Oct. 13, 2005
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame campus will be buzzing with activity this weekend and one of the events leading up to the big football clash comes Friday night when the Irish hockey team takes on the University of Waterloo in their final preseason tune-up for the regular season. Notre Dame opens the regular season one week from Friday on Oct. 21 when the Irish travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face the Colorado College Tigers. The game with Waterloo will start a 7:35 p.m. at the Joyce Center and tickets still remain for the game that follows the football pep rally at Notre Dame Stadium.
The University of Waterloo comes into Friday’s action with an edge on the Irish as the Warriors have already played three games this season, going 2-1 with wins over the University of Guelph (5-4) and the University of British Columbia (3-2) and a 5-4 loss to RIT, the newest NCAA Division I program. RIT is one of four Division I games on the Waterloo schedule as they also face Notre Dame and then Princeton and Yale next weekend, Oct. 21-22.
A year ago, the University of Waterloo, a member of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) was 13-8-3 overall to finish third in the Far West Division for its first winning season since 2000-01. The Warriors advanced to the OUA playoffs where they lost in the semifinals to Western Ontario.
Coach Brian Bourque – who is in his first season guiding the Warriors – will count on sophomore goaltender Curtis Darling, who was 12-5-3 last year with a 2.02 goals-against average. His top returning scorers include sophomore Matt Levicki (10-14-24), junior Kevin Hurley (7-15-22) and sophomore Doug Spooner (11-9-20).
The Irish have met the University of Waterloo twice in the past, winning both games. On Oct. 16, 1993, Notre Dame took a 4-3 win at the Joyce Center and a year later, on Oct. 21, 1994, the Irish prevailed, 8-4. Former Irish standout Jamie Ling `96, set a school record with two goals and five assists for seven points in the game. Both contests counted as part of the regular-season schedule in the mid-90s.
For Irish coach Jeff Jackson, Friday’s game will be his first game behind the Irish bench as he watched last weekend’s Blue-Gold game from the press box. He looks to use the Waterloo game as a way to evaluate his team after just two weeks of practice.
“The biggest thing that I’ll be looking for is the effort and commitment of the players. Are they willing to take a hit to make a play? Will they play a disciplined game both personally and on the team level? Will they stick to the system and stay away from bad penalties,” explained Jackson following Thursday’s practice.
He added, “For me, it’s still an evaluation period. It will be good to be back on the bench again, to get a feel for the team. I’m still on the outside looking in.”
The Irish will start junior David Brown (Jr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) in goal. Several of Notre Dame’s newcomers will also be in the lineup for the first time.
Following Friday’s game, the Irish open the season on the road against two of the better teams in the country when they travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Oct. 21 to meet Colorado College, an NCAA semifinalist last season. The following day, Notre Dame goes to Denver, Colo., to face defending national champion, the University of Denver Pioneers on Oct. 22.
Friday’s game at Colorado College will be televised nationally on ESPNU as part of its weekly national college hockey game of the week. ESPNUis one an ESPN affiliated station and is available via cable or satellite. Check local listings for the location of this game in your area.