Oct. 9, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame welcomes the 2014 Ice Breaker Tournament to the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend. Now in its 18th season, the Ice Breaker marks the traditional start to the college hockey season. This year’s tournament brings together four of the nation’s top teams, representing four different conferences. Notre Dame, from Hockey East plays host to the University of Minnesota (Big Ten), Minnesota Duluth (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) and Rensselaer (ECAC Hockey) in this year’s edition of the Ice Breaker. Two of this year’s tournament teams – Notre Dame and Minnesota – have won the tournament in each of the last two seasons. The Irish won in Kansas City, Missouri in 2012 while the Gophers won last October on home ice at Mariucci Arena.
Past Ice Breaker champions include Boston University (three times), New Hampshire (twice), Boston College (twice), Minnesota (twice), Colorado College, Denver, Michigan State, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, Notre Dame, St. Cloud State and Vermont. Over the years, the event has taken place at a mix of on- and off-campus sites, visiting top venues such as Xcel Energy Center (St. Paul), Scottrade Center (St. Louis) and Kohl Center (Madison, Wisconsin). The 2015 event will be held in Portland, Maine, at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
IRISH AND THE ICE BREAKER: Notre Dame will make its fourth appearance in the Ice Breaker Tournament, having appeared in 1999, 2010 and 2013. In 1999, the Irish finished third, dropping a 2-1 decision to Providence in the opening game. They bounced back with a 4-0 win over Union College in the second game. That tournament was played at Denver, Colorado. The 2010 tournament was played at the Kohl Center in St. Louis, Missouri, where Notre Dame finished second. The Irish beat Holy Cross by a 6-3 score before losing in the title game to Boston University by a 5-4 margin. Notre Dame’s last trip to the Ice Breaker came in 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Irish would take the tournament championship with wins over Maine (1-0) and then Nebraska Omaha (3-2).
FOR OPENERS: All-time, the Irish are 26-19-1 in home openers, including 1-1-0 in openers at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The Irish are 23-21-2 in the opening game of a season home or away. The Irish lost the first season opener at the Compton by a 3-1 score to Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 18, 2012.
THE LAST TIME: The last time Notre Dame faced Rensselaer was an historic day for the Irish. The two teams met on Oct. 21, 2011, in the first game at the Compton Family Ice Arena. On that night, 5,022 fans, the largest home hockey crowd ever to watch the Irish in South Bend, saw Anders Lee score three times with single goals from Riley Sheahan and Sean Lorenz in a 5-2 victory over the Engineers. Mike Johnson made 15 saves in the Notre Dame victory. Three members of this year’s team played in that game as freshmen – Robbie Russo, Garrett Peterson and Austin Wuthrich, who had a pair of assists in the victory.
RANKINGS: Notre Dame enters the 2014-15 season ranked 13th in the USA Today/U.S. Hockey Magazine rankings and 12th in the USCHO.com polls. Minnesota enters the tournament ranked No. 1 in both polls. Minnesota Duluth is receiving votes in both polls while Rensselaer is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Irish return to action next weekend for a pair of games with Lake Superior State. The two teams meet at 7:35 p.m., on Oct. 17, at the Compton Family Ice Arena in game one of the series. The second game will be played at 6:05 p.m., on Oct. 18. Both games of the series will be televised live by the NBC Sports Network. Notre Dame and Lake Superior State have met 66 times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 34-25-7 advantage. Since Jeff Jackson arrived at Notre Dame, the Irish are 24-3-3 versus the Lakers.
PRESEASON ACTION: Notre Dame opened the 2014-15 season at home on Oct. 5. dropping a 5-4 decision to the University of Waterloo. Sophomore center Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) led the Irish with two goals and an assist. Junior Thomas DiPauli (Caldaro, Italy) added a goal and an assist with senior Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria) scoring a late power-play goal. Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period only to see the Warriors score four unanswered goals to take a 5-3 advantage prior to Schneider’s goal. Sophomore Chad Katunar (Victoria, B.C.) got the start, playing 29:24, giving up one goal on four shots. Freshman Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) played the final 29:57, making nine saves while surrendering four goals to take the loss.
MEET THE CAPTAINS: University of Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson named his team captains for the 2014-15 season on Sept. 3. Junior center Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn.) will serve as the team captain while senior Peter Schneider and junior Sam Herr (Hinsdale, Ill.) were selected as alternate captains. In making the selections, Jackson said, “I’m really happy with this group of captains for the coming season. All three – Steven (Fogarty), Peter (Schneider) and Sam (Herr) have strong character and with two juniors as captains, it becomes a two-year process for them leading the team. All three have the heart and voice of the team. They will do a great job for us.” Fogarty is a two-time monogram winner and follows a long line of Irish captains from Edina, Minn., joining the likes of Anders Lee, Ryan Thang and Dan Carlson in recent years. Fogarty played in 33 games last year, scoring three goals with eight assists for 11 points. Schneider is the lone senior and is coming off a junior campaign that saw him record career highs in goals (8), assists (8) and points (16). He is strong in the classroom with a 3.95 grade point average with a double major in finance and economics plus a minor in actuary. Herr had a breakout season as a sophomore, playing in all 40 games with 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points, all career highs. He had four power-play goals and four game winners and was +14 on the season.
NEW KIDS: With the graduation of 11 seniors last May, Notre Dame will go from one of the most experienced teams in the nation to one of the youngest. The Irish added 10 freshmen and a junior to the roster for the 2014-15 campaign. The list includes a pair of goaltenders – junior Nick Stasack (West Springfield, Mass.) and Cal Petersen, four defensemen – Nathan Billitier (Spencerport, N.Y.), Tony Bretzman (Mendota Heights, Minn.), Jordan Gross (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Luke Ripley (Kitimat, B.C.) and five forwards – Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), Bo Brauer (Edina, Minn.), Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.), Connor Hurley (Edina, Minn.) and Jake Evans (Toronto, Ont.).
BY THE CLASSES: Notre Dame’s 27-man roster includes six seniors, six juniors, five sophomores and 10 freshmen. The Irish return 11 monogram winners from last season with that group including seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. ROOKIE HONORS: Freshman center Vince Hinostroza earned Hockey East all-rookie team honors for his play during the 2013-14 season. Hinostroza finished third in scoring for the Irish with eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points in 34 games. That ranked him third among rookie scorers in Hockey East. Hinostroza becomes the 16th Notre Dame player to be named to a conference all-rookie team and the first in Hockey East play. He joins current teammates Mario Lucia (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) and Robbie Russo (Sr., Westmont, Ill.) who were named all-CCHA in their rookie seasons.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Notre Dame hockey fans have been spoiled the last two seasons due to goaltender Steven Summerhays’ stellar play between the pipes. During his Irish career, Summerhays finished 57-36-5 with a 2.19 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and 13 shutouts. As a senior, he turned in a 21-12-2 mark to go with a 2.04 goals-against and a .924 save percentage with seven shutouts, a mark that led the nation. For his Notre Dame career, Summerhays finished first in shutouts (13), second in wins (57), second in goals-against average (2.19) and third in save percentage (.914). This season, a youth movement has taken over in the Irish goal. Sophomore Chad Katunar is the top returnee as he saw action in five games as a freshman, making three starts. He was 2-1-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage. Freshman Cal Petersen led his Waterloo Black Hawks team to the USHLs Anderson Cup title as the regular-season champions. He tied for the league lead in wins (27) and finished in the top 10 among USHL goaltenders in goals-against average (2.50), save percentage (.915) and minutes played (2,228:40). He was selected to the USHL all-star game and was a second team all-USHL selection for the season. In June, Petersen was selected to receive USA Hockey’s Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award that is presented annually to the top U.S. goaltender at the international, professional, collegiate or junior level by USA Hockey. Junior Nick Stasack (West Springfield, Mass.) joins the roster this season as the third member of the goaltending trio. He played his prep school hockey at The Loomis Chaffee School and has spent two years with the Notre Dame club team.
RETURNING SCORERS: While Notre Dame lost its top two scorers – T.J. Tynan and Bryan Rust – to graduation, the Irish do return a strong nucleus to build around. Sophomore Vince Hinostroza finished third in scoring with eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points. Junior Mario Lucia finished the year fourth in team scoring and is the top returning goal scorer after scoring 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 points. He led the Irish with seven power-play goals and added four game winners. Right behind Lucia is junior Sam Herr. The big left wing had a career year with 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points. He notched four power-play goals and added four game winners.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Freshman Anders Bjork becomes the fourth Notre Dame hockey-playing son to follow his father to Notre Dame. His dad, Kirt Bjork, was an All-America at Notre Dame during the 1982-83 campaign and is tied for 12th on Notre Dame’s all-time points list with 161, after notching 76 goals and 85 assists in 141 career games. He is currently a Director of Regional Development in Notre Dame’s Development office. Anders Bjork also has another family tie to Irish hockey, as his cousin is former Irish standout Erik Condra, who is currently a member of the Ottawa Senators. As the fourth son to follow his father to Notre Dame, Anders joins current Irish left wing Mario Lucia (Don Lucia) and graduated players Kevin Nugent (Kevin Nugent, Sr.) and Rory Walsh (Brian Walsh) to play at Notre Dame after their fathers. HOME SWEET HOME: The 2013-14 season marked the second full year for the Irish playing in their state-of-the-art 5,022-seat on-campus arena. The building opened on Oct. 21, 2011, with a 5-2 win over Rensselaer. After going 12-7-0 in the inaugural season, the Irish were 14-6-0 in 2012-13 and added a 16-5-1 record in 2013-14. Notre Dame is 42-18-1 for a .697 winning percentage at the Compton Family Ice Arena. In five postseason games, the Irish are 5-0. In 19 games during the `11-’12 season, 91,793 fans went through the turnstiles for an average of 4,793 per game with 11 of the 19 games sellouts. In `12-’13 the building saw 97,696 fans watch hockey for an average of 4,885 per game with 11 of the 20 contests being sellouts. Last season (`13-’14), the Irish played 22 home games, attracting 105,941 fans for an average of 4,816 per game. Seven of the 22 games were sellouts. Over three seasons, 295,430 fans have watched Notre Dame play hockey at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
LEADERÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã‹â€ OFÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã‹â€ THEÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã‹â€ PACK: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson begins his 10th season behind the Irish bench in 2014-15. In his first nine years, he has compiled a 208-125-35 (.613) record, picking up his 200th win for the Irish on Jan. 25, 2014, in a 3-0 shutout over Northeastern. His career record stands at 390-177-60 (.670) in 15 seasons between Lake Superior State (six) and Notre Dame (nine). The veteran coach enters this season with the best-winning percentage among Division I coaches with 10 or more years experience. The 390 wins rank him seventh on the list of active coaches. In six seasons at his previous collegiate stop – Lake Superior State (1990-96) – Jackson’s teams were 182-52-25 with two national championships, two CCHAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã‹â€ regular-season titles and four CCHA tournament championships. Included in his 390 career wins are 64 postseason victories (64-27 in postseason) and a .703 winning percentage.
TOURNAMENT TIME: Besides the 2014 Ice Breaker Tournament this weekend, the University of Notre Dame will play host to two other tournaments this season. Following the Ice Breaker, the second tournament to invade the Compton Family Ice Arena will be Notre Dame’s own Shillelagh Tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday November 28-29. Participating teams include defending NCAA champion, Union College, along with Ohio State and Western Michigan. The former CCHA foes open the tournament at 4:05 p.m., on Nov. 28, followed by the Irish and the Dutchmen at 7:35 p.m. Saturday’s action begins at 4:05 p.m., with Union facing either Ohio State or Western Michigan with the 7:35 p.m. , game featuring Notre Dame and Ohio State or Western Michigan. The third tournament will happen on March 28-29 when the Irish host the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Teams and game times will be released later in the season.
HERE COME THE `HAWKS: For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their 2015 training camp by spending three days – Sept. 19-21 – at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the Notre Dame campus. Chicago general manager Stan Bowman is a 1995 graduate of the University. Rookie defenseman Stephen Johns graduated from Notre Dame in May 2014 after four seasons on the Irish blue line. After a closed day of practice to start, the Blackhawks had two open-to-the public practice days (Sept. 20-21) that were sold out.
IRISH IN THE NHL: Four former Notre Dame players will open the 2014-15 season playing in the National Hockey League. That group includes defenseman Ian Cole (St. Louis), center Riley Sheahan (Detroit), Erik Condra (Ottawa) and Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim). Palmieri is currently on injured reserve for the Ducks.