Dec. 26, 2014
– The Games:
Florida College Hockey Classic
University of Notre Dame (8-8-2) vs. #7/#6 Miami University (11-5-0)
Lake Superior State University (3-17-0) vs. Cornell University (5-5-1)
Note: Consolation and championship contests slated for Monday.
Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014 – Germain Arena (7,181) – 4:05 p.m./7:35 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 – Germain Arena (7,181) – 4:05 p.m./7:35 p.m.
– Broadcast Information: Radio: Both Notre Dame games of the Florida College Hockey Classic will be broadcast live on New Country 99.9 FM in South Bend and at UND.com (WatchND). Darin Pritchett, the voice of the Irish, will call the action.
– Internet: Audio: Live audio streaming for both Notre Dame games in the Florida College Hockey Classic will be available at the Notre Dame website at UND.com (WatchND) free of charge. Statistics: Available at collegehockeystats.net. Twitter: Follow Irish hockey on Twitter at @NDHockey.
TOURNAMENT TIME: The University of Notre Dame will participate in its third in-season tournament this year when the Irish travel to Estero, Florida, to play in the Florida College Hockey Classic December 28-29, at Germain Arena, the home of the East Coast Hockey League’s Florida Everblades. Notre Dame will meet long-time rival, Miami, at 4:05 p.m. on Dec. 28 in the opening game of the tournament with tourney-host, Cornell, battling Lake Superior State in the nightcap at 7:35 p.m. So far this season, Notre Dame has played in the Ice Breaker Tournament and the Shillelagh Tournament with both of those held at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish finished fourth in both of those tourneys. Notre Dame brings an 8-8-2 overall record into the Florida College Hockey Classic and is 4-2-2 in Hockey East, good for 10 points and fifth place in the standings. The Irish have not played since Dec. 6 at Massachusetts. Miami University is 11-5-0 on the year and is tied for first in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) with Minnesota Duluth, as each team is 7-3-0 in league play. Cornell owns a 5-5-1 mark for the year and is 3-3-0 in the ECAC, good for 10th place. The Big Red have played the fewest games of any ECAC team. Lake Superior State is 3-17-0 on the season and is tied for eighth in the WCHA with a 3-11-0 league record. The Lakers and Alaska Anchorage each have six points in the standings. This is the second time that Notre Dame has played in the Florida College Hockey Classic. The first time came in Dec. 2003 when the Irish fell to Cornell in the opening game by a 4-0 score then defeated Maine 1-0 in the third-place game.
IRISH VERSUS REDHAWKS: The Dec. 28 meeting between Notre Dame and Miami renews a long-time Central Collegiate Hockey Association rivalry that began in 1981 and ended with the end of the CCHA in 2013. The two teams met 66 times in the series with the RedHawks owning a 39-17-10 advantage. Miami and Notre Dame have met five times at neutral sites and the RedHawks are 4-1-0 in those games. Miami has had Notre Dame’s number in recent seasons, holding an 11-2-2 lead in the series since the 2007-08 campaign. The last time the two schools met was on a big stage – at Soldier Field in Chicago – at the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic. In front of 52,051 fans on Feb. 17, 2013, the Irish prevailed by a 2-1 score over the RedHawks.
RANKINGS: Miami is the lone team in the Florida College Hockey Classic that is ranked in the national rankings. As of Dec. 14, the RedHawks were seventh in the USA Today/U.S. Hockey Magazine rankings and sixth in the USCHO.com polls.
A LOOK AHEAD: Following the two games of the Florida College Hockey Classic, Notre Dame will next be in action at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9 when the Irish travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face the Western Michigan Broncos. That game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. The two teams will then play at 6:05 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the Compton Family Ice Arena to close out the home-and-home series. That game will be televised by the NBC Sports Network.
A NOVEMBER TO FORGET: After starting the season with a 5-2-0 mark in October, the Irish fell on hard times in November, turning in a 1-6-2 record and are now 8-8-2. During those nine games in November, Notre Dame scored just 14 goals. In two games in December at Massachusetts, the Irish have scored 11 goals in 7-5 and 4-0 wins.
A LOOK BACK AT MASSACHUSETTS:
Friday, Dec. 5 – Senior right wing Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria) scored twice in a five-goal third period to lead the University of Notre Dame to a 7-5 win over the University of Massachusetts at the Mullins Center. Schneider paced the Irish offense while they got single goals from Connor Hurley (Edina, Minn.), Austin Wuthrich (Anchorage, Alaska), Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.), Jordan Gross (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Luke Ripley (Kitimat, B.C.) in the victory. Defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) had three assists in the win. Frank Vatrano led the Minutemen with two goals, while Shane Walsh, Anthony Petrella and Troy Power added single goals in the game. The win snapped Notre Dame’s five-game winless skid (0-4-1). The Irish out shot Massachusetts 29-25 in the game. Chad Katunar (Victoria, B.C.) had 20 saves in goal for Notre Dame.
Saturday, Dec. 6 – Senior defenseman Robbie Russo scored twice and Austin Wuthrich and Mario Lucia each scored once while freshman goaltender Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) stopped all 14 shots he faced, as the University of Notre Dame blanked the University of Massachusetts 4-0 at the Mullins Center. Sophomore forward Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) picked up three assists in the game while Wuthrich and Lucia also had assists for two-point nights. The win, coupled with Friday night’s 7-5 victory, gives the Irish their first Hockey East road sweep since joining the conference at the start of the 2013-14 season. The Irish controlled play for large portions of the game as they out shot the Minutemen by a 33-14 margin. Steve Mastalerz finished with 29 saves in the UMass goal. The 14 shots by the Minutemen were the fewest that an opponent has had against Notre Dame this season. The Irish snapped an 0-for-30 slump on the power play when Russo scored his second goal of the game at 17:07 of the third period for the final goal of the night.
HOCKEY EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior defenseman Robbie Russo was selected the Hockey East defensive player of the week on Dec. 8 for his play in the series versus Massachusetts. In the Irish road sweep, Russo scored two goals and added three assists for a five-point weekend. In the 7-5 win on Dec. 5, Russo had the first three-assist game of his career and the second three-point night in his four seasons at Notre Dame. He had six shots on goal and was +5 for the weekend. Russo finished the weekend as Notre Dame’s top scorer this season with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. That ranked him third in Hockey East overall and tops among league blue liners. His seven goals are the most for any defensemen in Division I hockey.
FIVE FOR VINNY: Sophomore center Vince Hinostroza snapped out of his own four-game, pointless streak, putting up five assists in the two-game series at Massachusetts. Hinostroza had two assists in the 7-5 win on Dec. 5 and then followed that with a three-assist game in the 4-0 win on Dec. 6. The three-point game was the fifth of his Notre Dame career and the three assists marked the third time in two seasons that Hinostroza has had that many in one contest.
MR. ZERO: Freshman goaltender Cal Petersen recorded his second career shutout on Dec. 6 when he stopped 14 shots in a 4-0 win over Massachusetts. He becomes the first Notre Dame freshman goaltender to have two shutouts in his rookie years since Mike Johnson had two in 2009-10. Petersen’s first shutout came on Oct. 25, when he kicked out all 23 shots he faced in a 7-0 win over Niagara. That shutout came in his third career start, as he joined a long line of recent Notre Dame goaltenders to get a shutout in their first three starts. Johnson (2009) and Tom O’Brien (2008) recorded shutouts in their first career starts while Jordan Pearce (2006) and David Brown (2003) did it in their second starts. Petersen joins Brad Phillips (2009) who recorded his first career shutout in his third start. For the season, Peteren is now 4-5-1 with a 2.66 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
SCHNEIDER SCORES: Senior Peter Schneider’s two-goal game against UMass on Dec. 5 marked the third time in his career that he has scored twice in a game. The previous games came on March 14, 2014, at Boston College and Nov. 13, 2013, versus Merrimack. For the season, Schneider has three goals and four assists for seven points.
IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT INFO: Notre Dame’s appearance in the Florida College Hockey Classic is the third in-season tournament for the Irish this year. All-time, Notre Dame has appeared in 43 in-season tournaments in the 47-year history of the program. In those tournaments, the Irish have finished first a total of nine times; have been second eight times and third 10 times in the program’s history. Notre Dame has finished fourth 16 times, including twice this year in the Ice Breaker Tournament and the Shillelagh Tournament. The last time Notre Dame played in the Florida College Hockey Classic (Dec. 2003), the Irish finished third. The last time Notre Dame won an in-season tournament came in 2012 when the Irish won the Ice Breaker Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.
SPECIAL TEAM STRUGGLES: Notre Dame’s struggles on the power play continued in the series at Massachusetts as the Irish were just one-for-12 in the two games. They did break an 0-for-30 slump that started on Nov. 9 at Minnesota. The slump breaker was a five-on-three power-play goal by Robbie Russo in the third period of the Dec. 6 game. For the season, Notre Dame is just five-for-73 with the man advantage for a 6.8% conversion rate that ranks them last in Hockey East and tied for 55th (of 59) in the nation. The Irish have scored their five power-play goals in three games this season – three vs. Niagara (Oct. 25), one against Minnesota (Nov. 9) and one versus Massachusetts (Dec. 6).
SIX IN THE NHL: With Bryan Rust playing in his first NHL game on Dec. 13 for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Notre Dame now has six former players playing in the National Hockey League. Rust joins Erik Condra (Ottawa), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Riley Sheahan (Detroit), Ian Cole (St. Louis) and Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim). The most players the Irish have ever had in the NHL at one time is seven.
CAREER YEAR: Irish junior left wing Thomas DiPauli (Caldaro, Italy) chipped in a pair of assists in the 7-5 win over Massachusetts. He already has reached career highs in assists (12) and points (15) in the first 17 games this season. The speedy forward had just three goals and two assists for five points in 26 games during an injury-filled 2013-14 season. As a freshman, he had his previous best season with five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 41 games. Through 18 games this year, he is second on the Notre Dame scoresheet with 15 points, two behind team leader Robbie Russo.
THE BIG KAT: Sophomore goaltender Chad Katunar stopped a personal three-game winless skid (0-2-1) with the win over Massachusetts on Dec. 5. Katunar made 20 saves while giving up a season-high five goals versus the Minutemen. In his previous three starts, Katunar set a career high for saves in a game, making 35 stops in the overtime loss to Union College on Nov. 28. Prior to that, in back-to-back games against UMass Lowell (Nov. 20-21), Katunar had a then career-high, 32-save game in back-to-back contests against the River Hawks. For the year, Katunar is 4-3-1 on the year with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
FRESHMEN FIRSTS: Two members of Notre Dame’s 10-man freshman class recorded firsts in the series with Massachusetts. Defenseman Luke Ripley scored his first collegiate goal in the 7-5 win on Dec. 5. Fellow blueliner Tony Bretzman (Mendota Heights, Minn.) picked up his first assist in the 4-0 win on Dec. 6. Several other rookies had big nights in the 7-5 win over the Minutemen. Center Connor Hurley scored the first goal of the game and added an assist for two points on the night. Right wing Jake Evans (Toronto, Ont.) set up the goal with an assist. Defenseman Jordan Gross scored a goal and added an assist for a two-point night.
EXTRA HOCKEY: With the 3-2 overtime loss to Union College (Nov. 28), Notre Dame is now 1-1-2 this season in overtime and has played the extra period in four of its last 11 games. The Irish picked up their overtime win on Nov. 14 with a 3-2 victory at Merrimack. The overtime win was the first for Notre Dame since March 1, 2014 when the Irish took a 2-1 overtime win at Boston College’s Conte Forum. The first overtime game this season came on Nov. 1 with a 2-2 tie versus Vermont. The other tie was another 2-2 tie, this time versus UMass Lowell on Nov. 21.
ELITE COMPANY: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson enters the Florida College Hockey Classic needing two more wins to reach the 400 mark for his career. In this, his 16th season as a Division I head coach, Jackson is 398-185-63 for a .665 winning percentage. His winning percentage is tops among active coaches with 10 or more years in coaching. His 398 wins is seventh among active coaches. Jackson was 182-52-25 in six seasons at Lake Superior State (1990-96) and is 216-133-37 in 10 seasons at Notre Dame.
JACKSON ON THE RADIO: Catch Notre Dame hockey head coach Jeff Jackson during the season on Weekday Sportsbeat with Jeff Jackson beginning in January. Along with play-by-play announcer Darin Pritchett, Coach Jackson will talk Irish hockey live from CJ’s Pub in South Bend on WSBT Radio 96.1 FM and 960 AM on January 12 and 26, February 9 and 23 and March 2 or 9 and March 23.
WORST LEAD IN HOCKEY: Notre Dame has built 2-0 leads in eight of its 12 home games this season and is 5-1-2 in those contests. The loss and the two ties have come in each of the last three home games that the Irish have had a two-goal lead – versus Vermont (Nov. 1), against UMass Lowell (Nov. 21) and versus Union College (Nov. 28). In two of the three games, Notre Dame has had the two-goal lead in the third period.