February 24, 1999

  • Two-game series with Wildcats to determine postseason fate
  • Karr remains among top CCHA goaltenders; Irish look to end scoring slump
  • Hockey program to honor parents and senior class prior to Feb. 27 game

The Notre Dame hockey team (16-11-4, 13-10-3 CCHA) heads back home for a crucial two-game series with Northern Michigan (18-10-4, 13-9-4) on Feb. 26-27 … NMU is one point ahead of the Irish (with four games to play) in the race for the fourth and final home-ice spot in the CCHA first-round playoff series … Notre Dame has lost four straight (3-1 at Michigan State, 5-1 at Bowling Green last week), dropping the Irish out of the national top 10 for the first time since Oct. 12 … the hockey program will honors its players’ parents and the six-member senior class prior to the Feb. 27 game versus NMU.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Notre Dame is mired in a 13-period scoring slump, in which the Irish have scored just two goals on 134 shots, during a span of 265:19 (since Ben Simon scored in the second period against UAF) … the Irish put 92 straight shots on net without lighting the lamp (a span of 204:05), before a goal by junior D Andy Jurkowski in the closing moments of the Feb. 19 game at MSU (his second career goal and first since Feb. 8, 1999) … freshman C David Inman then scored a similar unassisted goal the next day at Bowling Green (his first goal in 13 games) … the pair of 1-0 losses to MSU and FSU on Feb. 12-13 represented the first shutout losses on consecutive nights in Irish hockey history and the first time a Notre Dame team ever has been shut out in consecutive conference games … the program’s only previous back-to-back shutout losses came during the 1991-92 season, a 4-0 home loss to Army and a 4-0 loss at – of all teams – Ferris State (the Irish rejoined the CCHA in ’92-’93) … Since Simon’s goal versus UAF, the team’s top five scorers – Simon, senior RW Brian Urick, senior LW Aniket Dhadphale, sophomore LW Dan Carlson and senior D Benoit Cotnoir – have combined for no points … Urick has 28 of the team’s 134 shots on goal during the slump, which Carlson has 15 and Cotnoir has nine … Simon (9) and Dhadphale (7) have surprisingly low shot totals during the last four-plus games … the Irish have failed to score on their last 27 power-play chances (0-for-25 in last four games).

SECOND THINGS SECOND: With four games to play, NMU holds a one-point lead on Notre Dame and a two-point lead on Ferris State in the race for the final home-ice spot in the CCHA Tournament … FSU has clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Irish with a 1-0 win at Notre Dame while NMU and Notre Dame played to an earlier 3-3 tie at NMU … a sweep by NMU this weekend would knock Notre Dame from the home-ice race … if the Irish sweep, Notre Dame would be just two points away from beating out NMU and four points away from clinching a higher finish than FSU, pending the Bulldogs’ weekend action vs. Michigan State and Bowling Green (“points” refers to points earned combined with opponent’s points not earned) … next week’s action has Notre Dame playing twice at Miami, NMU playing at home vs. Western Michigan and Michigan and Ferris State playing twice at Michigan State … MSU (18-2-6) has clinched first while Ohio State (17-8-3) currently is second and Michigan (14-7-5) is third, just three points ahead of NMU … Michigan owns the tiebreaker vs. Notre Dame, because of its better record vs. MSU (UM’s series with the Irish ended even, as did the series goal differential) … Notre Dame is two points away from clinching a sixth-place finish (higher then Bowling Green) … the Irish can finish anywhere from third through seventh place, meaning that their postseason opponent still could be any of the following: OSU, Michigan, NMU, FSU or Bowling Green.

IRISH NOTES: Notre Dame ranks first in the CCHA for overall power play (.207), third in scoring (31.3 goals/gm), fourth in fewest penalty minutes (19.8/gm), fifth in defense (2.55 goals allowed/gm) and eighth in penalty kill (.820) … in CCHA games only, the Irish rank second in PP (.197), third in scoring (3.12), fourth in defense (2.27), fifth in low PIM (20.4) and seventh in PK (.838) … Notre Dame is 9-4-3 when playing its first game of a weekend, 7-6-1 in second-day weekend games … nine Irish players have game-winning goals … Notre Dame is 13-2-2 when scoring first, 13-0-2 when playing with a 2nd-intermission lead, 10-5-3 when outshooting the opponent, 10-1-2 at home (55-22 scoring edge) … the Irish are 15-3-3 when Ben Simon has at least one point, 9-1-2 when he has two-plus, 0-8-1 when he is held off the scoresheet …the Irish are 12-1-2 when both Simon and Aniket Dhadphale make the scoresheet … Notre Dame’s top four D have combined to miss 32 games due to injury (three have missed five-plus) … the Irish have road wins vs. every CCHA team but Miami during the last two years, plus a pair of victories at Wisconsin, a two-game sweep at St. Cloud State and a win at North Dakota … Notre Dame raced out to its best start in 39 years of varsity hockey (6-0-0) and best conference start (5-0-0) in 19 seasons as a member of the WCHA (’71-’81) or CCHA (’81-’83, ’92- ).

PLAYER NOTES: Senior G Forrest Karr ranks fourth in the CCHA with a 2.29 conference GAA, behind MSU’s Joe Blackburn (1.38), OSU’s Jeff Maund (2.08) and FSU’s Vince Owen (2.22) … senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-8A) and junior C Ben Simon (6-7) lead the team with 13 points each during the last 14 games … Cotnoir – who had his career-best, seven-game point streak snapped at MSU on Feb. 12 – remains one of the CCHA’s top scorers among defensemen (6-15, BG’s Mike Jones is 8-21 while Michigan’s Bubba Berenzweig is 6-17) … senior RW Brian Urick’s 13 career game-winning goals are tied for first in Irish history with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (’78-’82) … Urick has 119 points (55-64) in 139 career games … senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (58-44) recently passed the 100-point milestone and needs seven assists to join Urick as two of 28 Irish players ever to total 50G and 50A … Simon (15-23) – who has assisted on seven game-winning goals while scoring two others (plus game-tying goals vs. Michigan and MSU) – could flirt with 50 points this season, a mark reached just 25 times in Irish hockey history (last by Curtis Janicke in 1991-92) … Simon has points in eight of his last 13 games (including a four-game goalscoring streak to equal his career-best) … Simon is averaging nearly a point per game for his career (94 in 97) while his 15 goals this season have surpassed his combined total from the first two seasons (4 and 9) … sophomore LW Dan Carlson missed the Jan. 2-3 split at No. 1 North Dakota while playing with Team USA at the World Junior Championship. INJURY UPDATE: Junior D Ryan Clark has missed the last 15 games, after Dec. 23 shoulder surgery in his home state of Colorado, and remains out indefinitely.

THE ND-NMU SERIES: Prior to Notre Dame’s sweep of NMU last season (4-3, 3-1, 5-2), the Wildcats had won the first six games of the series, with five of those wins coming by a single goal … the 3-3 tie at NMU on Jan. 22 leaves NMU with a 6-3-1 series edge … this is the second straight year the Irish and NMU have played a late-season series (Feb. 20, 27, 28 last year) … the previous games in the series came early in 1982-83, a pair of NMU wins at Notre Dame (5-2, 4-3) … the Irish and Wildcats met four times during the senior season of current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (1981-82), with NMU winning twice at Notre Dame (3-2, 4-3) before closing out the sweep at home (3-2, 9-8) … in this year’s earlier meeting, Marquette, Mich., native Aniket Dhadphale gave the Irish a 1-0 lead with a PPG midway through the first period, with Ryan Dolder scoring his third goal of the season 11 seconds later … NMU scored its first goal early in the third (on Chad Theuer’s PPG) before Troy Bagne’s first goal of the season gave the Irish a 3-1 lead … NMU had the final push, with Lee Ruff (15:24) and Fred Mattersdorfer (16:01) scoring in the final five minutes … that final five-minute stretch looms large, as the Irish would be in fourth place and holing a one-point lead on NMU if Notre Dame had held that two-goal, third-period lead … NMU’s Dan Ragusett made 27 saves while Forrest Karr had 31 for the Irish … NMU was 1-6 on the PP, Notre Dame 1-4 … NMU returned 20 of 23 letterwinners from its ’97-’98 team that finished fourth in the CCHA (15-12-3) before beating Miami in the CCHA playoffs.

FRIEND OR FOE?: Several Notre Dame and NMU players are former teammates: ND senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and NMU senior forwards Rich Metro and Roger Trudeau, junior G Dan Ragusett and sophomore C Ryan Riipi (Marquette Electricians); ND senior C Craig Hagkull and NMU senior C Brad Frattorolli (Des Moines Buccaneers); ND sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel and NMU sophomore D Jeff White (Milton Merchants).

BLUE-LINE BOOST: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-8A) is tied with junior C Ben Simon (6G-7A) as Notre Dame’s leading scorers during the last 14 games … Cotnoir had his career-best, seven-game point streak snapped on Feb. 12, in the 1-0 loss at MSU, and has points in nine of the last 14 games, after totaling just one goal and nine points in his first 15 games played … Cotnoir’s recent highlights include two assists in the 4-3 win at No. 1 North Dakota, two goals in the 4-1 win at Bowling Green, a 4-on-4 goal that gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead in eventual 3-2 win over then-No. 5 Michigan, the first Irish goal to spark a comeback 2-2 tie with No. 4 Michigan State and a game-winning goal versus Alaska Fairbanks (5-2).

HOME IS WHERE THE DOMINANCE IS: Notre Dame’s 10-1-2 record at home has included a 55-22 scoring edge, led by junior C Ben Simon (10G-14A, +17), senior RW Brian Urick (8-13, +18), sophomore LW Dan Carlson (5-9, +5), senior RW Aniket Dhadphale (8-5, +8), senior D Benoit Cotnoir (4-7, +12) and junior RW Joe Dusbabek (3-7, +6) … the Irish home dominance included one goal every 7.7 shots on net (before the FSU loss), a .266 power-play unit (before 0-for-7 vs. FSU) and a +12 average shot margin … defensively, senior Forrest Karr has played all 790 home minutes in the nets, with just 22 goals allowed in the 13 games (1.7/gm).

SPECIAL TEAMS UPDATE: The renewed Irish power play had goals in eight of nine games before the current four-game, 0-for-25 slump … the Notre Dame penalty-killing unit had stopped 44 of the previous 48 opponent PPs (.917) before stopping just 5-of-9 in last week’s action.

IRON MEN: Just four Irish skaters (plus senior G Forrest Karr) have appeared in all 31 games this season: freshman C’s David Inman and Brett Henning, sophomore LW Chad Chipchase and junior D Andy Jurkowski.

CENTURY MARK: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale’s assist on Feb. 5 on Ben Simon’s game-tying goal vs. Michigan State was his 100th career point … Dhadphale has 102 points (58G-44A) in 136 games … after a sophomore slump (5G-16A), Dhadphale has 61 points in 68 games over the past two seasons (40G-21A) … his shooting pct. as a sophomore was .046 (5G, 109 shots), compared to .217 last season (25, 136) and .200 this season (15, 72) … his 24 career PPGs are tied for 8th in Notre Dame history, just one behind Tim Kuehl (1986-90) and All-American Kirt Bjork (1979-83) for fifth on that list … 20 of Dhadphale’s 24 career PPGs have come during the past two seasons (one per every 3.4 games). TWO BELLS: Dhadphale notched just his second multiple-goal game of the season in the Jan. 15 win over UAF (he had his first career hat trick vs. Bowling Green on Nov. 13) … he has 10 career multiple-goal games, including six as a junior and two as a freshman.

SIMON ALSO NEARING 100: Junior C Ben Simon suddenly is nearing 100 career points as well, with 94 in 97 games (28G-66A) … Simon (15G-23A), who has surpassed his goal total from his first two seasons combined (13), has scored two game-winning goals this season while assisting on seven others (including the 3-2 win over Michigan) … he also has scored game-tying goals against Michigan and Michigan State (both 2-2).

PP EXPERT: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir has been a vital part of Notre Dame’s power play throughout his career … Cotnoir has set up PP scores by 17 different Irish teammates over the past four seasons, including 11 by classmate Aniket Dhadphale … in 134 career games, Cotnoir owns 35 career PP assists to go along with 10 PPGs … his 45 career PP points account for 53% of his career point total (85) while 60% of his career assists have come on the PP (35 of 58) … in the last two seasons, Cotnoir has 28 PP points (6G-22A) and just 23 non-PP points during that stretch.

FROM THE BLUE LINE: Cotnoir’s 85 career points (27G-58A) rank ninth in Notre history among defensmen, four behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, ’70-’74) … Cotnoir needs 15 more points to become the sixth Irish defenseman ever to reach 100 career points.

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?: Junior RW Joe Dusbabek is showing signs of rediscovering his freshman-season scoring touch that produced a team-best 13 goals and helped him finish as runner-up for CCHA Rookie of the Year … since that high-scoring rookie season (13G-12A, 35 games), Dusbabek has just five goals and 22 points over his last 49 games (2G-4A in the last 11) … Dusbabek has provided some clutch assists this season, including helpers on both goals in the 2-2 tie with Michigan and the primary assist on Ben Simon’s goal that opened the recent 3-2 win over the Wolverines.

DISCIPLINED AGGRESSION: Junior D Nathan Borega epitomizes Notre Dame’s philosophy of playing hard-hitting hockey while limiting penalty minutes … the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has made a name for himself as one of the hardest hitters in the CCHA yet has totaled just 10 penalties in 23 games played this season … for his career, Borega has totaled just 57 penalties in 92 games, including 26 in 51 games over the past two seasons … Notre Dame has ranked among the least-penalized teams in the CCHA for the past three seasons, averaging 8.69 penalties/gm in 1996-97, 6.37 last season and 8.58 this season (compared to a league-worst 11.31 in the first season of the Dave Poulin era, 1995-96).

URICK LEADS THE WAY: Senior RW and captain Brian Urick is heading into the final stretch of his Irish career … Urick, who notched his 50th career goal and an assist in the series finale vs. WMU on Nov. 20, saw his early four-game goal streak ended vs. OSU (equaling his career-high) but he still has 34 points in 26 games (14G-20A) … Urick leads the Irish in plus-minus (+24), has just 13 penalties and owns 55 goals and 64 assists in 139 career games … Urick’s first of two assists in the Nov. 13 Bowling Green game made him the 27th Notre Dame player to reach the 100-point plateau … over the past two seasons, Urick has 68 points (30-38) in 69 games, a team-best +39, only 77 penalty minutes and nine of the team’s 34 game-winning goals … his 13 career game-winning goals tie Urick with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (1978-82) for first in the Irish record book.

MOLINA, JURKOWSKI STEP UP: Junior Ds Sean Molina and Andy Jurkowski have been two of the more unsung heroes for Notre Dame this season … both players have helped bolster an Irish defense that has been forced to cope with the loss of 1998 CCHA Rookie of the Year Mark Eaton (a free agent signee by the Philadelphia Flyers) and repeated injuries to the top four defensemen … they also have helped put the Irish on pace for a team-record goals-against average (currently 2.52) … Molina has four assists in 29 games played, is fourth on the team in plus-minus (+10) and has totaled just nine penalties … Jurkowski, who also has played LW during his Irish career, is one of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 31 games and has totaled just nine penalties this season … he also provided an assist on Ben Simon’s opening goal to help beat Michigan, 3-2 … and scored at Michigan State on Feb. 12 to halt the 204-minute Irish scoring drought.

CALLING ALL KARRS: Notre Dame senior Forrest Karr was named CCHA defensive player of the week after totaling 48 saves on Jan. 8 at Bowling Green (4-1, 26 svs) and Jan. 9 at home vs. Miami (2-0, 22, second career shutout) … Karr owns a 2.39 season GAA that is on pace to best the Notre Dame record of 2.70, set last season by four-year starter Matt Eisler, while Karr’s .902 season save pct. would rank third in Irish history … Karr’s impressive 2.29 GAA in CCHA action ranks third among conference goalies … Karr is the fifth Irish goalie to post multiple shutouts and the first to post two solo shutouts in the same season (he had 16 saves in the 3-0 win over No. 9 Ohio State on Oct. 23) … in 31 games, Karr has allowed just 40 even-strength goals … for his career, Karr is 24-22-5 while his 22-14-5 mark over the past two seasons includes a 12-11-2 road record and a 5-5-3 record vs. top-10 teams … his 2.92 career GAA is on pace to shatter Eisler’s Notre Dame record (3.66) while Karr’s .888 career save pct. is ahead of the Irish record held by John Peterson (.885, 1974-78) … Karr also earned CCHA defensive player of the week honors on Oct. 11 (43 saves, one even-strength goal allowed in wins over Lake Superior and Western Michigan).

A ROAD-TESTED KARR: Karr also owns a solid 2.63 GAA during the past two seasons (103 GA; 2,350:51) while his impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded a 12-11-2 record and a 3.08 GAA (71 GA, 1,384:17) … his career record vs. top-10 ranked teams is 6-6-3, including this season’s 5-5 tie at former No. 1 Boston College, a 2-2 tie vs. then-No.7 Michigan, a 1-0 loss at then-No. 8 UM, a split at No. 1 North Dakota (1-8, 4-3), a 3-2 win over No. 5 UM, a 2-2 tie with No. 4 MSU and two losses at No. 3 MSU (1-0, 3-1) … like many of his teammates, Karr has a history of playing well in hostile arenas, with wins at Wisconsin the past two seasons, three career wins at Bowling Green, a win over Ohio State as a junior at the Ohio Expo Center, and solid efforts this season at Boston College (5-5), Michigan (0-1, 25 saves) and North Dakota (4-3, 35 saves).

WHO’S (RELATIVELY) HOT: Junior C Ben Simon (13 pts in last 13 gms) … senior RW Brian Urick (9 pts in last 9 gms) … senior D Benoit Cotnoir (13 pts in last 14 gms) … sophomore LW Dan Carlson (8 pts in last 13 gms).

WHO’S DUE: Freshman C David Inman (1 gl in last 13 gms, 1 pt in last 14 gms) … freshman D Sam Cornelius (0 pts in last 21 gms, 1 in last 26) … junior D Andy Jurkowski (1 pt in last two seasons, 44 gms) … junior LW Jay Kopischke (1 pt/0 gls since Oct. 24, 19 gms played) … junior C Troy Bagne (1 pt since Oct. 10, 24 gms played; 1 gl in last 43 gms) … junior D Sean Molina (0 goals in 101 career gms) … sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (0 pts in last 9 gms).

SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon – who had points in 21 of the first 26 games this season and has passed his combined goal total from his first two seasons (13) – is tied for fourth in the CCHA overall scoring charts (15G-23A) and ranks fourth in CCHA play (14-18) … Simon scored a memorable goal 17 seconds into the third period of the 7-1 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 10, slanting in from the right and tucking the puck inside the left post for his first goal in 13 games (he had endured 31 shots on net without a goal) … Simon has excelled at setting up his teammates (66 assists in 97 career games) but owns just 28 career goals on 260 shots (9.3 shots per goal), with the goal vs. WMU signaling a breakthrough goalscoring season for the player who totaled 166 goals in four prep seasons (including 45 goals in 50 games as a senior with the Cleveland Jr. Barons) … Simon is scoring a goal every 5.7 shots he takes this season (15 on 86), compared to 13.4 shots per goal during his first two seasons (13 on 174).

HOME IMPROVEMENT: After a 3-6-3 start at home in ’97-’98 (outscored 39-31), Notre Dame finished strong at home, going 3-2-0 in its final five home games with an 18-12 scoring edge … the Irish have extended that strong play at home, going 10-1-2 at the Joyce Center this season with a 55-22 scoring edge … in its last 18 home games, Notre Dame is 13-3-2 with a 73-32 scoring edge (two 7-1 wins, one 9-5 win) … the recent home losses came last season to eventual NCAA champ Michigan (1-0, goal in first minute) and eventual NCAA semifinalist Ohio State (5-3) before last week’s 1-0 loss to Ferris State while the tie was vs. Michigan this season (2-2) … Notre Dame’s last 13 home wins have included nine by three goals or more (7-1 vs. FSU, 5-2 vs. NMU, 7-1 vs. WMU, 3-0 vs. OSU, 6-2 vs. BG, 9-5 vs. WMU, 6-2/6-1/5-2 vs. UAF).

FRESHMEN MAKE IMPACT: Notre Dame’s freshman class has made its mark on the 1998-99 season, with second-line center David Inman (8G-8A) ranking sixth on the team in scoring … despite a recent 13-game goalscoring slump and a team-high 64 penalty minutes, Inman has one game-winning goal, two power-play goals and a +2 plus-minus ratio … third-line C Brett Henning (3G-6A, 24 PIM, 1 PPG, +2) filled in for junior Ben Simon as the first-line center for the Jan. 15 UAF game and responded with a goal and assist … he added an assist the next night vs. UAF en route to CCHA rookie-of-the-week honors … Inman and Henning are two of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 31 games and each ranks among the top-12 CCHA players on the NHL central scouting midseason top prospects list (Inman is second among CCHA players and 27th overall while Henning is 12th and 160th) … D Sam Cornelius (1G-3A, 16 PIM, -7) has appeared all but one game while playing a large part in Notre Dame’s defensive success despite repeated injury problems to the unit’s veteran players … Inman, Henning and Cornelius have combined for 30 points in 31 games, with just 44 penalties between them and a -3 combined plus/minus ratio … freshman G Jeremiah Kimento has been impressive in limited work as a backup to senior Forrest Karr … Kimento has a 2.39 GAA and .922 save pct. in 126 minutes (59 saves, 5 goals against).

CARLSON RETURNS: Notre Dame sophomore LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) represented the USA at the World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 4 in Manitoba … the USA opened with 6-3 losses to Finland and the Czech Republic before dropping a 3-2 game to Slovakia and beating rival Canada, 5-2 … the USA wrapped up play with wins over Switzerland (5-4) and Belarus (7-2), with Carlson scoring a key tying goal (4-4) in the win over Switzerland … Irish freshman C David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) – who owns joint citizenship – was among the final four players cut from the squad … Carlson missed Notre Dame’s series at No. 1 North Dakota … current Notre Dame junior forwards Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek were members of last year’s U.S. junior team, with Simon also skating on the 1996-97 U.S. team that claimed the World Junior silver medal in Switzerland … the USA roster included 14 current college players (six from the CCHA).

WE NEED MORE POWER: Notre Dame’s power play opened at .321 clip but the Irish were just 4-for-38 (.105) during a recent six-game stretch, including 0-for-17 at one point, before connecting on 12 of their next 42 man-up chances (prior to the current 0-for-25 drought, dropping the overall PP pct. to .207) … PPGs have helped provide the decisive margin this season in wins over FSU (5-3, 2 PPGs), LSSU (4-3, 4 PPGs), Northeastern (4-3, 3 PPGs) and Michigan (3-2, a PPG) while the Irish netted three PPGs in the 5-5 tie at Boston College .and one in the 2-2 tie with MSU .. 10 different Irish players have notched a PPG this season, led by eight from senior LW Aniket Dhadphale, six from senior RW Brian Urick and five by junior C Ben Simon … the primary PP unit has included Dhadphale, Simon and Urick, with Carlson and junior D Tyson Fraser at the point, with senior D Benoit Cotnoir running the second unit.

SCHEDULE OF CHAMPIONS: Notre Dame’s ’98-’99 schedule includes five teams that have combined for seven of the first nine NCAA titles in the 1990s: Wisconsin (1990), Northern Michigan (’91), Lake Superior (’92, ’94), Michigan (’96, ’98) and North Dakota (’97) … the Irish do not face recent NCAA champs Maine (’93) or Boston University (’95) this season.

DUDE LOOKS LIKE A SCORER: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (pronounced Uh-NEE-kett Dod-FALL-ee) has become one of the most well-known – and often mispronounced – names in the CCHA due to his scoring prowess … with pronunciations ranging from “Dudepole” to “Daffapail”, Dhadphale has kept P.A. announcers on their toes by totaling 40 goals and 21 assists during the past two seasons (68 games).

STREAKY SEASON: Notre Dame opened with a six-game winning streak and had a midseason six game losing streak before a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) from Jan. 3-22 and the current four-game losing streak.

REDEFINING MAN DOWN: In the last 43 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 38 times, going 19-15-4 in those games … the top four D have missed a combined 32 games this season due to injury, yet the Irish remain on pace to set the school record for GAA (2.51) … Notre Dame is 2-2-1 in the only games in the last 43 when senior Benoit Cotnoir, juniors Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega and sophomore Ryan Clark all have been in the lineup (6-2 vs. BG, 2-2 vs. Michigan, 9-5 vs. WMU, 3-4 and 1-4 at OSU) … the games missed by Irish D in the last 43 games: Cotnoir (2, early this season), Fraser (17, 5 this season), Borega (15, 8 to open this season) and Clark (17, all this season, out indefinitely for rest of ’98-’99 ) … two of those players have missed the same game 13 times over the last 43, with the Irish owning a solid 8-4-1 mark in those games … lost in the injury woes is the absence of ’98 CCHA rookie of the year Mark Eaton, who passed up the rest of his college eligibility when he signed as a free agent in the summer with the Philadelphia Flyers.