Oct. 5, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame campus will be buzzing with activity this football weekend and one of the big events leading up to Saturday’s pigskin clash comes on Friday, Oct. 6 when the Notre Dame hockey team faces the University of Windsor at the Joyce Center following the football pep rally at 7:35 p.m. The exhibition game is the lone tune-up for Jeff Jackson and his Irish hockey squad before the Irish open the regular season with a home-and-home series with Minnesota State. Notre Dame will face the Mavericks at the Joyce Center on Thursday, Oct. 12 in a 7:35 p.m. game. Season tickets and single-game tickets are on sale now at the Notre Dame Ticket Office or by calling 574-631-7356.
The University of Windsor comes into Friday’s game having already played a pair of games against CCHA opponents as they dropped an 8-1 decision on Oct. 1 at Miami and then played at Bowling Green last night. Tonight’s game is the final preseason game for the Lancers as they open their regular season on Oct. 14-15 versus Western Ontario.
Last season, Windsor was 7-12-3-2 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and finished fourth in the Far West Conference and did not make the playoffs.
Dr. Vern Stenland is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Lancers and returns 19 players from last season, including forwards Jordie Preston (8-15-23) and Alex White (12-10-22). The top goaltender is Reese Kalleitner who was 3-8-0 last season with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
The Irish have played Windsor four times in the past and are 2-1-1 in the series history. The last time the two teams met was Oct. 31, 1987 with Windsor taking a 9-6 decision. Notre Dame won the opening game of that series, 5-4. The Irish first played Windsor in their first season, traveling to Windsor, Ont., on Dec. 11, 1968 with the two teams battling to a 4-4 tie. They met again to open the 1969-70 season in South Bend with Notre Dame winning, 8-5. The Irish have opened seven of the past 10 seasons with an exhibition game against a team from the OUA. They have played Western Ontario twice (`97-’98 and `03-’04), the University of Toronto twice (`01-’02 and `02-’03), with single games against Wilfrid Laurier (`99-’00), Waterloo (`05-’06) and Windsor (`06-’07).
For Notre Dame, head coach Jeff Jackson will try a variety of combinations in the game as he dresses an extra forward and defenseman for the game.
Sophomore Erik Condra led Notre Dame in scoring as a freshman with six goals and 28 assists.
The Irish are coming off a turnaround season in 2005-06 that saw them go 13-19-4 overall and 11-13-4 in the CCHA. After staring the year, 3-9-1, Notre Dame was 10-10-3 over the final 23 games. In the conference, the Irish turned in a 15-point improvement from the previous year, a mark that was second best in the league, trailing just Miami’s 16-point improvement.
The 2006-07 Notre Dame roster features eight freshmen with several of the newcomers expected to see playing time in the game versus Windsor. Senior goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) will get the start in goal for the Irish and will look to improve on a strong junior year. Brown was 9-15-4 on the year with a stellar 2.47 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. For his career, Brown ranks first all-time in goals against (2.77), is tied for first with six shutouts and is second in save percentage (.909).
The Irish return their four top scorers from last season – Erik Condra (So., Livonia, Mich.), Josh Sciba (Sr., Westland, Mich.), Mark Van Guilder (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) and defenseman Wes O’Neill (Sr., Essex, Ont.) and will look to improve on their 89 goals scored a year ago. Condra led the team with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points and was the top rookie scorer in the CCHA. Sciba (17g, 13a) led the team in goals and was seventh among CCHA goal scorers. Van Guilder (8g, 18a) was Notre Dame’s most improved player and O’Neill is an all-CCHA and all-America candidate on the Notre Dame blue line. He was fourth in scoring and had career highs in assists (19) and points (25) while his six goals equaled a career high.
Notre Dame’s game on Oct. 12 against Minnesota State will be the lone Irish home game until Nov. 10-11 when they play host to Bowling Green. Following Thursday’s contest, Notre Dame will play seven straight games on the road.