Freshman defenseman Brett Blatchford had assists in both games of the Bowling Green series.  The rookie defenseman has two goals and 12 assists for 14 points this season.

Irish Ranked No. 1 In The Nation For First Time In Program's History; Notre Dame To Host Nebraska-Omaha In Weekend Series At The Joyce Center.

Feb. 7, 2007

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Series: #1/#1 Notre Dame (23-5-2/17-3-2) vs. Nebraska-Omaha (13-12-7/10-9-3)

• Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., February 9-10, 2007 • 7:35 p.m./7:05 p.m. • Joyce Center (2,713)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert calls the action for the Irish. Television: Saturday’s game will be televised live by Comcast Local. Ben Holden and Lyle Phair will provide the play-by-play and color commentary. The game will be carried in South Bend on Comcast’s local access station – Channel 3.

• Internet: Irish hockey can be heard on the internet at the Notre Dame website – All Notre Dame home games and all CCHA games are available via gametracker. Video Streaming: The February 9 game versus Nebraska-Omaha will be available via Fighting Irish All-Access on the Notre Dame website at To view the game, the viewer will need to be using Internet Explorer 6 with Windows Media Player 9 or higher.

THE TOP OF THE HEAP: For the first time in the 39-year history of the Notre Dame hockey program the Fighting Irish find themselves looking down at the rest of the college hockey world as they are ranked first in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and college hockey polls. Notre Dame brings a 23-5-2 overall record into its weekend series with Nebraska-Omaha and sits atop the CCHA standings with a 17-3-2 league record. The Irish hold a four-point lead on second-place Michigan, a six-point lead on third-place Miami and an eight-point lead on fourth-place Michigan State while the Spartans have one game in hand. The Irish are the first team in the conference to clinch a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs and the magic number to clinch first-place is any combination of Notre Dame wins or ties or Michigan losses and ties that totals nine points. Nebraska-Omaha is 13-12-7 overall and 10-9-3 in the CCHA , good for 23 points and fifth-place in the league. The Mavericks are five points behind fourth-place Michigan State and the final spot that receives a first-round bye. UNO leads sixth-place Lake Superior by two points and seventh-place Ohio State by three points in the race for home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

NOTRE DAME VS. NEBRASKA-OMAHA: The Irish and Mavericks have met twice this season, splitting a pair of games in Omaha in November. Notre Dame won the series opener on Nov. 24, 4-2 and then lost a 3-2 decision on Nov. 25. The all-time series is even at 9-9-3 and Nebraska-Omaha has a 4-3-1 edge in the games played at the Joyce Center. UNO’s last win at the Joyce Center came on Feb. 5, 2005, a 6-3 win.

CCHA WINS: Notre Dame’s 17 CCHA wins to date are the most in the team’s 17-years in the conference. The Irish had 15 wins in 1981-82 and again in 1998-99.

HOBEY HOPEFULS: Two Notre Dame players – goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) and right wing Mark Van Guilder (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) – are among 40 players listed by the Hobey Baker Award website as candidate’s for the prestigious honor. Phase one of – Vote For Hobey – is now underway. Fans now have the opportunity to select their favorite candidate for the list of top ten finalists on the new Hobey Baker Award website ( Fans may vote for one candidate at a time, but can vote multiple times per day. The standings will run concurrently on the Hobey Baker website. Voting in phase one will end on March 4. Phase two will begin on March 15 after the top ten finalists have been announced. To vote, visit the Vote For Hobey link on the Hobey Baker website, or just click on the Vote For Hobey button on the site’s homepage.

David Brown: Brown comes into the Nebraska-Omaha series with a 22-4-2 record to go with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. His 22 wins lead the nation while his goals against leads the CCHA and is second in the country. Brown’s save percentage is second in the conference and ninth nationally. He has led the Irish to the second-best defense in the nation, giving up just 1.73 goals-per game. He is tied for the CCHA lead with three shutouts and is tied for fifth in the nation in that category. In his last five games, Brown is 4-0-1 with a 1.18 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage and one shutout. Brown is currently ranked first by Inside College’s Hobey Tracker and second by’s Hobey Watch.

Mark Van Guilder: Van Guilder had one assist in the series at Bowling Green and is tied for second on the team in scoring with 29 points on 15 goals and 14 assists. His 15 goals are second on the team and are a career high for the junior forward. His 29 points are also a career best.

BOWLING GREEN RECAP: The Irish took two one-goal wins on the road at Bowling Green, winning 3-2 and 2-1 versus the Falcons. The two wins helped the Irish clinch a first-round bye in the upcoming CCHA playoffs. On Friday night, senior Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.) scored off a scramble in front of Bowling Green goaltender Jimmy Spratt at the 19:01 mark of the second period to give the Irish a 3-2 win. Notre Dame scored a pair of power-play goals 59 seconds apart in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Dan Kissel (Fr., Crestwood, Ill.) scored at 4:55 on a five-on-three chance off a Mark Van Guilder (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) set up. Freshman Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) scored at 5:54 as he redirected a Brett Blatchford (Fr., Temperance, Mich.) pass behind Spratt for his 16th goal of the season. The Falcons cut the lead to 2-1 at 14:03 on a Brandon Svendsen goal. They tied the game in the second period at 4:22 when James Unger flipped a rebound over Irish goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) for a 2-2 score. That set up Bartlett’s game winner as he tucked a rebound of Noah Babin’s (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) shot under Spratt for his second goal of the season. Notre Dame out shot Bowling Green by a 32-20 margin. Brown made 18 saves while Spratt had 29. The Irish were 2-for-4 on the power play while the Falcons were 0-for-1. On Saturday night, the Irish trailed after the first period for just the fifth time this season as Kai Kantola scored on a power play at 7:19 of the opening period. The Irish would tie the score and go ahead in the second with two goals. Bartlett scored his third of the season and second of the weekend when he tucked the rebound of a Brock Sheahan (Jr., Lethbridge, Alb.) under Spratt at 7:31. Notre Dame got the game winner at 14:27 when Kevin Deeth (Fr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) redirected a Kyle Lawson (Fr., New Hudson, Mich.) pass between Spratt’s pads on a power play for his 13th goal of the season. The Irish out shot Bowling Green by a 21-15 margin. Brown finished with 14 saves while Spratt had 19 stops on the night. Notre Dame was 1-for-8 on the power play while the Falcons were 1-for-5.

JOYCE CENTER SELLOUTS: Both games of the Nebraska-Omaha series are sold out. That gives the Irish sellout crowds in six of their last seven games going back to Dec. 10. For the year, the Irish have already had seven sellouts at the Joyce Center and are averaging 2,322 fans per game for the year.

SICK BAY: Sophomore center Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) has been sidelined since the Lake Superior Series (Jan. 12-13) with mononucleosis. He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks of action.

23 WINS AND COUNTING: The Irish now have a 23-5-2 record for the season. The 23 wins equals the second-most wins in the program’s 39-year history. The 1972-73 team was 23-14-1 and finished second in the WCHA. In 1981-82, the Irish were 23-15-2 and finished fourth in the CCHA. The school record for wins is 27-4-2 and came in 1987-88 when the Irish played as a Division I Independent.

BARTLETT SCORES: Senior Michael Bartlett scored a goal in each of the games at Bowling Green. His goal in the 3-2 win was the game winner and snapped a 24-game goal-less drought that started after his Oct. 30 goal at Providence. The game winner was his first since Oct. 30, 2003 when he had the game winner against Nebraska-Omaha. He added his third goal in the 2-1 win on Saturday, tying the game in the second period. Bartlett’s three goals this season are the most he’s scored since getting six goals as a freshman in 2003-04.

FIRST-PERIOD GOALS: Bowling Green became the eighth team this season to score first versus the Irish (ND is 5-2-1 in those games). On the year, the Irish have given up just 12 first-period goals while scoring 31 of their own. Notre Dame has scored the first goal of the game 22 times this year and is 18-3-1 in those games. Versus Michigan on Dec. 10, Notre Dame surrendered two goals in the first period for the only time this season and trailed the Wolverines 2-1 after one period. Notre Dame is 15-2-0 when they lead after one period and 5-2-1 when tied after one period. The Irish are now 3-1-1 when they trail after one period of play.

RANKINGS UPDATE: For the 15th consecutive week, the Irish are ranked by both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and polls and for the first time ever, they are ranked No. 1 in the nation. Prior to this season, the last time the Notre Dame was ranked was the 2003-04 campaign when the Irish finished the year ranked 12th. The 15 consecutive weeks are the most the Irish have been ranked in one season. Week-by-week with the Irish this season:

2006-07 Irish National RankingsDate    USA TODAY    USCHO.com10/02      ----        ----10/09      ----        ----10/16      ----         RV10/23      11th        12th10/30      10th        10th11/6        9th         9th11/13       6th         5th11/20       5th         4th11/27       5th         5th12/4        5th         5th12/11       4th         4th12/18       3rd         3rd 1/2       no poll      2nd 1/8        5th         5th 1/15       3rd         3rd 1/22       3rd         3rd 1/29       2nd         2nd 2/5        1st         1st

Prior to this week, the Irish were ranked as high as second several times, including Jan. 2 and Jan. 31 of this season.

IRISH RANKING HISTORY: Notre Dame hasn’t been ranked often in its 39-year hockey history. During the 1972-73 season, the Irish finished ranked fourth overall in the WMPL radio poll and were ranked for eight weeks during the year. That season, Notre Dame lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA finals. The following year (1973-74), the Irish opened the season ranked second (WMPL) and stayed as high as No. 2 through the first four weeks of the year before dropping out. In 1976-77, the Irish were ranked in the final seven weeks of the season, reaching as high as No. 2 on Jan. 31, finishing the year ranked third in the WMPL radio poll. They lost to Minnesota in the WCHA playoffs in a total-goal series. Notre Dame would not be ranked again until October 26 of the 1981-82 season when they reached 10th but weren’t ranked again. In 1998-99, the Irish spent 16 consecutive weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 16) in both the USA Today and polls, before falling out at the end of the year. In 2002-03, the Irish were ranked for one week and in 2003-04, they were ranked six weeks in total, including the final four weeks in a row to finish 12th in the USA Today Poll and 13th in the final polls.

PENALTY-KILLING PROWESS: Over the last seven games, Notre Dame has given up just two power-play goals (Miami 1/26 and Bowling Green 2/3) in 35 opponent chances (94.3%). On the year, Notre Dame has given up just two power-play goals in a game twice (to Minnesota State and Robert Morris, both losses). Overall, the Irish have killed 135-of-150 power plays for a 90.0% success rate that is tied for the lead in the CCHA and tied for second in the nation.

ALASKA TV: Notre Dame’s game at Alaska on Friday, Feb. 16 will be televised on tape delay on WHME-TV 46 in South Bend. The game can be seen on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 9:30 a.m.

THE KID LINE: Notre Dame’s line of Ryan Thang, Kevin Deeth and Erik Condra (two freshmen and a sophomore) has been the team’s top scoring trio this season. The threesome picked up two goals and an assist in the weekend sweep of Bowling Green, with Deeth getting the game winner in the Feb. 3, 2-1 win. For the season the trio now has 40 goals and 53 assists for 93 points. Included in the 40 goals are 17 power-play goals, three short-handed goals and 10 game winners. The three players are a combined +51. Condra is second in the CCHA with a +19, Deeth is third with a +18 and Thang is tied for 11th with a +14.

CONDRA BESTS: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) was held to one assist in the weekend series at Bowling Green, but continues to lead the team with 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points. His 11 goals are a career high and rank fourth on the team. His 25 assists are just three off his career high set last season and lead the team. A year ago, Condra had 34 points for the year on six goals and 28 assists.

THE REAL THANG: Freshman right wing Ryan Thang took over the team lead in goals (16) and power-play goals (8) with his goal in the 3-2 win over Bowling Green on Feb. 2. Thang’s 16 goals are most by an Irish freshman since Rob Globke `04 had 17 in 2000-01. He is tied for tied for ninth on the Irish list for goals by a freshman with current Irish volunteer assistant Mike McNeill `88 who had 16 in the 1984-85 season. He is second in the CCHA among freshmen goal scorers, trailing Western Michigan’s Mark Letestu who has 18.

Irish Freshman Goal Scoring Leaders    Player                  Goals1.  Dave Poulin (78-79)      282.  Paul Regan (69-70)       273.  Kevin Hoene (68-69)      24    John Noble (68-69)       245.  Greg Meredith (76-77)    236.  Tom Mooney (84-85)       197.  Brian Walsh (73-74)      17    Rob Globke (00-01)       179.  Mike McNeill (84-85)     16    Ryan Thang (06-07)       16

DYNAMIC DEETH: Freshman center Kevin Deeth is second on the Irish in scoring with 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points. Included in his 13 goals are six power-play goals and two game winners. His power-play goal in the second period on Feb. 3 gave the Irish the 2-1 win. Deeth is also second on the team with a +18.

MR. STEADY: Junior Mark Van Guilder continues to be Notre Dame’s steadiest player as he is tied for second on the team in goals (15) and points (29) and is sixth with a +12. The Hobey Baker Award candidate has been held off the scoresheet just 10 times this season and he leads the Irish with eight multiple-point games on the year. Prior to the series with Alaska (Dec. 2-3), Van Guilder moved from center to right wing and responded with three goals against the Nanooks. His 15 goals are a career high, surpassing his eight goals of a year ago. The Roseville, Minn., native now has his eyes set on Notre Dame’s “Iron Man” record of 153 consecutive games, set by Tim Wallace (2002-06) as he has now played in 104 consecutive games in his career.

COMING FROM BEHIND: Four times this season, Notre Dame has rallied from a third-period deficit to win or tie a game. On Dec. 2 versus Alaska, the Irish trailed 1-0 going into the third period and scored three times for a 3-1 win. On Dec. 10, ND trailed Michigan, 3-2, entering the third period and scored twice for a 4-3 win. On Dec. 30, the Irish trailed Northern Michigan, 2-1 entering the third and scored three times in a 4-3 win. Last weekend, Notre Dame trailed Miami, 2-0 entering the third and scored twice for a 2-2 tie. On the year, when trailing going into the third period, the Irish are 3-3-1.

SCORING IN BUNCHES: Through the first 30 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored two or more goals in a period a total of 32 times, including two goals in the first period at Bowling Green on Feb. 2 and two goals in the second period on Feb. 3. The totals include 21 periods with two goals, nine periods with three goals, one period with four and one with five lamplighters.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU: Senior goaltender David Brown continues to be one of the leading contenders for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award for college hockey’s top player. Brown bounced back from his first loss in 10 games (3-2 on Jan. 19 at Western Michigan) to record his third shutout of the season, winning at Western, 3-0 on Jan. 20. Over his last five games since the loss, Brown is 4-0-1 with a 1.18 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage. Prior to the Jan. 19 loss, Brown had not lost a game since Nov. 25 at Nebraska-Omaha. In his nine-game winning streak, Brown has a 2.21 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. Overall, he has now appeared in 28 of Notre Dame’s 30 games and has a 1.70 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage to go with an 22-4-2 record. The Hobey Baker candidate is first among CCHA goaltenders in wins (22) and goals-against average (1.70), second in save percentage (.928) and third in minutes played (1,694:04). He ranks first nationally in wins, second in goals-against average, third in minutes played and eighth in save percentage. His .821 winning percentage is first in the CCHA and second nationally. Brown and the Irish defense are second in the nation, giving up just 1.73 goals-per-game (52 in 30 contests). The senior goaltender now has 47 career wins at Notre Dame to rank third on the all-time wins list. A three-time CCHA goaltender of the week (Oct. 23, Nov. 6 and Jan. 29), Brown was also the all-tournament goaltender at the Lightning College Hockey Classic. This season, Brown has taken over Notre Dame’s all-time top spot for career goals-against average (2.45), save percentage (.914) and shutouts (9).

FRIDAY NIGHT FUN: The Irish ran their record to 10-1-0 in the opening game of a weekend CCHA series with the 3-2 win at Bowling Green. The lone loss came on Jan. 19 at Western Michigan (3-2). Notre Dame also is 7-2-2 in the second game of the series.

CLUTCH SCORER: Freshman Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.) picked up his sixth goal of the season with a power-play goal in the 3-2 win at Bowling Green on Feb. 2. Kissel now has six goals in 16 games this season with three of them being game winners.

KID STUFF: Notre Dame’s freshman class continues to excel on the ice and played a key role in the sweep at Bowling Green. Of the five goals the Irish scored, three came off the sticks of freshmen and they added three assists on the weekend. In the 30 games, the freshmen have combined for 41 goals and 59 assists for 100 points, 15 power-play goals, three short-handed tallies, 10 game-winning goals and are a combined +68. Leading the way are Kevin Deeth (13g, 16a) and Ryan Thang (16g, 12a) with 29 and 28 points respectively. Thang leads the team with eight power-play goals and is followed by Deeth with six. Thang’s four game-winning goals ties him for the team lead and is third in the CCHA and eighth in the nation. Defenseman Kyle Lawson has become a force on the Irish blue line with three goals and 13 assists on the year and is second on the team with a +18. Fellow blueliner Brett Blatchford has 14 points on two goals and 12 assists and is +10. Left wing Dan Kissel has six goals and three assists for nine points in 16 games. Christian Minella has scored one goal and added three assists in 15 games. The freshman class has accounted for 10 of Notre Dame’s 23 game-winning goals (Thang – 4, Kissel – 3, Deeth – 2 and Blatchford one).

CCHA WINNING STREAK: Notre Dame saw its eight-game CCHA winning streak come to an end with the 3-2 loss at Western Michigan on Jan. 19. The streak started on Dec. 2 versus Alaska and included two wins versus the Nanooks, two versus Michigan, two against Northern Michigan and a pair versus Lake Superior State. The streak was the longest conference win streak for the Irish in their 17 years (1981-83, 1992-07) in the league. The previous best win streaks were five games (Oct. 9-Oct. 23, 1998 and Feb. 9-Mar. 2, 2002).

BETTER THAN LAST YEAR: With 110 goals in the first 30 games this season (3.67 goals-per-game), Notre Dame has already surpassed its goal total from a year ago when the Irish had 89 goals in 36 games for a 2.47 goals-per-game average. The last time the Irish averaged more than 3.67 goals-per-game was 1990-91 (4.06). This year’s Irish offense is tied for sixth in the nation and the +1.93 goals margin is second best in the country.

CLUTCH SCORER: Sophomore Erik Condra made the most of his two goals at Lake Superior (1/12 and 1/13). Both of Condra’s goals proved to be the game winner. His goal on Jan. 12 came in overtime and was his third game winner. On Saturday, Jan. 13, a second-period power-play goal proved to be the game winner. Condra now has a career-high 11 goals with four of them winning games. His four game winners tie him with teammate Ryan Thang for the team lead. Condra now has 17 career goals with five of them the game-deciding goal.

CONDRA CAPERS: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra has picked up where he left off as a freshman when he led the Irish in scoring (6g, 28a) as he again leads the team with 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points. Condra scored two goals and added an assist in the sweep at Lake Superior with both his goals being game winners and now has four on the season. He recorded a career-high five-point game at Robert Morris on Jan. 5, the first five-point game by an Irish player since Dec. 20, 2000 when Brett Lebda `04 had five points (1g, 4a) in a 7-4 win at Nebraska-Omaha. Condra has four games this season with three or more points.

ALL TIED UP: Notre Dame’s 2-2 tie with Miami on Jan. 27 was the fourth game this season that saw the Irish go to extra playing time. They are now 1-1-2 in the extra session. On Jan. 12, at Lake Superior, the Irish took a 4-3 overtime win that was the first for the Irish since Dec. 10, 2004 when the Irish defeated Michigan State, 3-2, at the Joyce Center. The last time that the Irish won an overtime game on the road was March 9, 2002, a 2-1 win at Nebraska-Omaha in the CCHA playoffs. In 57 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 season, the Irish are 8-7-42 in overtime.

ROAD SWEEPS: Notre Dame’s weekend sweep at Bowling Green on Feb. 2-3 was the second road sweep for the Irish this season. They also took two from Lake Superior on Jan. 12-13. That sweep was the first road sweep for Notre Dame since Feb. 14-15, 2003 when they won a pair of games at Bowling Green.

MAD HATTER: Freshman Kevin Deeth recorded his first career hat trick in the Jan. 5, 6-2 win over the Robert Morris. The hat trick was the third of the year for the Irish as Deeth joins Mark Van Guilder and Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.) with three goal games. The last time the Irish had three hat tricks in a season was the 1991-92 campaign when they had four. Deeth is second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points. He is tied for the team lead with five power-play goals.

PLAYING WITH THE LEAD: Through the first 30 games of the season, Notre Dame has played a total of 1818:09 minutes. In those 30 games, the Irish have trailed for just 254:19 minutes (or 14.0% of the time). On the year, the Irish have been in the lead or tied for 86.0% of the time or 1563:50 minutes. That breaks down to being tied for 584:32 minutes (32.1%) and leading 979:18 (53.9%).

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s loss to Robert Morris on Jan. 7 snapped an 8-0-0 start for the Irish at the Joyce Center. A year ago, Notre Dame was 7-11-3 on home ice. Through the first 30 games, the Irish have played just 11 games at home (9-1-1) and 19 on the road (four neutral site games). The Irish are 10-4-1 in away games and 4-0-0 in neutral site games. The last time the Irish won more than 10 games on the road was in 1997-98 when they were 12-11-0 away from the Joyce Center.

TURN THE PAIGE: Senior center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) has picked up points in each of his last three games, recording assists versus Miami (1/27) and in each game of the Bowling Green series. Through 30 games, Paige has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. His eight assists is a career best while the 16 points ties his career high. His previous best season came in 2003-04 when he had 10 goals and six assists for 16 points, all career highs. He recorded the second two-goal game of his career in the win over Michigan State on Nov. 17. His previous two-goal game came on Feb. 27, 2004, in his freshman year against Michigan. He has already surpassed his totals from last season (4g, 1a, 5pts). One of the top defensive forwards in the CCHA, Paige continues as Notre Dame’s top face-off man winning 357-of-602 for a 59.3% success rate.

BLATCHFORD BITS: Freshman defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) set up a pair of goals in the weekend series at Bowling Green to raise his point totals to two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 21 games this season. Versus Michigan, on Dec. 8, Blatchford had a career-high three assists, including an assist on Josh Sciba’s second-period game-winning goal. He is tied for third among Notre Dame defensemen in scoring and is fourth among freshmen on the scoresheet.