March 5, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – For the first time in Notre Dame’s CCHA history and just the seventh time since the conference began naming an all-rookie team, the Fighting Irish have had three players chosen by the coaches to the all-rookie team.
Named to the team are center Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.), left wing Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) and defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.). The trio has played major role in Notre Dame’s first-ever CCHA regular-season title and top national ranking.
The Irish trio makes Notre Dame just the third school to have three players named to the all-rookie team, joining Michigan (five times) and Michigan State (once). The 1993-94 Michigan team had the most players ever named when they had four rookies chosen that season.
Joining Deeth and Thang at forward is Western Michigan’s Mark Letestu while Nebraska-Omaha’s Eddie Del Grosso joins Lawson on defense. The all-rookie goaltender is Western Michigan’s Riley Gill.
Deeth goes into the second round of the CCHA playoffs tied for second on the Notre Dame roster with 34 points on 16 goals and 18 assists. He has scored six times on the power play, owns one short-handed goal and has scored three game winners. His .219 shooting percentage (16 goals on 73 shots) leads the team. In 28 CCHA games, the Gig Harbor, Wash., native has nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points. His overall +22 tied him for second among all CCHA players along with teammate Erik Condra (So., Livonia, Mich.).
Thang finished the regular season tied with Deeth in points with 34 and tied for the team lead in goals with 17. He paced the Irish with eight power-play goals and his five game winners ranked him third in the CCHA. In 28 conference games, Thang had 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points to finish second to Condra in that category. For the season, Thang was +17 to tie for third on the team while tying for eighth overall in the CCHA.
Lawson joined the Irish and quickly became one of the team’s top defensemen at both ends of the ice. In 32 games, he had three goals and 13 assists for 16 points and was +19 on the year to finish third on the squad. Two of his goals came on the power play and his three goals tied for the team lead among Notre Dame blueliners. In 26 CCHA games, Lawson had three goals and 11 assists for 14 points. A 2005 draft choice of the Carolina Hurricanes, the New Hudson, Mich., native missed four games this year while playing for the U.S. Junior National Team in the World Championships at Christmas. Lawson was an alternate captain for the bronze medal winning U.S. team.
Previous Notre Dame players to take CCHA all-rookie honors include: Erik Condra (2005-06), Brett Lebda (2003-04), David Inman (1998-99), Mark Eaton (1997-98), Joe Dusbabek (1996-97) and Jamie Ling (1992-93).
The Irish, 27-6-3 overall and 21-4-3 in the CCHA, return to action this weekend when the play host to Alaska in the second round of the CCHA tournament. The best-of-three series begins on Friday, March 9 at the Joyce Center, beginning at 7:35 p.m.