Coach Jeff Jackson makes his fourth appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four and first with Notre Dame.

Irish Set To Make First-Ever Appearance In NCAA Frozen Four

April 7, 2008

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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– Weds, April 9 at 4:45 PM ET

NCAA Frozen Four • Pepsi Center • Denver, Colorado

• The Games: #2 North Dakota (28-10-4) vs. #3 Boston College (23-11-8) #5 Notre Dame (26-15-4) vs. #1 Michigan (33-5-4)

• Date/Site/Time: Semifinals – Thursday, April 10, 2008 • 4:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. (MDT) Championship – Saturday, April 12, 2008 • 5:00 p.m. (MDT)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert will call the action for the Irish.

• 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.

• Television: Both of the April 10th semifinal games will be televised live by ESPN2. Gary Thorne will provide the play-by-play with Ray Ferraro handling the color commentary. Clay Matvick will be the rinkside reporter and Bob Norton will be the studio host. Saturday’s championship game will be carried live by ESPN.

NEW HEIGHTS FOR THE IRISH: The Notre Dame hockey team makes its first ever appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four in the 40-year history of the program. This season’s NCAA Tournament appearance is just the third in the program’s history (2004, 2007, 2008) and the Irish own a 3-2 all-time record. This season’s NCAA appearance marks the second consecutive year that Notre Dame has advanced under head coach Jeff Jackson (Dave Poulin was head coach during the 2004 appearance). The Irish bring a 26-15-4 record into the tournament and over the last two seasons are a combined 58-22-7 (.699). Notre Dame’s 26 wins this season are the third-highest win total in school history behind last year’s 32 and the 27 in 1987-88. The Irish advanced to the Frozen Four after winning the West Regional in Colorado Springs, Colo. Notre Dame will play in the second semifinal game on Thursday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. (MT)/9:00 p.m. (ET) against the nation’s No. 1 team – Michigan – for an all-CCHA semifinal on ESPN2. The Wolverines are 33-5-4 on the year and were regular-season and CCHA Tournament champions this season. They advanced by winning the East Regional in Albany, N.Y. The first semifinal game at 4:00 p.m. (MT)/6:00 p.m. (ET) features second-ranked North Dakota and third-ranked Boston College. The Fighting Sioux bring a 28-10-4 record into Thursday’s game and won the Midwest Regional at Madison, Wis. The Eagles were 23-11-4 on the year and advanced by winning the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: While Notre Dame might be new to the Frozen Four, the other three teams in the finals are not. This is Michigan’s 31st appearance in the tournament overall and the Wolverines are making their 23rd trip to the finals. They have nine national championships, finished second twice and have 11 third-place finishes. North Dakota has been in the NCAAs 23 times with this being the 18th finals appearance. The Sioux have seven national titles, finished second five times, third four times and fourth once. Boston College is in its 28th NCAA Tournament and makes a 21st appearance in the finals. The Eagles own two titles, to go with six, second-place finishes, six thirds and six fourths.

IRISH VERSUS MICHIGAN: The Wolverines are Notre Dame’s oldest hockey rivals as the two teams began playing in 1921-22 and have met 114 times in the all-time series. Michigan owns a 65-44-5 all-time record against the Irish and is 7-2-0 all-time on neutral ice. In the postseason, the teams have battled seven times in either the WCHA or CCHA playoffs with Michigan, holding an 8-6 edge. As members of the WCHA, the teams met in the opening round of the playoffs in 1975-76 and 1979-80 with each team winning a total-goal series – the Wolverines in 1976 and the Irish in 1980. In the CCHA, the teams met in 1981-82 with the Irish winning (2-0); in 1992-93 with Michigan winning (2-0); 1997-98 with the Wolverines taking the best-of-three series (2-1); in 2004-05 with Michigan winning (2-0) and finally last season in the 2007 CCHA championship game with Notre Dame getting a 2-1 win in the title game.

NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN `07-’08: The Wolverines took the regular-season series, winning both games Jan. 18-19. On Jan. 19 at Yost Arena, Michigan scored with 21 seconds left for a 3-2 win. The following night, in Notre Dame’s home game played at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Wolverines handed the Irish a 5-1 loss. Here are the recaps of those games:

Friday, January 18, 2008 - at Ann Arbor, Mich.                       1     2     3  -  F#8/#8 Notre Dame       2     0     0  -  2#1/#1 Michigan         0     2     1  -  3
1st PeriodND - Kevin Deeth 6 (unassisted), 3:33; ND - Justin White 4 (Ryan Guentzel, Calle Ridderwall), 5:53.
2nd PeriodUM - Kevin Porter 21 (Chad Langlais, Aaron Palushaj), PPG, 00:21; UM - Matt Rust 8 (Palushaj), 12:05.
3rd PeriodUM - Louie Caporusso 5 (Brandon Naurato, Travis Turnbull), 19:39.
SavesND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 9 - 9 - 7 - 25UM - Billy Sauer (60:00) 9 - 8 - 7 - 24
Power Play: ND: 0-5; UM: 1-4.
Penalties: ND: 5 for 10 minutes; UM: 5 for 10 minutes
Attendance: 6,984 (sellout)
Saturday, January 19, 2008 - at Auburn Hills, Mich. 1 2 3 - F#1/#1 Michigan 2 2 1 - 5#8/#8 Notre Dame 1 0 0 - 1
1st PeriodUM - Chad Kolarik 18 (Tim Miller, Chris Summers), SHG, 6:41; ND - Ben Ryan 6 (Dan Kissel), 14:38; UM - Kevin Porter 22 (Miller), 17:54.
2nd PeriodUM - Louie Caporusso 6 (Kevin Quick, Travis Turnbull), 4:56; UM - Matt Rust 9 (Carl Hagelin), 15:16.
3rd PeriodUM - Turnbull 9 (Brandon Naurato), ENG, 17:00.
SavesUM - Billy Sauer (60:00) 10 - 10 - 12 - 32ND - Brad Phillips (35:16) 8 - 7 - x - 15 Jordan Pearce (23:49) x - 6 - 4 - 10
Power Play: UM: 0-3; ND: 0-4.
Penalties: UM: 5 for 10 minutes; ND: 4 for 8 minutes
Attendance: 10,831

IRISH NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Notre Dame is now 3-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament in three appearances.

2004 - Midwest Regional, Grand Rapids, Mich.#1 Minnesota  5, #4 Notre Dame  2
2007 - Midwest Regional, Grand Rapids, Mich.#1 Notre Dame 3, #4 Ala.-Huntsville 2 (2ot)#3 Michigan St. 2, #1 Notre Dame 1
2008 - West Regional, Colorado Springs, Colo.#4 Notre Dame 7, #1 New Hampshire 3#4 Notre Dame, 3, #3 Michigan State 1

JACKSON AND THE NCAAS: Irish head coach Jeff Jackson makes his fourth appearance in the Frozen Four, his first with Notre Dame after three visits with Lake Superior State from 1992-94. His Lakers won the NCAA title in 1992 and 1994 and finished second to Maine in 1993. Jackson is 5-1 in Frozen Four appearances. As a Division I head coach, Jackson has seen his teams make it to the NCAA Tournament in eight of nine seasons. With the two wins in the West Regional, Jackson is 16-6 all-time (.727), 13-5 at Lake State and 3-1 at Notre Dame.

THEY’VE BEEN THERE TOO: Two members of Notre Notre Dame’s current staff will also be making their fourth appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four. Associate head coach Paul Pooley was a member of Jeff Jackson’s staff at Lake Superior State from 1992-94 when the Lakers advanced in all three seasons. Irish equipment specialist Dave Gilbert also was a member of those three Lake Superior teams. In 1992, he was a goaltender with that team and in 1993 and 1994 he was one of the team’s equipment managers.

THE COACH AND THE PLAYOFFS: Irish head coach Jeff Jackson has had his share of success in the CCHA playoffs. His teams have made nine CCHA playoff appearances (six at Lake Superior State and three with Notre Dame) and Jackson is now 30-7 (.811) in conference postseason play. At Lake Superior, his teams were 24-2 while at Notre Dame, he is 6-5. His teams have advanced to the CCHA finals in eight of nine seasons (six at LSSU and two at Notre Dame). Jackson has seen his teams win five CCHA Tournament Championships (four with Lake Superior and one at Notre Dame).

FIRST TIMERS: By moving out of the West Regional as a No. 4 seed to the Frozen Four, Notre Dame became the first No. 4 seed since the tournament went to four regionals in 2003 to advance to the Frozen Four.

IRISH VERSUS NORTH DAKOTA: Notre Dame is 16-15-1 all-time against the Fighting Sioux with most of those contests being played while the Irish were members of the WCHA from 1971-81. The last time the two schools met was Jan. 2-3, 1999 at Grand Forks with North Dakota winning the first game, 8-1 and Notre Dame the second, 4-3. The Sioux were ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time.

NOTRE DAME AND BOSTON COLLEGE: The Irish and the Eagles have met 26 times in the all-time series with Boston College owning a 14-10-2 advantage. In recent years, the teams have met on the Friday night prior to the two schools playing football. The last time the teams met was on Oct. 20, 2006 with the Irish taking a 7-1 win at Chestnut Hill. Notre Dame is 3-0-1 against the Eagles going back to the 2002-03 season.

NOTRE DAME TEAMS IN FINAL FOURS: Sixteen different Notre Dame teams have advanced to NCAA Final Four appearances. That includes the College Cup in soccer, the Frozen Four in hockey and the College World Series in baseball. Here’s the list:

1978  --  Men's Basketball1994  --  Women's Soccer (runner-up)1995  --  Women's Soccer (champion)1996  --  Women's Soccer (runner-up)1997  --  Women's Basketball1997  --  Women's Soccer1999  --  Women's Soccer (runner-up)2000  --  Women's Soccer2001  --  Women's Basketball (champion)2001  --  Men's Lacrosse2002  --  Baseball2004  --  Women's Soccer (champion)2006  --  Women's Lacrosse2006  --  Women's Soccer (runner-up)2007  --  Women's Soccer2008  --  Hockey

FOUND IT: During the second half of the season, Notre Dame struggled to score, netting just 43 goals from Jan. 4 – March 22, a span of 21 games for an average of 2.05 goals-per-game. Prior to the West Regional, the Irish had scored four goals in the previous three games. In their win over New Hampshire, the Irish would score seven goals on the way to a 7-3 win over New Hampshire and then added three more in the 3-1 win over Michigan State for an average of 5.00 over the last two games.

BACK WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: When Jeff Jackson took over the Notre Dame hockey program in 2005-06, his first games as head coach of the Irish were at Colorado College and Denver.The first game of the Jeff Jackson era at Notre Dame was played at the World Arena on Oct. 21, 2005 with the Irish dropping a 3-1 decision to Colorado College. The following night, Notre Dame played at Denver with then freshman goaltender, Jordan Pearce, making his first career start in a 6-3 loss to the Pioneers. Now, less than three years later, the Irish win an NCAA regional in Colorado Springs and have an opportunity to play in the Frozen Four in Denver. Since those two opening losses, Jackson’s Irish have come a long way. The Irish are 71-39-11 (.632) with one CCHA regular-season and tournament championship, two trips to the NCAA tournament, an NCAA regional championship and a trip to the Frozen Four.

THE IRISH IN DENVER: Notre Dame has played 29 games in Denver in the program’s 40-year history with a majority of the games – 25 – coming versus the Denver Pioneers. The Irish played in Denver 20 times as a member of the WCHA from 1971-81 and was 2-17-1 in those games. Notre Dame played twice in Denver prior to joining the WCHA (1970-71), losing both games and is 0-2-1 in three games there since leaving that conference. The Irish have participated in three tournaments in Denver in the past – the 1992-93 Denver Cup where they defeated Air Force, 4-1 before losing to Denver, 6-1; the Icebreaker Tournament in 1999-2000, where the Irish lost to Providence, 2-1, then beat Union, 4-0 and the `99-’00 Denver Cup where they tied Denver, 3-3, losing in a shootout, and then lost to Colorado College, 5-2. All-time in Denver, Notre Dame is 4-23-2.

VERSUS NO. 1: When Notre Dame meets Michigan in the semifinal game on April 10, it will mark the fifth time this season that the Irish have faced the top-ranked team in the country. On Nov. 9-10, Notre Dame met No. 1 ranked Miami twice in Oxford, Ohio, defeating the RedHawks, 2-1, on Nov. 9 befoe dropping a 3-1 decision at Miami on Nov. 10. The Nov. 9 win marked the 10th time in the program’s history that the Irish knocked off a top-ranked team. Before losing on Nov. 10, Notre Dame had won four straight versus top 10 teams. On Jan. 18-19, the Irish faced Michigan as the Wolverines were then No. 1 in the country. Notre Dame dropped 3-2 and 5-1 decisions to Michigan that weekend. Here’s a list of Irish wins over No. 1 ranked teams in the 40-year history of the program.

11/9/07 - at Miami, 2-110/20/06 - at Boston College, 7-110/22/04 - vs. Boston College, 3-210/23/03 - at Boston College, 1-01/3/99 - at North Dakota, 4-311/20/78 - at Minnesota, 3-21/13/78 - vs. Denver, 5-31/18/74 - vs. Michigan Tech, 7-12/24/73 - vs. Wisconsin, 4-32/23/73 - vs. Wisconsin, 8-5

SPENCER PENROSE CANDIDATE: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson is one of nine candidates for the Spencer Penrose Award as the Division I national coach of the year. Jackson won the award for the first time in 2007. He is joined on the list by:

Red Berenson - MichiganGuy Gadowsky - PrincetonDave Hakstol - North DakotaTroy Jutting - Minnesota StateBrian Riley - ArmyTom Serratore - Bemidji StateKevin Sneddon - VermontJerry York - Boston College

IRISH AWARD WINNERS: Notre Dame held its annual postseason awards program on Sunday, April 6. The award winners were:

Notre Dame Monogram Club Team MVP:Jordan Pearce
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Scholar-Athlete AwardJordan Pearce
Lefty Smith Coaches AwardDan VeNard
William Donald Nyrop Defensive Player of the YearBrock Sheahan
Offensive Player of the YearErik Condra
Rookie of the YearTeddy Ruth
Most Improved PlayerDan Kissel

FIRST TIME: For the first time all season, Notre Dame lost a game that the Irish led in after two periods in the loss to Northern Michigan. The Irish were 22-0-0 in games that they led after two periods. Christian Hanson’s (Jr., Venetia, Pa.) goal at 7:32 of the second period gave the Irish a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats would score twice in a 2:16 span early in the third period to take the 2-1 victory.

APRIL HOCKEY: For the first time in the program’s history, the Irish are playing hockey in April. With 45 games already under its belt, Notre Dame has played more games this season than in any previous year. The most the Irish ever played prior to this year was 42 and did that twice in 2006-07 (32-7-3) and 1999-2000 (16-18-8).

VERSUS THE FIELD: Notre Dame owns a 5-7-1 record against teams in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Irish were 0-1 against Wisconsin, 1-1 versus Denver, 1-2 against Miami, 2-0 against Princeton, 1-1-1 against Michigan State and 0-2 versus Michigan.

OVERTIME: Notre Dame’s 2-1 overtime loss to Miami on March 21 was the fifth overtime game for the Irish this season and the first one they lost. On the year, Notre Dame is 0-1-4 in overtime.

OUT FOR THE SEASON: Head coach Jeff Jackson announced on Monday, March 17, that Notre Dame would be without the services of leading scorer, Erik Condra (Jr., Livonia, Mich.) who suffered an injury to his left knee in the first period of game three versus Ferris State. Condra leads the Irish in scoring with a career-high 15 goals to go with 23 assists for 38 points. He also has career highs in power-play goals (6) and short-handed goals (3) while equaling his career best with four game-winning goals.

PUTTING IN THE TIME: Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce (Jr. Anchorage, Alaska) became the single-season minutes played leader for the Irish during the CCHA Tournament. Pearce has now seen action in a school-record 41 games this season and has played a record 2,433:31 minutes in those games. That ranks him second in the CCHA and fourth in the nation. Coming into this season, Pearce had played in just 12 games, making nine starts for a total of 621:56 minutes.

Goaltender GP Minutes 1. John Muse – BC 42 2605:06 2. Jeff Lerg – MSU 41 2464:14 3. J.P. Lamoureaux – UND 41 2447:384. Jordan Pearce – ND 41 2433:31 5. Mark Dekanich – Colgate 41 2388:53

PERSONAL STREAK: Jordan Pearce has made 17 consecutive starts, dating back to Jan. 25 at Bowling Green. He is 8-6-3 in those starts with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. In those 17 games, Pearce has given up 32 goals (with two ENG) while Notre Dame has scored 45 goals in those same 17 games. Earlier this season, Pearce had a personal seven-game winning streak between Nov. 16 and Dec. 8. During the streak, Pearce was 7-0-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. For the season, Pearce is 22-14-4 with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage with two shutouts.

NAME THAT RINK: Notre Dame is in the midst of preparing to build a new hockey arena in the Joyce Center, the current home of the Irish. At the team’s awards banquet on April 6, Notre Dame director of athletics announced that when built, the new rink would be named the Charles W. “Lefty” Smith, Jr. Rink in honor of the first coach of the program, Lefty Smith. Naming of the rink was made possible by the genorosity of the John and Mary Boler family of Inverness, Ill. and Sanibel Island, Fla.; their daughter, Jill Boler McCormack `84 and their son, Matthew Boler `88 and his wife, Christine. They were joined by the family of Frank `57 and Mary Beth O’Brien of Albany, N.Y., whose six children attended Notre Dame, including their late son, Frankie `88 who played hockey and lacrosse at Notre Dame. Lefty Smith came to Notre Dame in 1968 to start the hockey program and in 19 seasons was 307-320-30. He was the WCHA coach of the year in 1972-73 and was named a “Legend of Hockey,” by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation in 2003. During his tenure as coach, all 126 players who played for him completed their college eligibility and earned collge degrees. He continues to work at Notre Dame as the director of the Loftus Sports Center and the Guglielmino Sports Complex.

SELECT COMPANY: With his win on Sunday, March 16 in game three versus Ferris State, Jordan Pearce, became the fourth goaltender in Notre Dame history to record 20 wins in a season. He joins David Brown `07 (29 in 2006-07), Lance Madson `90 (24 in 1987-88) and Mark Kronholm `74 (20 in 1972-73). Pearce now has 22 wins to rank third on the single-season list.

MILESTONE: In Notre Dame’s 6-3 win over Ferris State on Saturday, March 15 (Game Two), Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson recorded the 250th win of his collegiate coaching career in this his ninth season. Jackson is now 253-93-36 in six seasons at Lake Superior State and three years at Notre Dame. His .709 winning percentage is tops among active Division I coaches. In three seasons behind the Notre Dame bench, Jackson’s teams own a 71-41-11 (.622) record.