Head coach Jeff Jackson and his Notre Dame hockey team will find out Sunday if they are in the NCAA Tournament.

Irish Take Break From CCHA Play To Face Minnesota State Mavericks In Home-And-Home Series

Dec. 4, 2005

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Complete Release in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

• The Series: Notre Dame (4-9-1/3-6-1) at Minnesota State (3-9-3/2-7-3 in WCHA)

• Date/Site/Times: Tues., Dec. 6, 2005 – 7:37 p.m. (CST) – Midwest Wireless Arena (4,832) Sat., Dec. 10, 2005 – 7:05 p.m. – Joyce Center (2,713)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1580, South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, “the voice of Irish hockey” will bring you all the play-by-play action.

• Internet Broadcast: At the Notre Dame website – www.und.com.

TAKING A BREAK FROM THE CCHA: After playing 10 straight games against CCHA opponents, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take a break from conference play as they will face WCHA foe, Minnesota State, in a unique home-and-home series. The Irish will travel to Mankato, Minn., on Tuesday, Dec. 6 for a 7:37 p.m. (CST) game versus the Mavericks at Midwest Wireless Arena. The two teams will then meet on Sat., Dec. 10 at the Joyce Center in a 7:05 p.m. contest. Notre Dame comes into the two-game series on the heels of a split with Western Michigan last weekend. The Broncos won Friday’s game, 4-3, and the Irish bounced back on Saturday with a 3-0 shutout win at home. Notre Dame is 4-9-1 overall and 3-6-1 in CCHA action. The shutout win over Western Michigan snapped a five-game winless skid (0-4-1) for the Irish that began on Nov. 18. Minnesota State is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss at home to Minnesota-Duluth and a 2-2 tie with the Bulldogs on Saturday night. After starting the season with six straight losses, the Mavericks are 3-3-3 in their last nine contests. For the season, Minnesota State is 3-9-3 overall and 2-7-3 in WCHA play. The Mavericks and Irish have two common opponents to date – Colorado College and Denver. Notre Dame is 0-2-0 versus those two teams while Minnesota State is 1-2-1 in four meetings, going 0-2-0 at home versus Colorado College and 1-0-1 at home versus Denver.

IRISH VERSUS MAVERICKS: Notre Dame and Minnesota State (formerly Mankato State) have met five times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 4-1-0 edge. At the Joyce Center, Notre Dame is 2-1-0 while in Mankato, the Irish are 2-0-0. The last time the two schools played came during the 1996-97 season in another home-and-home series. On Nov. 17, 1996, the Irish lost a 4-3 overtime verdict at the Joyce Center to the Mavericks. On Jan. 7, 1997, the two teams played in Minnesota with the Irish taking a 3-2 win. The last time the Irish won at home against MSU was Dec. 2, 1989, a 5-3 victory.

DOWNTOWN David Brown: Junior goaltender David Brown (Jr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) stopped 25 shots in Saturday’s 3-0 shutout over Western Michigan to record his first shutout this season and the fifth of his career. He takes a shutout streak of 80:22 into the series versus Minnesota State. The last goal Brown gave up was on Nov. 26 at 19:38 of the second period to Ohio State’s Domenic Maiani. He did not play the third period. Add 22 scoreless seconds to 20 minutes in the third period on Dec. 2 in relief of Jordan Pearce (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska) and 60:00 minutes versus the Broncos on Dec. 3 for his latest shutout string. He has now appeared in seven consecutive games, making six starts in that period. In those seven games, Brown is 2-3-1, giving up 15 goals on 188 shots for a 2.47 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. For the season, the 2004 draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins is 2-6-1 with a 3.33 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage.

ROAD WOES: When the Irish travel to Minnesota State for Tuesday night’s game, they will be looking to snap a 17-game road winless streak (0-15-2) that extends back to the 2004-05 season. Notre Dame’s last road win came on Nov. 26, 2004, a 3-2 win at Alaska Fairbanks. This season, the Irish are 0-5-1 on the road and 4-4-0 at home.

WESTERN MICHIGAN RECAP: David Brown made 25 saves and got all the offensive support he would need on goals by Wes O’Neill (Jr., Essex, Ont.), Mike Walsh (Sr., Northville, Ont.) and Jason Paige (Jr., Saginaw, Mich.) to record his first shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over Western Michigan at the Joyce Center. After a scoreless first period, O’Neill gave the Irish a 1-0 lead on the power play at 1:46 when he one-timed a cross-rink feed from Josh Sciba (Jr., Westland, Mich.) past Western’s Daniel Bellissimo from the left face-off circle for his second goal of the year. The score stayed that way until 5:59 of the third period when Walsh carried the puck around the net and tucked it inside the left post on the power play for his third goal of the season. Paige closed the scoring at 17:31 when he notched his second goal of the weekend off a scramble in front of Bellissimo for the final of 3-0. Sophomore right wing Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) assisted on all three Irish goals in the game. The Irish out shot the Broncos, 31-25 in the game.

On Friday night, Western Michigan senior right wing Brent Walton collected the second hat trick of his career and goaltender Daniel Bellissimo made 32 saves to lead the Broncos to a 4-3 win over Notre Dame at Lawson Arena. Notre Dame got goals from Tim Wallace (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska), Jason Paige and Josh Sciba in the game. Wallace opened the scoring just nine seconds into the game to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. The Broncos answered back 24 seconds later at the 00:33 mark on a goal by Daryl Moore. Walton got his first of the night on a power play at 3:23 to give WMU a 2-1 lead after one period of play. Walton built the lead to 4-1 with another power-play tally at 15:53 and then wrapped up his hat trick at 16:37. Notre Dame got back in the game with Paige’s unassisted goal at 18:22 to make it 4-2 after two periods. Sciba would score the lone goal of the third period at 10:04, but that was as close as the Irish would get. On the night, Notre Dame out shot the Broncos, 35-23. Jordan Pearce (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska) played the first two periods, making 12 saves. David Brown had seven saves in the third period.

LIGHTNING QUICK: Tim Wallace’s goal at 00:09 of the first period versus Western Michigan on Dec. 2 was the quickest goal at the start of a game in Notre Dame history. It broke the mark of 12 seconds set by Sterling Black on Jan. 6, 1990 versus Arizona.

FIVE AND COUNTING: David Brown’s 3-0 shutout versus Western Michigan was the fifth of his career and first this season. The junior puck stopper had four in his freshman year of 2003-04. The shutout moves him into sole possession of second place in the Irish record book for shutouts with five. Only Morgan Cey `05, with six, has more shutouts than Brown in Notre Dame history.

CAREER YEAR: Mark Van Guilder’s three-point game (three assists) versus Western Michigan (Dec. 3) was the first of his Irish career and the third multiple-point game of his career. With two goals and eight assists for 10 points, Van Guilder already has career highs in assists (8) and points (10) in the first 14 games this season.

ON A TEAR: Senior left wing Matt Amado (Surrey, B.C.) has scored a career-high seven goals in the first 14 games of the season for the Irish. In each of his first three seasons, the speedy winger had just five goals. Amado scored a goal in each game of the Ohio State series and has now scored goals in six of his last 10 games (7g, 2a). His three-game point streak (2-1-3) was snapped on Dec. 3 versus Western Michigan. His two-goal game versus Bowling Green on Nov. 11 was the first multiple-goal game of his Notre Dame career.

POWER-PLAY PRODUCER: On the season, Irish defenseman Wes O’Neill has scored two goals and seven assists for nine points. All nine points have come for O’Neill on the power play this year. For his career, O’Neill now has 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points overall. Of his 41 career points, 25 (8g, 17 a) of them have come on the power play.

ANOTHER CAREER YEAR: Junior forward Josh Sciba recorded his career-best eighth goal of the season in the 4-3 loss to Western Michigan on Dec. 2. Through 14 games, Sciba now has eight goals and four assists for 12 points. His previous bests came as a freshman (2003-04) when he had seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.

WALLY’S WORLD: Tim Wallace (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska) is off to the best start of his Notre Dame career with six goals and six assists for 12 points in 13 games this season. His six goals equal his career best set as a freshman in 2002-03. His personal-best five-game point streak (3-4-7) was snapped in the 3-0 shutout at Miami on Nov. 19. He got on the scoresheet on Nov. 25 with an assist on Matt Amado’s goal versus Ohio State. He now has points in seven of his last 10 games (4-5-9). The senior right wing has three two-point games on the year. His two-goal game versus Princeton on Oct. 28 was the second of his career. His other came on March 14, 2004 in the first round of the CCHA playoffs when he had a pair of goals in game three versus Western Michigan in Notre Dame’s 5-4 overtime win. This year’s two-goal game was the first by a Notre Dame player since Wes O’Neill scored two in a 4-4 tie with Bowling Green on Nov. 5, 2004. Wallace continues to add to his “Iron Man” streak as he has now played in 131 consecutive games for the Irish. His best season point-wise came last year when he had five goals and nine assists for 14 points. THE RIGHT PAIGE: After going the first 12 games of the season without scoring a goal, junior center Jason Paige has now scored goals in each of his last two games.

TWO AT A TIME: Senior left wing Mike Walsh recorded his second multiple-point game of the season on Dec. 3 in the 3-0 win over Western Michigan. In 14 games this season, Walsh has three goals and two assists for five points. His other two-point game (1g, 1a) came in Notre Dame’s 9-4 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 10.

NO COINCIDENCE: Notre Dame held Western Michigan without a power-play goal in the 3-0 shutout win on Dec. 3. It marked just the second time this year that the Irish had prevented a team from scoring on the power play. The previous time came on Oct. 29 when the Irish shutout Princeton, 2-0. Opponents have scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of Notre Dame’s 14 games this season.

PENALTY-KILLING PROBLEMS: On the season, the Irish have given up at least one power-play goal to their opponents in 12 of the team’s 14 games. On the year, Notre Dame has surrendered 23 power-play goals in 100 chances for a 77.0% penalty-killing success rate. The Irish have given up two power-play goals in a game six times, three ppg’s once and four ppg’s once so far this season.

LOOKING FOR GOALS: After scoring 13 goals in the weekend series versus Bowling Green (Nov. 10-11), the Irish have been held to just 11 goals in the last six games (1.83). Included in that string are a 2-2 tie at Miami, a 3-0 loss at Miami, 4-1 and 5-2 losses to Ohio State and a 4-3 loss at Western Michigan before Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Broncos.

BAD NEWS BUCKEYES: The two losses to Ohio State (Nov. 25-26) gives the Irish a 1-12-3 record versus the Buckeyes in the last 16 meetings since the 2000-01 season. Notre Dame has now dropped six straight to Ohio State. The two teams will meet in Columbus on Jan. 27-28, 2006.

MOVING ON: Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson announced on Sunday (Nov. 27) that sophomore Victor Oreskovich (Oakville, Ont.) has left the program to play major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). It is expected that Oreskovich will join the Kitchener Rangers who recently (Nov. 24) received Oreskovich’s rights in a trade with the Windsor Spitfires.

POWER SURGE: After going 4-for-45 (8.9%) on the power play through the first six games of the season, the Irish have now scored 12 times on 54 chances (22.2%) with the man advantage in the last eight contests. Overall, the Irish are 16-for-99 (16.2%) through the first 14 games of the season.

THE LAST TIME: The last time the Irish were shutout in a game previous to the 3-0 loss at Miami was March 12, 2005. That was a 1-0 overtime loss to Michigan in game two of the first round of the CCHA playoffs. Notre Dame was shutout five times during the 2004-05 season.

ALL TIED UP: The Nov. 19 tie with Miami gives Notre Dame 50 overtime games that the Irish have been involved in since the start of the 1999-2000 season. In those games, they are 7-6-37. During the 2004-05 season, Notre Dame played in nine overtime contests, going 1-2-6 in those games. The lone overtime win came on Dec. 10 versus Michigan State and was the first regular-season overtime win since Jan. 25, 2002, snapping a 16-game winless (0-2-14) skid in regular-season overtime games.

IRON MEN: Junior right wing Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) has played in all 131 games during his three-plus seasons at Notre Dame. He became Notre Dame’s all-time “Iron Man,” passing former defenseman Evan Nielsen (`03) who held the record with 114 games between 2000-03. Other Irish consecutive game streaks of 35 games or more include:

Chris Trick – 53 games

Mark Van Guilder – 52 games

Mike Walsh – 47 games

Van Guilder has not missed a game in his career. Wes O’Neill (Jr., Essex, Ont.) saw his streak of 82 consecutive games snapped at Michigan on Nov. 5. Noah Babin’s (Jr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) streak of 51 straight games was snapped on Nov. 4 versus Michigan. T.J. Jindra saw his streak of 79 consecutive game streak snapped due to a shoulder sprain. Michael Bartlett (Jr., Morton Grove, Ill.) had his 78-game streak snapped on Oct. 22 when he did not play against Denver.

SCORING BY CLASS: Here’s how Notre Dame scoring breaks down by classes this season.

Class (Skaters)     Goals    Assists    PointsSeniors (5)          16        13        29Juniors (7)          16        23        39Sophomores (8)        4        15        19Freshmen (4)          4        12        16Totals               40        63       103

GETTING INVOLVED: The Notre Dame defense contributed 11 points (all assists) in the series sweep of Bowling Green (Nov. 10-11). Noah Babin and Brock Sheahan (So., Lethbridge, Alb.) led the way with three assists each. Chris Trick (Sr., Troy, Mich.) and Wes O’Neill (Jr., Essex, Ont.) had two points each while Tom Sawatske (Jr., Duluth, Minn.) had one assist in the two games. For Trick and Sheahan, the two-point games were the first multiple-point games of their careers. In 14 games this season, the Irish defense has three goals and 21 assists for 24 points.

IRISH ADD FOUR: Head coach Jeff Jackson has annouced that Christian Minella (Aurora, Colo.) has signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2006. Minella is a 6-2, 200-pound right wing who is currently playing for the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. In 20 games for the Stampede, Minella has five goals and four assists for nine points. Minella joins Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) who signed national letters-of-intent to attend Notre Dame but deferred to the 2006-07 season. Deeth, a center, is currently the leading scorer for the Green Bay Gamblers (21 gp, 6-13-19); Lawson, a defenseman, is a member of the Tri-City Storm (20gp, 5-4-9) and Thang, a right wing, is in his second season with the Sioux Falls Stampede (18gp, 6-5-11).

A SERIES SWEEP: Notre Dame’s sweep of Bowling Green on Nov. 10-11 (9-4 and 4-2) marked the first time since Feb. 27-28, 2004, that the Irish recorded a CCHA series sweep or a sweep of any kind. The two wins in a row were the first for the Irish since Nov. 13 and Nov. 26, 2005 when Notre Dame won back-to-back at Western Michigan (3-2) and at Alaska Fairbanks (3-2).

CCHA DEFENSEMAN OF THE WEEK: For the second time this season, a Notre Dame player was honored by the CCHA for his play. Junior defenseman Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) was chosen as the league’s defenseman of the week for the week ending Nov. 13. The former Green Bay Gambler had three assists and was +3 on the weekend as the Irish took 9-4 and 4-2 decisions versus Bowling Green. Babin was part of a defensive corps that recorded 11 assists in the two-game series. In seven games this season, Babin has one goal and three assists for four points. Goaltender Jordan Pearce (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska) was the league’s rookie of the week on Nov. 1.

THE LAST TIME: Notre Dame’s 9-4 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 11 was the first CCHA win for the Irish since Dec. 10, 2004 when they defeated Michigan State, 3-2 in overtime at the Joyce Center. The win snapped a 17-game (0-15-2) conference regular-season winless skid and a 19-game (0-17-2) winless skid versus CCHA teams (includes two playoff games versus Michigan).

HATS OFF: Junior center Josh Sciba recorded the first hat trick of his career in the 9-4 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 10. Sciba scored two goals on the power play and then added a short-handed marker to cap his evening. He followed that with a third power-play goal of the weekend when he scored in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Falcons. Sciba’s hat trick was the first for a Notre Dame player since March 18, 2004 when Aaron Gill `04 scored three goals in a 6-5 Irish loss to Ohio State in the first round of the CCHA Super Six. His hat trick was also the first for a Notre Dame player at the Joyce Center since Aniket Dhadphale `99 scored three on November 13, 1998 in a 6-2 win over Bowling Green. Before Sciba’s hat trick, the last five Irish three-goal efforts came on the road.

LUCKY 13: Notre Dame scored 13 times in its two games last weekend versus Bowling Green. To put that number in perspective for the Irish and the goal-scoring woes they suffered in 2004-05, during January of 2005, the Irish played 11 games and scored just 12 goals.

NINE IS FINE: Notre Dame’s nine goals versus Bowling Green on Nov. 10 were the most by the Irish since Nov. 20, 1998, a 9-5 win over Western Michigan at the Joyce Center.

LOOK AT THE IRISH: After finishing last in the nation in scoring last season (1.58 goals per game), the Irish go into this week versus Minnesota State tied for 38th in the nation in scoring with 2.86 goals per game. In CCHA action a year ago, Notre Dame scored 48 goals in 28 games (1.71 goals per game). This year, the Irish have 31 goals in their first 10 CCHA games (3.10 per game).

PLAYING LIKE VETERANS: Notre Dame freshmen Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) and Garrett Regan (Hastings, Minn.) have stepped right into the Notre Dame lineup and played like they belong there. Condra is tied for second on the team in scoring with a goal and 10 assists for 11 points in the first 14 games this season. He is tied for 5th among CCHA freshman and is 24th in the nation among freshmen scorers. Regan has played in 11 games and has two goals and two assists for four points. Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) broke through versus Bowling Green on Nov. 10 when he scored his first career goal.

NO. 1 TEAMS: Through the first 14 games of the season, the Irish have played six of them versus ranked teams. The Irish opened with No. 4 Colorado College and then played No. 9 Denver. The second week of the season, the Irish played No. 3 Michigan in a pair of games. All three of those teams have been ranked No. 1 in the nation at one time or another this season. On Nov. 18-19, the Irish played a pair of games versus No. 11/12 Miami at Oxford, Ohio.

FAST START: Freshman Erik Condra’s three-point game (0g, 3a) versus Denver was the first three-point game by an Irish rookie since Brett Lebda `04 had five points (1g, 4a) versus Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 20, 2000. His three-point game was the first for the Irish since Nov. 5, 2004 when both Mike Walsh (Sr., Northville, Mich.) and Cory McLean `05 had three points versus Bowling Green in a 4-4 tie. The speedy right wing picked up his second three-point game of the year with three assists against Bowling Green on Nov. 10.

FLUSHING AWAY THE LOSSES: When new Irish head hockey coach Jeff Jackson met with his team for the first time in the 2005-06 school year, they went over team rules, regulations, set up schedules and met with other administrators. At the end of the meeting, he gave the team’s returning players an index card to write down everything that they hated from the previous season (a 5-27-6 year that ended in a 19-game winless skid – 0-17-2). After doing that, the team went to where center ice would be at the Joyce Center rink and threw the cards into a waste basket to burn them, symbolizing that the previous year was done and it was time to move on. Jackson had the ashes placed in a jar that was kept in the locker room to remind everyone about the previous season. “I thought that it was would be good to keep them as a reminder of what happens when you’re not committed,” said Jackson. On Saturday night (Oct. 29) following the first period at home versus Princeton, after starting the season at 0-3 and coming off a bad second period performance the night before (in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers), Jackson walked into the locker room and before talking to the team, took the ashes into the restroom and flushed them down the toilet. “With the first three games, our second periods were horrible, so we flushed last year away,” said Jackson. “They (the players) laughed a little, but the toilet flushed and last year is behind us. Those losses from last year were still lingering over the team and I’m just glad it’s behind them and that now we can move on.” The Irish went out and scored two goals in the second period in the 2-0 win and the winless skid was over.

BACK BEHIND THE BENCH: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson returns to collegiate coaching this season for the first time since leaving Lake Superior State following the 1995-96 season. In six years with the Lakers, Jackson compiled a 182-52-25 career record with two national championships, two CCHA regular-season titles and four CCHA tournament championships. He came into the season as the NCAA’s winningest active coach with at least five years experience with a .751 winning percentage. His 182 career wins (at the start of the year) ranked him 26th among active coaches. Included in his 182 wins are 36 postseason victories and a .837 winning percentage (36-7 in postseason). In CCHA postseason action, Jackson’s teams were 24-2 (.923).

GOING FOR THE GOLD: For the first time since the 1975-76 season, the Notre Dame hockey team will wear gold helmets. When head coach Jeff Jackson took over the program he wanted the hockey program to have an identity. Most people identify Notre Dame with the Golden Dome and the gold football helmets worn by the football team. Irish equipment manager Dave Gilbert contacted the various hockey equipment companies during the summer and Bauer was able to recreate the Irish helmets with the same gold metallic paint that is used on the helmets of the Notre Dame football team. These helmets feature white cages (except for players who wear visors) and like the football helmets have no other markings except for an American flag on the back.

IRISH CAPTAINS: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson named his captain and alternates for the 2005-06 season on Oct. 5. Junior T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) was selected as the team’s captain, making him the first junior captain since Evan Neilsen `03. Jindra is the 13th junior in the program’s history to be selected captain. He will be assisted by seniors Mike Walsh (Northville, Mich.) and Chris Trick (Troy, Mich.) along with junior Jason Paige. Walsh and Paige are in their second seasons as alternate captains for the Irish.

FIRST TIMERS: Freshman left wing Garrett Regan became the first Irish freshman to score a goal this season when he notched his first career goal at 3:59 of the second period. The goal was also the game winner. After getting no points in the first game of the season, Erik Condra burst on the scene with three assists in his second game of the year and now has five assists. Condra added his first career goal versus Michigan on Nov. 4 Goaltender Jordan Pearce had his first win and first shutout of the season on Oct. 29 versus Princeton. Christian Hanson scored his first goal and point with a third-period goal against Bowling Green. Defenseman Tom Sawatske (Jr., Duluth, Minn.) picked up his first assist on Nov. 5 at Michigan and has played in five games. Justin White (Fr., Traverse City, Mich.) has seen action in two with both looking for their first points of the year.

MOVING ON: Over the last two seasons, Notre Dame has seen six of its players sign contracts with National Hockey League teams. Only Michigan (7) and Minnesota (6) have as many or more NHL signees. This past summer, goaltender Morgan Cey (Wilkie, Sask.) and former Irish forward Yan Stastny (St. Louis, Mo.) signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Edmonton Oilers respectively. They joined 2003-04 signees – Neil Komadoski (Ottawa Senators), Brett Lebda (Detroit Red Wings), Aaron Gill (San Jose Sharks) and Rob Globke (Florida Panthers). Komadoski, Globke and Stastny were selected in the NHL Draft (Stastny was a Boston Bruin pick) while Cey, Gill and Lebda were free-agent signees. Stastny played at Notre Dame from 2001-03 before playing professionally in Germany. He would have been a senior in 2004-05.