Senior right wing Christiaan Minella is one of seven irish seniors who will be honored on Saturday night as part of Senior Night ceremonies following the game with Michigan.

Irish Meet Michigan On The Ice In Home-And-Home Series To Close Regular Season

Feb. 25, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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– The Games: Notre Dame (12-14-8/8-11-7-2) vs. Michigan (18-16-1/13-12-1-0)

– Date/Site/Time:Thursday, February 25, 2010 – Yost Arena (6,637) – 7:35 p.m. Saturday, February 27, 2010 – Joyce Center (2,713) – 7:05 p.m.

– Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Cat Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pre-game show 20 minutes before the opening faceoff. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish. Television: Both games this weekend will be televised. Thursday’s game will be televised by FSN Detroit with Ken Daniels and Fred Pletsch calling all the action. On Saturday night, the Big 10 Network makes its first visit to the Joyce Center. Matt Rosen and Dave Starman will call the action with Shireen Saski as the sideline reporter.

– Internet: Audio: Both games of the Michigan series will have live audio available free of charge at the Notre Dame website – Live statistics will be available at the CCHA website ( for both nights with providing Game Tracker on Saturday night.

FINAL WEEKEND: Notre Dame closes out the regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series with the Michigan Wolverines. The two teams will meet at Ann Arbor, Mich., on Thursday, Feb. 25 in a 7:35 p.m. game that will be televised live by FSN Detroit. On Saturday, the rematch will come at Notre Dame’s Joyce Center with a 7:05 p.m. contest that will be televised by the Big 10 Network. The Irish go into the final week of the season with a 12-14-8 overall record and are 8-11-7-2 in the CCHA, good for 33 points. Notre Dame is in 10th place in the conference, two points behind ninth-place Lake Superior (35) and five behind eighth-place Ohio State (38). The Irish can finish eighth in the conference with a sweep of Michigan and then help from Miami (vs. Ohio State) and Northern Michigan (against Lake Superior). The Wolverines enter the weekend with an 18-16-1 mark and are 13-12-1-0 in the CCHA for 40 points. With a pair of wins, Michigan could finish in fourth place but would need help from Lake Superior State. Here’s a look at fourth through 10th in the CCHA, moving into the final weekend.

4.  UAF (45) - No CCHA games5.  UNO (44) - No CCHA games6.  NMU (42)  - LSSU (2)7.  UM (40) - ND, at ND8.  OSU (38) - at MIA, MIA9.  LSSU (35) - at NMU (2)10. ND (33) - at UM, UM

IRISH VERSUS WOLVERINES: Notre Dame and Michigan have met 118 times in the all-time series with the Wolverines holding a 67-46-5 advantage. At Ann Arbor, they are 37-22-3 against the Irish and at the Joyce Center, the series is tied at 22-22-2. The teams have met twice this season on Dec. 11 and 13. Michigan took a 4-1 win at Yost Arena in the first game of the series and Notre Dame bounced back via a Mike Johnson (Fr., Verona, Mich.) 2-0 shutout win at the Joyce Center. The shutout was the first by an Irish goaltender against Michigan since Dec. 8, 1975 when Mark Kronholm `74 made 26 saves in a 2-0 blanking. That’s a total of 36 years and five days between shutouts. The last time the Irish won at Yost Arena was Jan. 31, 2009, a 3-2 win. Notre Dame has won three of the last four meetings and four of the last six. Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Notre Dame is 7-4-0 versus the Wolverines.

SENIOR NIGHT: Notre Dame will honor its senior class followingg Saturday’s home game at the Joyce Center. The seven member class – Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.), Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.), Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.), Christiaan Minella (Aurora, Colo.), Tom O’Brien (Mokena, Ill.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) – have played major roles in the recent success of the Irish hockey program. The class comes into the weekend series with Michigan, owning a record of 102-43-18 (.681). They have been to one Frozen Four and a national championship game (2008); been to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments (a first for the Irish); won two CCHA regular season and tournament championships (2007, 2009) and have been ranked No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks twice (2006-07 and 2008-09) during their careers.

TORPEDOES AWAY: When Notre Dame faced Michigan on Dec. 11 and 13, the Irish were forced to play the Wolverines with four defensemen out of the lineup due to injuries. Coach Jeff Jackson and his staff decided to go with the “Torpedo” system often employed by Sweden. Three forwards – sophomore Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) freshman Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) and junior Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.) – moved back to play defense as the Irish deployed three units with four forwards and one defenseman. Notre Dame gained a split in the series, losing 4-1, before taking a 2-0 shutout on Dec. 13.

BOWLING GREEN RECAP: Friday, February 19 –

Notre Dame saw its record fall to 0-3 in February with a 4-3 loss on Feb. 19 at Bowling Green. The Irish gave up three goals in a 5:12 span of the third period to see a 3-1 lead go by the wayside. Freshman Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) scored the lone goal of the first period on the power play at 11:47 to make it 1-0. The Irish lead would go to 2-0 at 7:49 of the second period when Ryan Thang scored short-handed for his ninth of the year. On that same power play, the Falcons got on the scoreboard at 8:15 when Kai Kantola scored. Notre Dame’s lead would go to 3-1 when Joe Lavin (Jr., Shrewsbury, Mass.) scored his second of the season at 4:54. Just 41 seconds later at 5:35, Wade Finnegan scored on a rebound to make it 3-2. Brennan Vargas tied the score on another rebound at 9:33 and Nathan Pageau got the game winner at 10:47 when he fired a wrister past goaltender Mike Johnson. The Irish were 1-for-2 on the power play while Bowling Green was 1-for-5. The Falcons out shot the Irish, 27-24. Johnson finished with 24 saves while Nick Eno had 21.

Saturday, February 20 –

The Irish saw their record in February drop to 0-3-1 as they battled the Falcons to a 1-1 overtime tie and then lost the shootout, 2-1. Kyle Palmieri continued his strong second half, getting the lone Notre Dame goal just 31 seconds into the second period. The Irish out shot Bowling Green by a 31-10 margin over the first two periods but would get just the one goal. In the third, the Falcons turned the tables, taking a 15-6 shot margin, scoring the only goal at 9:41 from Tomas Petruska. Neither team scored in overtime. In the shootout, Dan Kissel gave Notre Dame a 1-0 edge, before James Perkin and Petruska beat Mike Johnson for the extra point in the standings. For the game, the Irish out shot the Falcons, 39-28. Nick Eno made 38 saves in the game while Johnson had 27.

THE REAL THANG: Senior captain Ryan Thang’s three-point game (1g, 2a) against Bowling Green was his second of the season and fourth multi-point game of the season. Since January 2nd, Thang has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 14 games. On the year, he has nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. He is now 36th on the school’s all-time points list with 57 goals and 55 assists for 112 career points.

CLOSE ONES: Notre Dame’s 4-3 loss to Bowling Green on Feb. 19, dropped the Irish to 3-6-0 this season in one-goal games. Last season, the Irish were 11-2 in games decided by one goal.

HOT-HANDED FRESHMAN: Freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri had an outstanding World Junior Championship for Team USA at the end of Dec. and early Jan., in helping the U.S. to the gold medal. With Team USA, the 5-11, 195-pound forward had a goal and eight assists for nine points. Since returning to the Irish, he has continued his hot play, picking up points in nine of his 10 games since his return. In that run, Palmieri has three goals and six assists for nine points.

SCORING WOES: Through the first 34 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored a total of 82 goals. The Irish have scored goals via the power play in 25 of the 34 games and have 37 power-play goals on the year. They also have three short-handed goals to give them 40 special team goals to go with 42 even-strength markers. For the season, the Irish are averaging 2.41 goals per game to rank 49th in the nation.

BACK IN ACTION: Three Notre Dame players returned to the lineup on Friday night at Bowling Green (Feb. 19) after missing significant time with injuries. Sophomore center Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) returned after missing eight games while Christiaan Minella had missed seven. Junior defenseman Ian Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich.) returned after missing four games. To date, 11 different players have been sidelined this season, missing a total of 83 games.

Eric Ringel (17 games)Teddy Ruth (15 games)Sam Calabrese (15 games)Billy Maday (8 games)Ian Cole (8 games)Christiaan Minella (7 games)Sean Lorenz (5 games)Ben Ryan (5 games)Riley Sheahan (1 game)Ryan Thang (1 game)Kevin Deeth (1 game)

HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Senior center Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash) is one of 18 college hockey players (men and women) to be nominated for the College Hockey Humanitarian Award that goes each year to college hockey’s top citizen. Deeth, an alternate captain, with the Irish, oversees the team’s community service efforts and spearheaded the “Giving The Shirts Off Their Back,” jersey auction that benefited the Wounded Warriors Project. The award will be presented at the Frozen Four in Detroit in April.

SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS: The Notre Dame hockey team’s special commemorative jersey auction held Jan. 29-30 vs. Nebraska-Omaha proved to be a huge success as it raised a total of $41,604.60 to benefit Hockey Helpers and the Wounded Warrior Project. The actual jersey auction raised $16,604.60 for the 28 players’ jerseys. With the help of matching gifts from several benefactors, including a former Irish hockey alum, $25,000 dollars was added to the jerseys for the final total. Senior alternate captain Kevin Deeth’s jersey received the highest bid as his jersey went for $1,575. Following the Jan. 30 game with Nebraska-Omaha, jersey winners in attendance at the game were presented the jerseys on the ice along with a players autograph. The Wounded Warrior Project is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization that exists to provide tangible comfort and support to the new generation of severely injured service members upon their return home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas around the world. Beginning at the bedside of the severely injured, Wounded Warrior Project provides programs and services designed to ease the burdens of these heroes and their families, aid in the recovery process, and smooth the transition back to civilian life.

HOME ICE STRUGGLES: With the weekend split with Nebraska-Omaha (Jan. 29-30) in the last home series, Notre Dame saw its home record go to 7-7-3 for the first 17 home games this season. During the 2008-09 campaign, the Irish were 13-3-2 at the Joyce Center and over the previous three seasons owned a 37-9-7 mark on home ice.

BUMPY ROAD: Notre Dame will enter Thursday’s game at Michigan with a 3-7-4 record on the road this season, including 0-3-2 in its last five road contests. The last Irish road win came on Jan. 22, a 6-1 win at Lake Superior State. A year ago, Notre Dame was 14-2-1 on the road, including a nine-game road winning streak and a 12-game unbeaten run (11-0-1).

IN A RUT: Notre Dame’s current 0-3-1 streak marks the second four-game winless streak this season. The Irish were 0-2-2 from Nov. 7 to Nov. 15 earlier this season. The three-game losing streak from Feb. 5 to Feb. 19 was the second three-game losing streak for the Irish this season with the first coming from Dec. 4-11. Prior to this season, the last time the Irish lost three in a row was Feb. 25- Mar. 4, 2005.

SWEEPLESS IN SOUTH BEND: For the third time this season, the Irish were swept in a weekend series as Western Michigan took a series in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Feb. 5-6. The Broncos join Ferris State, who took two on Jan. 9-10, and Miami (Dec. 4-5) versus Notre Dame. The Western Michigan sweep marks just the 11th time in the Jeff Jackson era (2005-) that the Irish have been swept in a two-game series. Since Jackson took over, the Irish have been swept five times in 2005-06, twice in 2007-08, once last year and three times this season.

OVERTIME MARKS: Three of Notre Dame’s eight games in January went into overtime and were decided by a shootout. For the season, the Irish are 1-0-8 in overtime contests. In the eight shootouts to date, Notre Dame is 3-5. The overtime win on Nov. 27 versus Bowling Green was the first for the Irish since Feb. 20, 2009 at Nebraska-Omaha, a 4-3 win. Notre Dame is now 3-0-11 in overtime since its last overtime loss, a 2-1 decision to Miami on March 21, 2008, in the CCHA semifinal game.

DEFENSIVE DYNAMO: Senior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) now has four goals and 18 assists for 22 points to rank second on the Irish in scoring. That ties him for fifth in the CCHA among defensemen in scoring. For his career, Lawson is now eighth all-time among Irish defensemen with 90 points on 17 goals and 73 assists. The CCHA defensive defenseman of the year in 2009, Lawson is an all-CCHA and All-American candidate for the 2010 season.

SLAGGERT HONORED: Irish associate coach Andy Slaggert has been honored by the American Hockey Coaches’ Association (AHCA) as he was named the winner of the Terry Flanagan Award. The award is named in honor of former New Hampshire player and Bowling Green assistant, Terry Flanagan, and honors an assistant coach for his body of work during his coaching career. Slaggert is in his 17th season as an assistant coach at Notre Dame and is recognized as one of the top recruiters in the nation.

SWEET SWEDE: Junior left wing Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) recorded his second hat trick of the season in the 6-1 win over Lake Superior on Jan. 22. The three-goal night proved to be a natural hat trick for Ridderwall as he scored three times in a 6:47 span of the middle period. Notre Dame’s leading scorer through 34 games (17-8-25), Ridderwall had his first hat trick on Nov. 28 versus Bowling Green. He becomes the first Irish player to get two hat tricks in a season since Tim Kuehl `90 accomplished the feat during the 1987-88 season. Ridderwall is tied for third in the CCHA with his 17 goals, while his 10 power-play goals leads the conference.

PRACTICE ON THE POND: Notre Dame held its annual “Practice on the Pond,” at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind., on Friday, Feb. 12. The practice on the outdoor rink was open to the public and drew 200 Irish hockey fans who had a chance to meet the players and get autographs. Hot chocolate was provided to fans and players alike throughout the practice. This is the third consecutive year that Notre Dame hockey has held an outdoor practice.

PLAYING GAMES: Senior Kevin Deeth (Gig comes into the series with Michigan having played in 160 career games. He has missed just three games his entire career. Deeth is currently third on the Irish all-time games played list. Senior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) is sixth on the list with 157 career games and Ryan Thang (Sr., Edina, Minn.) is eighth with 155. The top 10:

Games PlayedName (Seasons)                       Games1.   Mark Van Guilder (2004-08)       1632.   Brock Sheahan (2004-08)          1613.   Kevin Deeth (2006- )             1604.   Erik Condra (2005-09)            1595.   Dan Carlson (1997-01)            1586.   Kyle Lawson (2006- )             1577.   Evan Nielsen (1999-03)           1568.   Ryan Thang (2006- )              1559.   Garrett Regan (2005- )           154     Wes O'Neill (2003-07)            154     Jason Paige (2003-07)            154--   Brett Blatchford (2006- )        149

FIRING AWAY: The 55 shots that Notre Dame fired at Western Michigan goaltender Riley Gill on Feb. 6 were the most by an Irish team since Nov. 5, 2004 when they fired 54 shots on Bowling Green in a 4-4 tie. The 54 saves by Gill were the most by an opposing goaltender since Jordan Sigalet had 50 in that 4-4 tie in November of 2004.

PENALTY KILLERS: Notre Dame came into the weekend series at Western Michigan (Feb. 5-6) ranked No. 1 in the nation and the CCHA with a 90.0% penalty killing success rate. Through the first 30 games of the season, the Irish had given up just 14 power-play goals. Against the Broncos, Notre Dame gave up five power-play goals in six chances and saw its penalty-killing success rate fall to 87.0%. Last weekend at Bowling Green, the Irish got back on track, killing nine-of-10 Falcon power plays to improve to 87.2% and are now second in the CCHA and fifth in the nation in penalty killing. They have given up 20 power-play goals in 156 chances for the 87.2% success rate. The three power-play goals that Western Michigan scored on Feb. 6 were the most given up by the Irish since Massachusetts scored three on Dec. 29, 2007 in a 4-3 loss.

MR. CLUTCH: Sean Lorenz’ (So., Littleton, Colo.) goal at 8:25 of the second period versus Nebraska-Omaha proved to be the game winner against the Mavericks. The goal was the second of the year for Lorenz and also his second game-winning goal of the season. On Jan. 2 versus Colgate in the Shillelagh Tournament, Lorenz scored his first collegiate goal and it was the game winner in a 5-2 win over the Raiders. Lorenz has two goals and an assist for three points in 30 games this season.

THE KID IS ALRIGHT: Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson has had a strong rookie season through the first 34 games of the season. This season, Johnson has appeared in 25 games for Notre Dame, making 23 starts. He is 9-10-5 overall with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Against Lake Superior State (Jan. 22-23), he stopped 71-of-73 shots by the Lakers while giving up just two goals in a win and a tie to earn CCHA goaltender of the week honors. He owns a pair of shutouts with the first coming on Oct. 16, versus Providence College, and the second on Dec. 13 against Michigan. He is currently seventh in the CCHA and 14th in the nation in goals-against average and seventh in the league and 13th nationally in save percentage. In his 23 starts, Johnson has given up 53 goals while the Irish have scored 52.

DEFENSIVE DANDIES: While the Irish have struggled to score goals, they have done a good job of keeping the puck out of the net through the first 34 games. In those games, Notre Dame’s defense has held opponents to two goals or less in 18 of them and has given up three or less in 23 of the 34 contests. For the year, the Irish have given up just 84 goals for a 2.47 goals per game to rank 11th in the nation in team defense.

50/50 CLUB: With a goal and two assists in the 6-1 win over Lake Superior State, senior captain Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) became the 30th player in Notre Dame history to score 50 goals with 50 assists in his career. Thang now has 57 goals and 55 assists for 112 career points. The last player to reach the 50/50 mark was Rob Globke `04 who did it in 2003-04 and finished his career with 68 goals and 56 assists.