained) and the FSU results (points lost) … ND could clinch home ice on Friday (with help from WMU) but FSU cannot clinch on Friday (FSU also would need additional points-or have ND “lose” points-on Saturday) … there also is a remote possibility that ND could play host to Bowling Green (11-14-1) in the first round, but the Falcons would have to sweep first-place Michigan this week while hoping for a WMU sweep of FSU … FSU would win a tiebreaker with BG (2-0-0 head-to-head edge).

DON’T FORGET THE PLAY-IN: Even if ND heads to FSU for the first round (March 10-12, best 2-of-3), the Irish still could return home to host the “play-in” game (March 14) … that game will pit the lowest two remaining seeds, following the five first-round series … if one of the 7-10 seeds pulls off an upset, the ND-FSU winner would host the play-in … if the top four seeds hold, the N. 4 seed-currently Lake Superior-would be the play-in host … if two or more teams seeded 7-10 register upsets, then the ND-FSU winner would advance to the semi-finals (March 17, at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena) without having to participate in the play-in.

INJURY REPORT:ND sophomore LW/C David Inman will miss the MSU series with infectious mononucleosis and likely will not be cleared for a return before the end of the season … a member of the 1999-2000 U.S. Junior National Team (he holds joint citizenship), Inman is ND’s fifth-leading scorer, with 13 goals (second on the team) and seven assists in 32 games played (he missed four games while at the World Junior Championship) … he is tied for third on the team in PPGs (5) and plus-minus (+2) … Inman recently scored two goals in the 3-3 tie at UAF before adding 2G-2A in the 7-4 win over UNO (most points by an ND player this season, later equaled by Ben Simon in the 5-3 win at BG) … junior LW Chad Chipchase underwent reconstructive knee surgery in mid-February and will not return this season … Chipchase-who is expected to make a full recovery for his senior season-was limited to primarily third and fourth-line duty this season, with no points, five penalties and 12 shots on goal in 15 games played (he had 10G-5A in ’98-’99, as one of three ND players to appear in all 38 games) … freshman D Paul Harris continues to recover from surgery in mid-December to remove a cyst from his neck … Harris appeared in nine of ND’s first 20 games, with no points, two penalties and seven shots on goal.

UPWARDLY MOBILE: Excluding the early losses at Ferris State, ND has posted a solid record of 6-2-3 (.682) when heading into a game versus a team that is situated above or tied with the Irish in the CCHA standings: 1-0-0 vs. Miami, 1-1-0 vs. MSU, 1-0-1 vs. Lake Superior, 0-1-1 vs. NMU, 2-0-0 vs. WMU and 1-0-0 vs. UNO … on the flip side, the Irish went just 5-3-3 (.591) this season when facing a team that was ranked lower in the CCHA standings at game time: 3-0-1 vs. UAF, 0-2-1 vs. UNO, 1-1-0 vs. OSU, 1-0-1 vs. BG.

NO BROOMS ALLOWED: ND’s 13 CCHA series have yielded just four sweeps (two for, two against), with each coming close to being non-sweeps … ND was swept in its first two series (5-3, 6-1 at home vs. Michigan, 4-1, 4-2 on the road vs. Ferris State) … both of the two-goal games in those series featured late empty-netters for the final margin … ND needed a pair of one-goal wins to sweep Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 12-13 (1-0, 3-2), with Tony Zasowski posting a 19-save shutout while ND scored three 3rd-period goals to erase a 2-0 deficit in the second game … the only CCHA sweep involving ND since mid-November (spanning the last eight series) saw ND top Western Michigan (4-3 in overtime and 4-1) … to win the first game vs. WMU, the Irish needed a goal by Dan Carlson with 1:23 left in regulation (he also scored the OT game-winner).

A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE: ND’s 7-4 record in one goal games (.636) is the best one-goal win pct. by an Irish team since ND rejoined the CCHA in ’92-’93 … ND’s 2.47 goals/gm is lowest in team history (the ’96-’97 team averaged 2.63) but the Irish have totaled 13 goals in their last three games, 30 in the last 10 … with the 1-1 tie at BG, ND missed out on the chance to even its record at .500 for the first time this season, with a 7-3-4 mark in the last 14 games (the Irish were 7-12-3 after the Jan. 1 loss to Colorado College) … the tie at BG is ND’s seventh of the season-extending the team record set on Jan. 29 at Alaska Fairbanks (the ’93-’94 and ’98-’99 teams each posted five ties) … ND has played to overtime in seven of its last eight series and in nine games overall (2-0-7), one shy of equaling the team record set in 1997-98 (2-4-4) … ND has relied less on freshmen for scoring in the past two seasons: the freshman class totaled 79 points in 1996-97 and 91 in ’97-’98, but just 34 in `98-’99 and 45 this season … ND’s reliance on power-play goals also can be seen in the individual plus-minus numbers, as senior C Ben Simon (+8) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (+4) are the only ND players above +2 (seven ND players finished higher than +2 last season) … the 5-3 game at BG represents the only game in the last 10 in which ND has been outshot (34-23) … the Irish had 12 goals in a two-game stretch (also 7-4 vs. UNO) before failing to get a second goal in the 1-1 tie at BG.

THE SERIES MSU holds a 44-28-5 series edge vs. ND (27-12-1 at home, 16-16-4 at ND), dating back to 1921 … the Spartans own a 17-2-3 series edge since the Irish rejoined the CCHA in ’92-’93, with ND breaking through for a 6-1 win at MSU on Nov. 1, 1997, ending a 17-game winless streak (0-14-3) vs. MSU … the teams split a series earlier this season (ND won 1-0 at home on Dec. 4 and lost the next night at MSU, 4-1) … ND is 2-4-1 in its last seven vs. MUS but is 0-4-0 at Munn Ice Arena (outscored 11-3 in those games) since the 6-1 win in ’97-’98 … ND has totaled just six goals in its last six games vs. MSU … the home team is 5-0-1 in the last six games of the series … MSU beat ND 4-1 for the ’81-’82 CCHA Tournament title (current Irish head coach Dave Poulin was captain of that ND team) … prior to the recent 2-1 win at OSU on Feb. 5, the Irish had lost their previous 12 games where the winning goal was scored in the final minute of regulation or OT, including a 4-3 loss at Michigan State on Dec. 6, 1997 (Mark Loeding scored with 0:54 left in the third period).

EARLIER THIS SEASON … @ND 1, MSU 0 (12/4) – Junior RW Ryan Dolder swept home a deflected shot by classmate Ryan Clark with five minutes to play and freshman Tony Zasowski made 15 of his 24 saves in the final period … ND posted its first shutout of MSU since a 2-0 win at MSU on Feb. 24, 1978, with a 41-game span in the series between the shutouts … the win was ND’s first at home over MSU since Dec. 3, 1982 (3-2), with the previous 10 games at the Joyce Center producing six MSU wins and four ties … MSU suffered its fourth loss in five games (four goals in those four defeats) … the goal-scoring sequence began on a right-side faceoff in the MSU zone, with Shawn Horcoff outdrawing Irish sophomore Brett Henning and sliding the puck to his left … MSU freshman D Brad Fast redirected the puck across the ice but ND senior LW Andy Jurkowski raced to the left boards, beating freshman D John-Michael Liles and sophomore RW Adam Hall to the puck … Jurkowski banked a pass off the boards to Clark at the left point and the 6-4 D gathered the puck before firing a shot past the sliding Hall … Henning was trying to screen freshman G Ryan Miller but quickly jerked his body out of the way … the puck bounced off Miller’s chest and headed to the far side of the crease, with Fast trying to clear the puck before the righthanded Dolder swooped in and flicked the shot into the open net (14:56) … in the closing seconds, MSU freshman LW Brian Maloney nearly tied the game when he lifted a shot from the right side of the crease but the puck glanced squarely off the crossbar … both teams went 0-for-4 on the PP … Zasowski had 24 saves, Miller 22. @MSU 4, ND 1 – MSU scored in every period and rode the strong goaltending of Joe Blackburn (24 saves), who extended his history of strong play vs. ND … Zasowski saw his shutout streak end at 130:36, stretching back to the first period of the 2-1 loss at UNH … ND quickly responded to MSU’s third goal, on a frantic triple-rebound sequence at 11:55 of the second period … senior C Ben Simon set the play in motion with a shot from the left circle, followed by two shots from senior RW Joe Dusbabek before junior LW Jay Kopischke crashed the net and smacked the puck past D Brad Hodgins … MSU collected two 4-on-4 goals late in the first period, with junior C Andrew Bogle scoring at 16:06 followed by a goal from Hodgins 23 seconds later … junior RW Sean Patchell and freshman D Brad Fast assisted on the first goal, with Bogle nudging a backhander from the right side that found its way through Zasowski’s pads … Horcoff set up Hodgins, who beat Zasowski with a rising shot from the left slot (16:29) … MSU sophomore D Jon Insana padded the lead with a strong individual effort … Bogle and junior RW John Nail set up the goal, with Insana maneuvering through the left circle before whipping a shot between Zasowskis legs (11:01) … MSU capped the scoring at 13:21 of the third period, with Patchell passing to Jon Insana near mid-ice … Insana skated down the left side and slanted into the slot before lifting a backhanded shot over Zasowski’s stick and outstretched right leg … ND played without injured freshman C Connor Dunlop.

SERIES SCORERS Senior C Ben Simon (4G-2A) is the only ND player with multiple career goals or three-plus career points vs. MSU with the rest of the players combining for just five goals (one each by junior LWs Dan Carlson, Chad Chipchase and Jay Kopischke, senior LW Andy Jurkowski and junior RW Ryan Dolder) and seven assists (two by senior RW Joe Dusbabek, one each by senior Ds Sean Molina and Tyson Fraser, junior RW Matt Van Arkel, junior D Ryan Clark and Jurkowski) vs. MSU … Simon’s first career goal came in the 15th game of ’96-’97, a last-minute 4-3 loss at MSU on Dec. 6, 1996 (Simon opened his career with no goals on his first 31 shots but has 27 goals on 201 shots during the past two seasons) … Simon has missed two of the 11 MSU games during his career (both in ’96-’97), due to a game misconduct vs. St. Cloud State (forcing him to miss the 3-0 home loss to MSU on Jan. 28) and a coach’s decision in the 3-2, season-ending loss at MSU … Irish junior D Ryan Clark played in just two of the six games vs. MSU during his first two seasons, due to a coaches decision after the Oct. 31, 1997 loss (he did not play in the 6-1 Irish win on Nov. 1) and a midseason shoulder injury that forced him to miss all three MSU games last season.

FRIEND OR FOE? Several ND and MSU players are former teammates (in addition to the former USA teammates listed on p. 1) … ND senior D Nathan Borega and MSU junior LW Sean Patchel played together on the Vernon (B.C.) Vipers while Irish senior D Tyson Fraser and MSU senior C Sean Horcoff were members of Team British Columbia … ND freshman LW Jake Wiegand holds the unique distinction of having played junior hockey with MSU junior G Joe Blackburn (Compuware Ambassadors) and Michigan sophomore G Josh Blackburn (Lincoln Stars).

CLOSING THE DEAL: ND quietly has laid claim to a lengthy streak, similar to the one held by Michigan until recently … the Irish have gone unbeaten in their last 39 games when holding a lead at the second intermission (33-0-6, 10-0-3 this season) … the last time ND lost after holding a second-intermission lead was Jan. 9, 1998, in the second game of a three-game series at UAF … UAF’s Sean Fraser tied the game (2-2) with a PPG in the third minute of the final period before Chris Kirwan converted a breakaway with 0:45 left in OT.

GOOD THINGS BOUND TO HAPPEN: The 1-1 tie at ND has held the shot edge (31-21) but gone on to lose or tie … all told, the Irish are just 8-9-2 when holding the shot edge … ND has outshot its opponents in eight of the last 10 games (plus one game that had equal shot totals), with the Irish owning a 6-2-2 record in those games (and an average shot margin of 34-23).

FIVE ALIVE: Despite being one of the CCHA’s lowest-scoring teams, ND has one of the league’s top-scoring fivesomes, as five Irish players are bunched among the CCHA’s top-52 scorers: junior LW Dan Carlson (15G-14A), senior RW Joe Dusbabek (8G-15A, 31 GP), junior RW Ryan Dolder (7G-13A), senior C Ben Simon (9G-18A, 34 GP) and sophomore LW/C David Inman (13G-7A) … only Michigan (9) has more players with 20-plus points.

PLAYOFF SERIES VETERANS: Despite having no NCAA tournament experience or trips to the CCHA semi-finals, ND’s large contingent of veterans (eight seniors, seven juniors) owns the unique experience of having played in two CCHA first-round series that were extended to three games (4-2, 1-2/ot, 3-4 at Michigan in ’97-’98, 3-2, 1-7, 2-3 vs. NMU last season) … ND’s current leading scorer-junior LW Dan Carlson (15G-14A)-also owns the most career playoff points of any current ND player, with 2G-3A in the playoff series vs. Michigan and NMU … senior C Ben Simon had 2G-2A in those games while junior RW Ryan Dolder was an unexpected hero in the Michigan series, with two goals (including a game-winner) … junior LW Jay Kopischke had just nine points in his first two seasons, but he had assists in both the Michigan and NMU playoff series … senior D Nathan Borega has four career goals, including a PPG in the playoff win at Michigan … the current seniors and juniors own a combined 17 playoff points (7G-10A), with 1A by senior D Tyson Fraser and 2A by injured junior LW Chad Chipchase … excluding third-string G Kyle Kolquist (2 career GP) and Chipchase (92), ND’s other 13 seniors and juniors have combined to log 1,430 career games played with the Irish.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: ND’s 14 wins have featured eight different game-winning goalscorers … the Irish are 20-7-5 (.703) in their last 32 regular-season home games (three losses by one goal) … the Irish are 33-0-6 in the past two seasons when leading at the second intermission (10-0-3 this season), 21-2-2 when ahead at the first break (9-1-0) … ND’s leaders in GW points: junior LW Dan Carlson (4 GWG-GWA), junior RW Ryan Dolder (2 GWG-3 GWA), senior RW Joe Dusbabek (GWG-3 GWA) and senior C Ben Simon (2 GWG-2 GWA) … they are the only ND players with more than three GW points this season (15 have scored or assisted on the 13 GWGs ) … prior to the 4-1 first period vs. Vermont, ND had been outscored 13-4 in the 1st period this season (now 36-30, 28-28 in the 2nd, 33-29 opponent edge in the 3rd).


* Junior LW DAN CARLSON (team-best 15G, plus 14A) remains atop the ND scoring charts, with goals in five of the last six games and eight of the last 10 (9G-5A) … Carlson also leads the team in PPGs (9), GWGs (4) and shots on goal (103, 2.86/gm) … he has scored or assisted on five of ND’s 14 winning goals this season and is tied for 10th all-time at ND with seven career GWGs (just eight players have 10-plus, with Brian Urick and Dave Poulin sharing the record of 13) … his four GWGs this season (one in each of three straight series before UNO, including two in OT) are tied for eighth in the Irish record book … since Dave Bankoske’s record seven GWGs in ’89-’90, only Urick (5, ’97-’98) has posted more GWGs in a season that Carlson’s four … Carlson had 3G-2A in the WMU series, including the game-tying goal in the first game with 1:23 left to play and the OT game-winner in that 4-3 game … he came back in the next game (2-1) at UAF to record his second GWG in three games (he also scored in the last minute of OT the next week at OSU, 2-1) … after a slow start (4G-5A in first 15 GP), Carlson has 11G-9A in the last 17 games … his 15 goals include nine on the PP, one 6-on-5 (he totaled six PPGs in his first two seasons) … Carlson’s four GWGs are more than his total from his first two seasons (3) … he has posted 27-29 points in each of his three seasons (11G-17A in `97-’98, 7G-20A in `98-’99).

* Senior RW Joe Dusbabek (8G-15A) is third on the team in scoring, despite missing the OSU series due to muscle spasms … he is tied for second on the team for scoring in CCHA games (6G-12A) and is tied for third in overall PPGs (5) … Dusbabek had 1G-2A in both games of the Jan. 21-22 WMU series and has 13 points in his last 13 games played (5G-8A).

* Senior C Ben Simon has 123 career points (40G-83A) in 138 games … Simon notched his third career two-goal game in the 5-3 UMass win before adding another two-goal game in the 5-3 win at BG on Feb. 18 (he has yet to record a hat trick) … he has 20 points (7G-13A) in his last 21 games (five in first 12) and halted a 14-game goal drought in the 7-4 UNO win on Feb. 12 (he also had 3A in that series) … Simon’s recent surge includes points in four of the last five games (3G-6A) … Simon’s final trip as a collegiate to BG (he hails from nearby Shaker Heights) yielded his four-point game in the 5-3 win (both of his goals were PPGs, including his seventh career GWG (tied for 10th in ND history).

* Despite going without a point in the recent UNO series, junior RW Ryan Dolder has 15 points (5G-10A) in the last 21 games (2G-3A in the last eight) and ranks fourth on the team in scoring (7G-14A) … Dolder-an invited walk-on in ’97-’98-holds ND’s longest streak for consecutive games played (58) … Dolder was recognized by the coaching staff for his emerging leadership by being named the team’s third alternate captain on Dec. 1.

* Freshman RW Michael Chin had 2G in the win over UNO and has 4G-4A in the last nine games (no points in BG series) … Chin’s recent surge includes 3A in the UAF series and 1G-1A in the 2-1 win at OSU … his 11 points in CCHA games (5G-6A) are tied for fourth on the team … each of Chin’s six goals have come during the last 17 games (he scored the equalizer in the 1-1 tie with LSSU, on Jan. 8) … Chin (6G-6A) leads all ND freshmen in goals while closely trailing C Connor Dunlop (3G-12A) and D Even Nielsen (4G-9A) for most points among the Irish rookies.

* Senior LW Andy Jurkowski had played in a team-best 86 consecutive games before missing the BG series due to a hand injury (he is expected to return for the MSU series) … Jurkowski posted the first multi-point game of his career in the 4-3 loss to Princeton (2A) and is tied for eighth on the team with 12 points (4G-8A, 2G-4A in 70 games over his first three seasons, as mostly a D) … Jurkowski had an assist in the 4-3 win over WMU to end a seven-game point (he also had an assist at UAF) drought but still is looking to end a 23-game goal drought (he had 4G in the previous 6 GP) … after Jurkowski missed the BG series, only Dolder and Carlson have appeared in all 36 Irish games this season.

* Junior LW Jay Kopischke has 4G-4A in his last 20 games played but has no points in the last six (he totaled nine points in his first two seasons).

* Dunlop (ND’s top-scoring rookie, 3G-12A) assisted on Dan Carlson’s goal in the 4-1 win over WMU for his first point since returning from the World Juniors … the freshman C added his eighth assist of the season in the 3-3 tie at UAF before picking up 3A in the 7-4 win over UNO, a SHG in the 5-3 win at BG and an assist in the 1-1 tie vs. the Falcons …the goal was just the third of the season for Dunlop (he had ND’s only other SHG, in the season opener vs. Michigan) and marked his first score since Nov. 27, ending a 14-game goal drought … he takes a three-game point streak into the MSU series (1G-4A).

* Sophomore C Brett Henning picked up an assist in the 7-4 win over UNO, for his first point with the Irish since Nov. 28 (he had no points in his previous 15 GP, while also playing in the World Juniors).

* Sophomore Sam Cornelius played five games as a fourth-line LW/extra D in mid-December and early January.

* Sophomore LW David Inman (13G-7A) has 6G-4A since returning from the World Juniors, including 2 PPGs and 2A in the 7-4 win over UNO on Feb. 12 (the most points by an ND player in a single game this season, matched the next week by senior C Ben Simon at BG) … Inman-who likely will miss the rest of the season due to mono-also scored the second goal in the 4-3 win over WMU on Jan. 21 and had two PPGs in the 3-3 tie at UAF (Jan. 29) … Inman owns two of the seven multi-goal games by Irish players this season (he also had 2G vs. Union, Simon scored twice vs. UMass and twice at BG, Carlson twice vs. WMU and Chin twice vs. UNO) … Inman has 6A in his last 15 games (one in the first 17).

FROM THE BLUE LINE * Senior D Sean Molina’s eight points (1G-7A) are a career-best … Molina ranks sixth on the squad in plus-minus (+1), after ranking second on the ’98-’99 squad (+13) … Molina has totaled just 39 career penalties while playing the most games (142) of any current Irish player (he is averaging 3.6 games per penalty for his career) … Molina is tied for ninth on the 1999-2000 team with a career-best seven assists … Molina scored in the 4-3 loss to Princeton on Dec. 19, for his first career goal … by playing in the final two regular-season games and at least two postseason games, Molina would become the ninth Notre Dame player ever to log 146 career games played … just five ND players have appeared in 148-plus career games, with two-time Academic All-American Steve Noble (148, 1994-98) the only player to do so since 1982 … just two other ND players have logged 145-plus career games since ’82: Brett Bruininks (145, 1992-96) and Brian Urick (146, 1995-99).

* Senior D Tyson Fraser’s assist vs. UMass was his 50th career point (he now has 7G-46A) and marked his 45th career game with a goal or assist (now 47) … Fraser is tied for sixth on the team in assists (9) and ranks as the team’s second-leading scorer among D (2G-9A).

* Senior D Sean Seyferth has six points this season (2G-4A, no points in last nine games) after totaling seven in his first three seasons combined (4G-3A).

* Freshman D Evan Nielsen (4G-9A) has surged past Fraser as the team’s top-scoring D (he had 1G-2A in the 7-4 win over UNO and 1A in the 1-1 tie at BG) … Seyferth is the only other D with multiple goals … Nielsen ended a nine-game point drought in the win over UNO (he had 0G-1A in the previous 12 GP).

* Junior D Ryan Clark (from nearby Littleton, Colo.) scored in 3-3 tie at Denver for his first goal of the season and second of his career.

* The Irish senior D foursome of senior Nathan Borega (134), Fraser (125), Molina (142) and Seyferth (61) has combined for 462 career games played … throwing in Clark (83) gives the top five Irish D a total of 545 games of career experience (the starting six has 580 career games between them, with Nielsen’s 35).


* Freshman Tony Zasowski ranks 6th overall in the CCHA with a 2.29 GAA (4th among goalies with 1,000-plus minutes), which would best the Irish record of 2.58 set by Forrest Karr last season … sophomore Jeremiah Kimento (3.01, 717 minutes) ranks 11th in the CCHA.

* Zasowski has allowed just 35 even-strength goals in 25 games played, including just 14 in his last 13 appearances.

* His 2.16 conference GAA ranks 5th overall (2nd among league netminders with 850-plus minutes).

* He has started each of ND’s last 13 games while his 11 victories this season are tied for fourth-most in the CCHA.

* Zasowski received his third CCHA weekly award-as defensive player of the week-after totaling 51 saves in the recent series at BG (5-3, 1-1) … he previously was named CCHA rookie of the week on Nov. 1-after making 58 saves in a series with Miami University (5-2, 2-2)-and on Jan. 23, after totaling 41 saves and allowing just one even-strength goal in a pair of wins over Western Michigan (4-3 in overtime and 4-1) … he became just the fifth freshman to earn a CCHA player-of-the-week award this season, is one of four CCHA players who have totaled three-plus awards this season, and is one of five players to earn multiple rookie-of-the-week honors this season, joining Ferris State F Chris Kunitz (3), MSU G Ryan Miller (3), NMU F Chris Gobert (2) and BG forward Ryan Fultz (2) … ND joins FSU, MSU, NMU and BG (all 3) as the only CCHA schools with three-plus rookie honorees this season (freshman C Connor Dunlop was honored on Oct. 18, after assisting on four goals in games vs. Providence and Union).

* Zasowski’s season save percentage (.908) has him on pace to challenge the long-standing ND record of .907 (set by Mark Kronholm in 1970-71).

* Zasowski has allowed 0-2 goals in 15 of his 21 starts and turned in a shutout streak of 130:36, spanning 54 minutes of the 2-1 loss at UNH on Nov. 27 and the first 76 minutes of the MSU series (Dec. 4-5).

* ND’s team GAA of 2.65 is on pace to challenge the team record (2.61, ’98-’99).

* 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.

* Zasowski and Kimento combined for 56 saves and three GA in the crucial Jan. 7-8 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 (he closed the game with 28 straight saves, after allowing an early goal) … Kimento closed the 1-1 game vs. LSSU with 25 straight saves (he totaled 27).

* Junior G Kyle Kolquist made his first career start (second career GP) in the 4-2 loss to Princeton, with 21 saves and just one even-strength goal allowed.

RETURN OF THE ROAD WARRIORS?: Despite a 5-8-5 season road record (3-6-5 on opponent’s ice), ND is 3-2-3 in its last eight road games and has turned in its share of big road victories during the past few seasons … in fact, the Irish have posted wins in 22 different road arenas during the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin (20 in the past three seasons) … the previous two seasons (’97-’98 and ’98-’99) saw ND post road wins over all 10 CCHA opponents, including a 4-2 CCHA playoff win at Michigan and wins over Ohio State at the OSU Ice Arena and the off-campus Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum (the Irish recently added a win over OSU at yet another Columbus venue, with the 2-1 overtime win on Feb. 5) … ND also owns three road wins over Wisconsin during the Poulin era, all at different sites: Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, the Dane County Coliseum and the Kohl Center dedication game … the Irish own road wins in the Poulin era at Mankato State, St. Cloud State, Northeastern and North Dakota-plus a 5-5 tie at Boston College, plus a pair of 2-2 ties this season at the Omaha Civic Auditorium and NMU’s Berry Events Center … finally, ND has posted recent neutral-site victories at the University of Minnesota (vs. Brown), the University of Denver (vs. Union) and the University of New Hampshire (vs. Vermont) … there are seven facilities in which a Poulin-coached Irish team has played but not posted any wins: Princeton (two losses in ’96-’97), Boston College (loss and tie), Illinois Chicago (loss in ’96-’97), the Palace at Auburn Hills (loss to Michigan in ’96-’97), Van Andel Arena (loss last season and this season), the Omaha Civic Auditorium (0-1-1 this season) and NMU’s Berry Center (0-1-1 this season).

THRILL OF VICTORY: Dan Carlson’s GWG at OSU on Feb. 5 (0:56 left in OT) held extra significance, as it marked the first time that the Irish have scored a GWG in the final minute of regulation or OT in seven years-since Matt Osiecki found the net with 0:55 left in OT for a 5-4 win at Kent State on Feb. 14, 1992 … since that time, ND has been on the losing end of 12 last-minute, game-winning goals (seven of those have come during the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin).

DOUBLE (OT) DIP: In addition to his last-minute score at Ohio State (2-1, Feb. 5), Dan Carlson earlier had scored two huge goals in the 4-3 home win over Western Michigan on Jan. 21, forcing OT with 1:23 left in regulation before netting the 6-on-5 game-winner in the first minute of OT … his timely plays vs. WMU and OSU make Carlson just the second player in ND hockey history-and the first in 28 years-to score two overtime goals in the same season .. junior winger Paul Regan scored OT goals in ’71-’72 vs. Michigan Tech (6-5) and Cornell (5-4).

ZASOWSKI HONORED AGAIN: ND freshman G Tony Zasowski (Darien, Ill.) earned his third weekly award from the CCHA, named defensive player of the week after helping the Irish post a 5-3 win and 1-1 tie at BG on Feb. 18-19 … Zasowski-who has started each of ND’s last 13 games-opened the win at BG with 25 saves en route to a 31-save night (2 even-strength GA) … the next night, he made 20 saves, allowing a third-period goal … he ranks sixth among regular CCHA goaltenders with a 2.29 overall season GAA (fourth among those with 1,000-plus minutes) … his .908 overall save pct. ranks sixth among CCHA goalies with 1,000-plus minutes … both of those marks remain on pace to best the Notre Dame records set by Forrest Karr (2.58, ’98-’99) and Mark Kronholm (.907, ’70-’71) … his 11 victories are tied for fourth-most in the CCHA … Zasowski has allowed just 35 even-strength goals in 25 games played (just 14 in the last 13) while allowing 0-2 total goals in 15 of his 21 starts … he has posted two shutouts (19 saves vs. Alaska Fairbanks, 24 vs. Michigan State) to join Karr as the only Irish goaltenders ever to post multiple solo shutouts in the same season.

MORE ON CCHA AWARDS: Freshman G Tony Zasowski also has been named CCHA rookie of the week twice: on Nov. 1-after making 58 saves in a series with Miami (5-2, 2-2)-and on Jan. 23, after totaling 41 saves and allowing just one even-strength goal in a pair of wins over Western Michigan (4-3/ot, 4-1) … ND players have been honored three times by the CCHA during the past six weeks, equaling the most by any CCHA team during that stretch … Zasowski-who also has twice been named CCHA rookie of the week-became just the fifth freshman to earn a CCHA player-of-the-week award this season … … ND players have combined for five total CCHA weekly awards this season, ranking behind only NMU (9), Michigan (8), MSU (6), Lake Superior (6) and BG (6) … Irish freshman C Connor Dunlop was named CCHA rookie of the week on Oct. 18 while junior LW Dan Carlson was named offensive player of the week on Feb. 7 … Zasowski is one of four CCHA players who have totaled three-plus awards this season: Michigan C Mike Comrie (three-time player of the week), Ferris State F Chris Gobert (two-time rookie of the week, two-time offensive player of the week) and MSU G Ryan Miller (two-time rookie of the week, defensive player of the week).

CENTURY MAN: Senior C Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, Ohio)-who earned preseason CCHA “player of the year” honors from Hockey News-registered 1G-1A in the season-opening Michigan series, giving him 100 points (32G-68A) in his 106th game … Simon has pushed his career total to 125 points (40G-85A) in 138 games and is the fourth Irish player to reach 100 points in the five-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin, joining ’96 graduate Jamie Ling (51-102) and ’99 grads Brian Urick (57-69) and Aniket Dhadphale (61-44) … Simon needs 10 more goals to become the 29th ND player to total 50-plus goals and 50-plus assists … he suddenly is six points shy of cracking ND’s top-20 career scoring list and needs 12 assists to move into that top 10 list … his seven career game-winning goals are tied for 10th in Irish history (199 graduate Brian Urick, who shares the record of 13 with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin, is the only ND player since 1993 with more than seven career GWGs).

10-POINT SERIES: A pair of Minnesota natives-junior LW Dan Carlson (Edina) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (Faribault)-played leading roles in the Jan. 21-22 sweep of WMU … Carlson converted a scramble 6-on-5 goal with 1:23 left to force OT in the first game before slapping home a PPG from the top of the slot, 0:52 into OT … he assisted on Dusbabek’s goal the next day for a 1-0 lead and scored the clinching third goal en route to a 4-1 final … Carlson’s four-point weekend was the first by an ND player this season in CCHA action but Dusbabek bettered him with a six-point series (1G-2A in both games) … he was credited with the first ND goal of the series when his pass deflected off a WMU player (he later assisted on Carlson’s GTG and GWG) … the next night, he opened the scoring with a rocket shot from outside the blue line before assisting on the next two goals.

THE FINAL WEEK: Despite an 0-4-0 start, ND is 11-5-6 in its last 22 CCHA games (6-3-3 in the last 12) and still alone in fifth place … ND ranks 10th in the CCHA for overall goals/gm (2.47), 6th in goals allowed (2.69), 5th in power-play pct. (.172), 7th in penalty-kill pct. (.835) and 1st in fewest penalty minutes/gm (15.86) … freshman G Tony Zasowski’s 2.29 overall GAA ranks 6th in the CCHA (4th among goalies with 1,000-plus minutes) … junior LW Dan Carlson is tied for 13th in the CCHA with 15 goals (up from seven last season) and is tied for 14th with 26 points … sophomore C/LW David Inman is tied for 17th in the CCHA with 13 goals (he had 10 in ’98-’99) … Carlson also ranks fourth in the CCHA with nine PPGs and is tied for third with four GWGs … senior C Ben Ben Simon (9G-18A) is tied for 20th on the CCHA scoring charts.

DISCIPLINED PLAY: ND’s low team GAA (2.50) is due in large part to the Irish being CCHA’s least-penalized squad (7.4 penalties, 15.9 PIM/gm, leading to just 5.5 opp. PP chances/gm) … since ranking as the CCHA’s most-penalized team in ’95-’96 (11.31), the Irish were the 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 freshman RW John Wroblewski (3 penalties, 24 GP), senior LW Andy Jurkowksi (5, 24 in 104 career games), senior C Ben Simon (13, compared to 30-31-31 in the past three seasons), sophomore C Brett Henning (5, 20 in 64 career games), junior LW Dan Carlson (12, 39 in 109 career games) and junior RW Ryan Dolder (12, 27 in 97 career games) … senior D Sean Molina has 13 penalties this season (39 in 142 career games) … senior D Nathan Borega had just 16 penalties as a sophomore and 13 as junior but has a team-high 31 this season (just four in the last eight games) … ND was whistled for 13 penalties in the 6-0 loss at NMU (most in 20 games, since 15 in 4-2 loss to FSU on Oct. 24), leading to 10 PPs.

RACKING UP THE MILES: ND’s 11 road trips cover many miles, with two trips to Denver, plus recent jaunts to the upper peninsula for a series at NMU and to Fairbanks, Alaska, and earlier visits to Omaha, Neb., and Durham, N.H. … other trips include Big Rapids/Grand Rapids, Mich., East Lansing, Mich. (2), Bowling Green, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio … the CCHA “cluster” schedule resulted in the loss of the customary short trips to Kalamazoo (Western Michigan) or Ann Arbor (Michigan).

TOP PROSPECTS: Four current and future ND players were listed among the top 160 players on the NHL’s Central Scouting Service midseason rankings (most from any CCHA team) … the rankings list players born between Sept. 16, 1980-Sept. 15, 1982 ( players born after Sept. 15, 1981 must “opt-in” and forfeit their college eligibility) … ND’s top-rated player is fall signee Neil Komadoski (Feb. 10, 1982 birthdate), considered one of the nation’s top D prospects in his age group … Komadoski (Chesterfield, Mo./U.S. Under-18 National Team) checked in at 51st, the fourth-highest rated player/signee in the CCHA … current ND players on the list include three draft-eligible freshmen: D Evan Nielsen (Evanston, Ill.), C Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) and RW Michael Chin (Urbana, Ill.) … Nielsen checks in at 70th, sixth-highest among all current CCHA players/signees and first among active league D (six spots ahead of NMU’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 26th) … Chin is the ninth-highest CCHA player/signee on the list, at No. 158.