Head coach Jeff Jackson and his Irish hockey team are set to open the 2011-12 season versus Minnesota-Duluth.

Irish Icers Open 2011-12 Season On The Road At Minnesota-Duluth

Oct. 6, 2011

Duluth, Minn. –

Weekly ReleaseGet Acrobat Reader

– The Games: #2/#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0-0) at #10/#8 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (0-0-0)

– Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., October 7-8, 2011 – AMSOIL Arena (6,726) – 7:07 p.m. (CT)

– Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Real Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pre-game show 20 minutes before the opening face off. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish.

– Internet: Audio: Notre Dame’s will stream the audio for both games of the Minnesota-Duluth series. The games can be heard live and free of charge at und.com.

AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish open the 2011-12 season in unique fashion as they will face the team that they ended the 2010-11 season against. The Irish face off this weekend, Oct. 7-8, in Duluth, Minn., versus Minnesota-Duluth at AMSOIL Arena in games that will begin at 7:07 p.m. (CT). The Bulldogs met Notre Dame last April 7, in the Frozen Four semifinals at Xcel Energy Center, taking a 4-3 win on the way to their first-ever national championship. The loss ended the Irish season at 25-14-5 while UMD went on to finish with a 26-10-6 record. The Bulldogs will raise their NCAA championship banner on Friday night.

IRISH VERSUS BULLDOGS: Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth have met 33 times in the all-time series with the Irish holding an 18-11-4 advantage. At Duluth, Notre Dame is 11-3-2 with the last appearances coming Oct. 11-12, 2002. The teams tied 2-2 in the opener and Notre Dame won the second game, 5-3. This is the first appearance for the Irish in AMSOIL Arena. In the last 10 meetings between the two schools, the Bulldogs are 5-3-2 versus Notre Dame. The last time the two schools met was on April 7, 2011, in the Frozen Four, with UMD winning, 4-3, on the way to the national championship. The previous regular-season meeting was Jan. 3, 2009 in the championship game of the Shillelagh Tournament where the Irish won the game 3-1.

A LOOK BACK AT FROZEN FOUR: Minnesota-Duluth scored three power-play goals on the way to a 4-2 lead and held on for a 4-3 win over the Irish in the opening game of the NCAA Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center. J.T. Brown, Mike Connolly and Jack Connolly notched the power-play goals while Kyle Schmidt added the fourth goal for the Bulldogs. Notre Dame got goals from Jeff Costello (Fr,, Milwaukee, Wis.), T.J. Tynan (Fr., Orland Park, Ill.) and Calle Ridderwall (Sr., Stockholm, Sweden) (shg) as the Irish had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the game but could not hold on to each advantage. For fourth-ranked Notre Dame, the loss ended the season with a 25-14-5 mark and a trip to the second Frozen Four in the program’s history. The Irish got off to a fast start in the game as Costello put Notre Dame on top with his 12th goal of the season just 49 seconds into the game, beating UMD goaltender Kenny Reiter over his blocker and just inside the left post for the 1-0 lead. Minnesota-Duluth evened the score at 3:04 of the first with their first of three power-play goals. With David Gerths (Fr., Ankeny, Iowa) off for hooking, Justin Faulk moved the puck from the left point to J.T. Brown in the left circle. Brown turned and fired a shot on the ice that beat Mike Johnson (So., Verona, Wis.) through his pads for Brown’s 16th goal of the season. The Irish answered less than six minutes later on a Tynan’s 23rd goal of the season at 9:46. Nick Larson (So., Apple Valley, Minn.) kept a Bulldog clearing attempt in at the right point and passed the puck across the blue line to Ryan Guentzel (Sr., Woodbury, Minn.) as he entered the UMD zone. Guentzel’s shot was wide of the goal but came off the boards to Tynan on the goal line. The freshman center tucked a shot inside the right post before Reiter could move across the crease to give the Irish a 2-1 lead. Just 1:06 later, the Bulldogs got their lone even-strength goal of the night when Schmidt beat Johnson with a shot to the short side from the left circle at 10:52 to make tie the game at 2-2. The Minnesota-Duluth power play gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 13:31 when Mike Connolly netted his 28th goal of the season, whipping a shot from the between the hash marks past Johnson for a 3-2 lead. The second period saw just one goal as Minnesota-Duluth netted its third power-play goal of the night, this time by Jack Connolly who beat Johnson from the right face-off dot at 5:51 for his 18th goal of the season to give the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead. The Irish got back in the game in the third with Ridderwall scoring his 16th goal of the year, this one short-handed at 2:05 to cut the UMD to 4-3 with plenty of time left in the contest. Notre Dame carried the play in the third, out shooting Minnesota-Duluth, 15-2, in the period but could not score again in the game. For the night, the Irish had a 34-21 edge in shots. Reiter finished with 31 saves while Johnson had 17 for the night. The Bulldogs were 3-for-6 on the power play while Notre Dame was 0-for-5.

FOR OPENERS: Notre Dame enters its season opener with Minnesota-Duluth with an all-time record of 21-20-2 in season openers. The Irish are 17-22-4 all-time in season openers played away from home.

HOME OPENER: The Irish will open the home and CCHA schedule while closing out more than 43 years of collegiate hockey action at the Joyce Center on Oct. 14-15. Notre Dame will face off against CCHA foe, Ohio State, in a pair of 7:05 p.m. games that weekend. The two games will be the final games played at the Joyce Center as the Irish will move into the new Compton Family Ice Arena in time to meet Rensselaer on Friday, Oct. 21 in a 7:35 p.m. game.

CONFERENCE CALL: The Hockey East Association and the University of Notre Dame announced on Wednesday, Oct. 5 that the Fighting Irish have been accepted into the league as the 11th member school and will begin play in the 2013-14 campaign. The announcement came at a press conference on the ice at Notre Dame’s new Compton Family Ice Arena.

In making the announcement, Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said, “It is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most significant days in the history of our conference. The addition of new institutions is always exciting but Notre Dame brings a unique set of qualities and circumstances to the continued growth of our league. We are proud to welcome Notre Dame into the fold and we look forward to getting to the many details that come with this announcement.”

Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said, “We are excited to be joining Hockey East beginning in the 2013-14 season. Many factors played a role in our decision, but three were of special importance to us. The first two were the critical issues of the student-athlete experience and Notre Dame’s fit with the other schools in the conference. But of special importance in this instance, was our goal of giving our hockey program an unprecedented level of national exposure through our expanded partnership with the NBC Sports Group. Athletics at Notre Dame has always served as a platform for promoting the University.”

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson added, “We are honored and pleased to join Hockey East for the 2013-14 season. The conference is an established league with a great tradition and outstanding programs that share Notre Dame’s values. The exposure for our players and team in a major media and NHL market will be second to none. Hockey East’s commitment to playing a smaller league schedule will allow us to enhance our home and non-conference schedule with traditional western and Big Ten rivals. This will allow us to bring great games to the Compton Family Ice Arena and create a more diverse, nationally-televised schedule. We are grateful to Joe Bertagna and the Hockey East Association members for this tremendous opportunity.”

Notre Dame is currently a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and has had two stints with the CCHA during its 44 years of Division I hockey. The Irish first joined the conference from 1981-83 and then again in 1992 through the 2012-13 season. During that time, Notre Dame has won two CCHA regular-season and postseason tournament titles (2007 and 2009).

The current shift in conferences began with the Big Ten’s decision to form their own hockey league beginning in 2013-14. That started the realignment process in both the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and the CCHA that has occurred this past summer and fall.

CAPTAINS: Two members of the Irish senior class and one sophomore will serve as captains for the 2011-12 season. Defenseman Sean Lorenz (Sr., Littleton, Colo.) and forward Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) will serve as the team’s co-captains this season. Sophomore forward Anders Lee (Sr., Edina, Minn.) will be the team’s lone alternate captain this season. This marks the first year for all three players to serve as captains at Notre Dame.

OPENING THE COMPTON CENTER: The Notre Dame hockey team will make its first-ever appearance in the new Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday, Oct. 21 when the Irish play host to the Rensselaer (RPI) Engineers in a 7:05 p.m. contest. The site for the game has been listed as TBA since the schedule was announced in June due to the extremely aggressive construction schedule necessary to have the building ready for use by mid-October. The Notre Dame hockey team will move into the new building on Tuesday, Oct. 18 – the original projected date of substantial completion – with the first game to be played three nights later.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Notre Dame will play its final games at the Joyce Center on the weekend of Oct. 14-15 when the Irish play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes in a pair of 7:05 p.m. games. That series will serve as the opening of the 2011-12 CCHA schedule for both teams. Coincidentally, Notre Dame played the final games at Ohio State’s OSU Ice Rink before the Buckeyes moved into the Value City Arena on Jan. 2, 1999. Those final games were played on Dec. 4-5, 1998.

OH BROTHER: Notre Dame freshman defenseman Eric Johnson (Verona, Wis.) is the younger brother of junior goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.). The Johnson brothers become the 10th set of brothers to play hockey at Notre Dame. They are the first pair of brothers to play on the same team since Aaron `04 and Tony Gill `06 who played together from 2002-04. The Irish brothers:

Robert `89 and David Bankoske `93 Joe `72 and Mike Bonk `79 Jack `77 and Jeff Brownschidle `81 Tim `76 and Dan Byers `78 Ryan `01 and Kyle Dolder `03 Don `78 and Terry Fairholm `78 Aaron `04 and Tony Gill `06 Mark `85 and Bruce Guay `90 Bob `71, Dave `76 ad Dick Howe `78 Mike and Eric Johnson

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The preseason hockey prognosticators think highly of the 2011-12 Notre Dame hockey team. The Irish have been selected first in the nation by the Sporting News and by USCHO.com. Notre Dame was ranked second in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll while the College Hockey News ranked the Irish third in its preseason Top 10. Inside College Hockey.com ranked Notre Dame second in its July preseason poll.

CCHA PRESEASON POLLS: The coaches and the media from the CCHA also selected Notre Dame as their top team in preseason voting. This is just the second time in the last six years that both groups agrees on their top picks.

Coaches Poll:Team (1st)                     Points1.   Notre Dame (8)             1082.   Miami (2)                   993.   Michigan (1)                934.   Western Michigan            835.   Alaska                      636.   Northern Michigan           607.   Ohio State                  568.   Michigan State              519.   Ferris State                5010.  Lake Superior               3011.  Bowling Green               22
Media Poll:Team (1st) Points1. Notre Dame (44) 8192. Miami (16) 7723. Michigan (12) 7574. Western Michigan 6045. Alaska 4496. Michigan State 4397. Ferris State 425 Northern Michigan 4259. Ohio State 38610. Lake Superior 29811. Bowling Green 170
PRESEASON ALL-CCHA TEAMS:First TeamF - Reilly Smith, Sr., Miami (10) 50F - T.J. Tynan, So. Notre Dame (10) 50F - Anders Lee, So. Notre Dame (9) 48D - Torey Krug, Jr. Michigan St. (9) 48D - Jon Merrill, So., Michigan (9) 48G - Cody Reichard, Sr., Miami (5) 29
Second TeamF - Chase Balisy, So., WMU (3) 32F - Tyler Gron, Sr., NMU (1) 20F - David Wohlberg, Michigan 18D - Chris Wideman, Sr., Miami (2) 24D - Will Weber, Sr., Miami (1) 18G - Scott Greenham, Sr., Alaska (4) 23

Honorable mention (next six point totals, regardless of position with first team votes in parentheses): Kevin Kapalka, So., G, Lake Superior (1), 20; Brett Perlini, Jr., F, Michigan State, 16; Dan DeKeyser, So., D, Western Michigan (1), 14; Matt Tennyson, Jr., D, Western Michigan, 14; Cody Kunyk, So., F. Alaska, 13; Justin Florek, Sr., F, Northern Michigan, 11; Zach Trotman, Jr., D, Lake Superior, 11.

HCA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Sophomore center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) was the 2010-11 Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA) national rookie of the year after leading all freshmen in scoring with 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points. Tynan was the CCHA rookie of the year and a member of the conference all-rookie team. He was selected second team all-CCHA. The 5-8, 167-pound forward was the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s most valuable player, the team’s offensive player of the year and the co-rookie of year for the Irish.

CLASS OF THE CLASS: Notre Dame senior defenseman Sean Lorenz has been named one of 20 candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award that honors student athletes who excel both on and off the ice and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Lorenz is a three-time monogram winner for the Irish and serves as one of Notre Dame’s alternate captains in 2011-12. He is coming off a career year for the Irish where he played in 44 games with career highs in goal (4), assists (11) and points (15) while being +33 on the year. He also was the CCHA defensive, defenseman of the year and the winner of Notre Dame’s William Donald Nyrop Award as the team’s top defenseman. Last year’s candidate, Calle Ridderwall `11, was a finalist for the award. Former Notre Dame goaltender David Brown `07 won the award in 2007.

CLUTCHâ⒬ˆSCORER: Sophomore left wing Anders Lee proved to be one of Notre Dame’s top clutch scorers during the 2010-11 season. Lee, who led the Irish with 24 goals, scored seven game winners to lead the team and the CCHA. Those seven game winners tied a Notre Dame single-season record that was set in 1989-90 by David Bankoske `93, who also had seven game-winning goals.

JOHNNY ON THE SPOT: Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson (Jr., Verona, Wis.) became just the sixth goaltender in Irish hockey history to record 20 wins in a season when he did it as a sophomore in 2010-11. Johnson was 20-10-4 on the year, helping Notre Dame to its second Frozen Four. He trails Jordan Pearce `09, who had 30 in 2008-09; David Brown `07 (29 in 2006-07); Lance Madson `90 (24 in 1987-88), Pearce (23, in 2007-08) and Mark Kronholm `74 (20 in 1972-73). Johnson’s 20 win ties him fifth on the single-season win list with Kronholm.

PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET: Notre Dame finished the 2010-11 season tied for third in in the nation in goals with 151 in 44 games. The Irish trailed North Dakota (178), Boston College (153) and tied Yale (151). Per game, Notre Dame is 10th overall with a 3.43 average. Yale is tops in the nation with 4.19 per game. The 3.43 goals-per-game is the most for the Irish since 1990-91 when they averaged 4.06 per game. The 151 goals was the most since 1989-90 when that team scored 151 goals.

COMEBACK KID: Sophomore defenseman Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.) led Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with six goals and 12 assists for 18 points this season. As a freshman in 2009-10, Calabrese saw action in just three games all season, suffering a broken leg on Dec. 4, 2009 at Miami. Of Calabrese’s six goals this season, two have come short-handed. He is second on the team with a +24 and capped his great comeback year by being named honorable mention all-CCHA and Notre Dame’s most improved player for the `10-’11 campaign.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Freshman forward Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria) will become the third European to play at Notre Dame when he takes the ice for the Irish this season. A native of Vienna, Austria, Schneider played last season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Indiana Ice. With the Ice, he had 30 goals and 24 assists for 54 points in 55 games. He joins Swedish natives Calle Ridderwall `11 and Robin Bergman as the three Europeans to play at Notre Dame. Ridderwall spent four years with the Irish (2007-11) while Bergman played part of the 2007-08 campaign.

NHL DRAFTEES: The Irish have 10 players on the 2011-12 roster who have been selected in the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft. Sophomore T.J. Tynan was selected in last June’s draft in the third round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was followed by freshman defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) who was a fourth-round pick of the New York Islanders. Those two join junior Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) who became Notre Dame’s third-ever first round pick in June of 2010 when he was chosen 21st overall by the Detroit Red Wings. Sheahan joins former defenseman Ian Cole (2007 – St. Louis) who was selected 18th overall and former right wing Kyle Palmieri (2009 – Anaheim), the 26th pick overall. Sheahan was followed by sophomore defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa._, who went in the second round, 60th overall to the Chicago Black Hawks. One round later in the third round, with the 80th overall pick, freshman forward Bryan Rust (Novi, Mich.) was chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Notre Dame’s final player selected in 2010 was defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.), who was picked in the sixth round, 177th overall by the Anaheim Ducks. Two other Irish sophomores were selected a year earlier in the 2009 draft. Left wing Jeff Costello (Milwaukee, Wis.) was chosen by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round, 146th overall and six picks later, left wing Anders Lee was a New York Islanders’ choice in the sixth round, 152nd overall. That group joins junior left wing Nick Larson (Apple Valley, Minn.), a 2008 selection of the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, 108th overall and senior defenseman Sean Lorenz, a member of the 2008 draft class, by the Minnesota Wild in the fourth round, 115th overall.