Defenseman Noah Babin and the seven other seniors on the roster make their second appearance at Joe Louis Arena.  They played there in the 2004 CCHA Super Six as freshmen.

Irish Take The Road To The Joe For Notre Dame's First CCHA Semifinal Appearance Since 2000

March 14, 2007

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Game: #1/#1 Notre Dame (29-6-3) vs. Lake Superior State (21-17-3)

• Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., March 16-17, 2007 • 4:35 p.m./3:35 or 7:05 p.m. • Joe Louis Arena (20,066)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Steve Penstone calls 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 games on Friday night will appear on FSN Detroit with Matt Shepard and Fred Pletsch calling the action and Shireen Saski handling the sideline duties. The Mason Cup title game (7:05 p.m.) will be the lone game televised on Saturday.

THE ROAD TO THE JOE: Notre Dame makes its first appearance at Joe Louis Arena in the CCHA Champpionship series since 2004. The Irish dropped a 6-5 overtime game to Ohio State that season but still moved on to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The Irish bring a 29-6-3 record into the CCHA Championship, with the 29 wins serving as the most in Notre Dame hockey history. The Irish will face the Lake Superior State Lakers, 21-17-3 on the year, in the first semifinal game at 4:35 p.m. with Michigan and Michigan State playing at 8:05 p.m. in the second semifinal game. On Saturday, the two losers from Friday will meet at 3:35 p.m. in the third-place game with Friday’s winners playing at 7:05 p.m. in the Mason Cup Championship game. The Irish advanced to Friday’s semifinal with a two-game sweep of Alaska, winning 7-1 and 3-1, to eliminate the Nanooks. The Lakers, who were eighth in the regular season have played two series, defeating Ferris State, two games to one in the first round before upsetting third-seed Miami in Oxford, Ohio with a pair of 2-1 wins. For the sixth week in a row, Notre Dame is ranked number one in the nation in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and college hockey polls.

IRISH AT THE JOE: Notre Dame is 4-9-0 all-time at Joe Louis Arena and has not played there since March 18, 2004. The Irish are just 1-6-0 at “the Joe” in CCHA Tournament play with the lone win coming on March 13, 1982 when they knocked off Bowling Green, 8-5, in the CCHA semifinals.

2003-04 CCHA vs. Ohio State (L, 5-6 ot)2002-03 CCHA vs. Ohio State (L, 2-3)             vs. Wayne State (W, 3-2)2001-02 CCHA vs. No. Michigan (L, 1-3)1999-00 CCHA semifinals vs. Mich. State (L, 0-4)1993-94 GLI vs. Michigan (L, 3-8)        GLI vs. Michigan Tech (L, 6-8)1982-83 GLI vs. Michigan Tech ((L, 6-9)        GLI vs. Michigan (L, 3-12)1982-82 CCHA vs. Bowling Green (W, 8-5)        CCHA vs. Michigan State (L, 1-4)1981-82 GLI vs. Michigan (W, 6-2)        GLI vs. Michigan Tech (W, 8-3)

IRISH IN CCHA CHAMPIONSHIP: This is Notre Dame’s sixth trip to the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena. The Irish have been in the semifinals three times (81-82, 99-00 and this season). They also advanced to three consecutive CCHA Super Six’s (01-02, 02-03 and 03-04) but lost in the first game all three times. The Irish won once in the semifinals (8-5 versus Bowling Green) and then lost in the title game to Michigan State, 4-1. In 1999-2000, the Irish advanced to the CCHA semifinals and dropped a 4-1 decision to Michigan State.

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, the fan voting phase has ended and 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 is a first team all-CCHA selection and one of three finalists for CCHA player of the year honors. Brown led Notre Dame to this weekend’s CCHA Championship by giving up two goals on 39 shots in 7-1 and 3-1 victories over Alaska. Brown is 27-5-3 with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. He also had five shutouts. His win total and goals-against average are tops in the CCHA and the nation. His five shutouts lead the league and are third nationally. His .928 save percentage is second in the conference and sixth in the nation. Brown owns single-season school records for wins (27) and shutouts (5). The Stoney Creek, Ont., native was also Notre Dame’s Perani Cup winner for three-star voting during the CCHA regular season. He picked up 36 points as he was named First Star four times, Second Star five times and Third Star one time. Brown is also one of 10 finalists for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award that goes to a senior for his character, classroom, community service and play on the ice. He is currently ranked second by’s Hobey Watch and second by Inside College’s Hobey Tracker.

Mark Van Guilder: Van Guilder had his four-game point streak (3-1-4) snapped in the second game of the series with Alaska. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and his 33 points rank him fourth on the Irish scoresheet. Van Guilder has career highs in goals and points this season and he has now played in 112 consecutive games in his career.

IRISH VERSUS LAKERS: Lake Superior leads the all-time series with a 23-19-4 record. The two teams have met twice on neutral ice with the Lakers winning both meetings. The Irish and Lake Superior have never faced each other in CCHA tournament play. The two teams met twice this year at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., with Notre Dame winning both games, 4-3 in overtime and 4-1. The Irish have now won three straight versus the Lakers and are 11-3-2 in 16 games since the 2001-02 season.

IRISH VERSUS MICHIGAN: The two teams have met 111 times in the all-time series with Michigan holding a 63-43-5 lead in those meetings. The Wolverines are 6-3 against the Irish in CCHA playoff action. The last time the two teams met in the playoffs was 2004-05 with Michigan winning 10-1 and 1-0 in overtime. This season, the two teams played in December with Notre Dame winning 7-3 at Yost Arena and 4-3 at the Joyce Center. The two wins this season snapped an eight-game Irish losing streak to the Wolverines.

IRISH VERSUS MICHIGAN STATE: Notre Dame and Michigan State have met 96 times in the series with the Spartans holding a 57-31-8 edge in those games. In CCHA playoff action, the Irish are 0-2 against Michigan State with both games coming at Joe Louis Arena (1982, 2000). This season, the two teams split a home-and-home series with the Irish winning at the Joyce Center, 4-1 before dropping a 2-0 decision at Munn Arena. The Spartans have won six of the last seven meetings between the two schools.

IRISH CCHA PLAYOFF HISTORY: The Irish have now played 40 games in CCHA playoff history and are now 15-25 in those games. The March 9, 7-1 win over Alaska, snapped a five-game Irish playoff losing streak.

1981-82Michigan W, 6-5Michigan W, 5-3vs. Bowling Green (@JLA) W, 8-5vs. Michigan State (@JLA) L, 1-4
1982-83at Bowling Green L, 3-8at Bowling Green L, 2-7
1992-93at Michigan L, 2-13at Michigan L, 1-8
1993-94at Western Michigan L, 3-6at Western Michigan L, 1-7
1994-95at Bowling Green L, 2-7at Bowling Green L, 4-5
1997-98at Michigan W, 4-2at Michigan L, 1-2 (ot)at Michigan L, 3-4
1998-99Northern Michigan W, 3-2Northern Michigan L, 1-7Northern Michigan L, 2-3
1999-00Ferris State W, 4-3Ferris State L, 1-6Ferris State W, 4-2vs. Michigan State (@JLA) L, 0-4
2001-02at Nebraska-Omaha L, 2-3 (2ot)at Nebraska-Omaha W, 2-1 (ot)at Nebraska-Omaha W, 2-1vs. No. Michigan (@JLA) L, 1-3
2002-03at Miami (OH) L, 2-4at Miami (OH) W, 1-0at Miami (OH) W, 5-0vs. Ohio State (@JLA) L, 2-3
2003-04Western Michigan W, 4-2Western Michigan L, 0-4Western Michigan W, 5-4 (ot)vs. Ohio State (@JLA) L, 5-6 ot
2004-05at Michigan L, 1-10at Michigan L, 0-1 (ot)
2005-06Alaska L, 1-3Alaska L, 0-1
2006-07Alaska W, 7-1Alaska W, 3-1vs. Lake Superior (@JLA

PLAYOFF SUCCESS: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson has had his share of success in the CCHA playoffs during his career. In eight seasons between Notre Dame and Lake Superior State, he is 26-4 (.867), including 24-2 in six years at Lake Superior State. The two losses came in CCHA tournament championship games as his team played for the title in all six seasons, winning four times.

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: Irish defenseman Wes O’Neill (Sr., Essex, Ont.) went 36 regular-season games without scoring a goal while racking up 17 assists. He finally got on the scoreboard versus Alaska with a first-period goal in the 7-1 win over the Nanooks. He added an assist for two points in that game. In game two of the series, O’Neill scored his second goal of the weekend and his first of the year on the power play. In 38 games this season, O’Neill has two goals and 18 assists for 20 points.

ON THE SIDELINES: Irish radio announcer Mike Lockert will be on the sidelines for the rest of the season as he has surgery on his eye. Steve Penstone, the play-by-play announcer for Penn State hockey will fill in for Lockert. He did four games earlier this season when Lockert was out with eye problems.

THE BEST OFFENSE: Notre Dame’s defensemen scored four of the 10 goals scored by the Irish in the two wins over Alaska, including 3-of-7 in the 7-1 win on March 9. Wes O’Neill had two goals while Brock Sheahan (Jr., Lethbridge, Alb.) and Kyle Lawson (Fr., New Hudson, Mich.) had single goals.

TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT: Notre Dame’s two-game sweep of Alaska marked the first time since 1981-82 that the Irish swept a playoff series. The Irish downed Michigan by 6-5 and 5-3 scores.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Irish are now 10-1-2 in their last 13 games with the lone loss coming on Feb. 23 to Ferris State. The five goals scored by Ferris were the most given up all season by Notre Dame. Since Dec. 2, Notre Dame has a 19-3-2 record. The 134 goals scored by the Irish this season are the most by a Notre Dame team since 1990-91 when that team scored 134 goals in 33 games.

CCHA AWARDS: The CCHA has announced several of its postseason awards. As mentioned earlier, David Brown was selected first team all-CCHA, making him just the second Notre Dame player ever to take first team honors from the CCHA. Defenseman Benoit Cotnoir `99 was a first team choice in 1998-99. In all, the Irish have only had seven other players selected second team by the league’s coaches. Right wing Erik Condra and defenseman Noah Babin (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) received honorable mention honors and defenseman Kyle Lawson also received votes. Three Notre Dame freshmen were selected to the all-rookie team. Forwards Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) were joined by Lawson among the conference’s top six freshmen. Off the ice, senior Jason Paige was Notre Dame’s scholar-athlete choice by the CCHA. He is now a candidate for the conference’s scholar-athlete of the year. Brown is also a finalist for the CCHA player of the year while head coach Jeff Jackson is a finalist for coach of the year. Defenseman Brock Sheahan is a finalist for defensive defenseman honors while Thang is a finalist for rookie of the year.

ONLY THE SECOND: By guiding Notre Dame to its first-ever CCHA regular-season championship, Irish head coach Jeff Jackson became just the second coach in CCHA history to win titles with two different teams. Jackson won regular-season titles at Lake Superior State (1990-91, `94-’95) prior to this season’s title with Notre Dame. He joins Michigan State Athletics Director Ron Mason who won two league titles while coaching at Bowling Green (`77-’78 and `78-’79) and five while behind the bench at Michigan State (`88-’89, `89-’90, `97-’98, `98-’99 and 2000-01).

BIGGEST PLAYOFF WIN: Notre Dame’s game one win over Alaska, 7-1, was the biggest margin for Notre Dame in any playoff game in the school’s history. The Irish have scored eight goals twice in the past: March 6, 1973, an 8-3 win over North Dakota in the WCHA playoffs and on March 13, 1982, an 8-5 win over Bowling Green in the CCHA playoffs.

CRAFTY CONDRA: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) recorded the third four-assist game of his career and the second of the season in the 7-1 win over Alaska in game one of the series on March 9. Condra had four assists on Jan. 5 in a 6-2 win at Robert Morris in a game that he scored once for a five-point night. He now leads the Irish in scoring with 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points. That’s the most points and assists by a Notre Dame player since Connor Dunlop `03 had 45 points and 36 assists in the 2001-02 campaign. Condra is Notre Dame’s leading playoff scorer with five assists.

REGANOMICS: Sophomore Garrett Regan (So., Hastings, Minn.) picked up the first three-point game of his career in the 7-1 win over Alaska with two goals and one assist. The two-goal game was his team-best fourth of the season and his first goal of the game was his fourth game-winning goal of the year, tying him for second on the team. Regan now has career highs in goals (14), assists (11), points (25), power-play goals (4), short-handed goals (1) and game winners (4). He is fifth on the team in scoring. Regan also set up Wes O’Neill’s (Sr., Essex, Ont.) game winner in game two of the series. Regan has two goals and two assists in the playoffs.

WIN RECORD: Notre Dame’s 29 wins this season are a school record. The previous record was 27 wins as the 1987-88 team was 27-4-2 playing as a Division I independent.

HELPING HAND: Sophomore Justin White (Traverse City, Mich.) notched the first three-point game and three-assist game of his career in the 7-1 win over Alaska on March 9. The three-assist game was the third multiple-point game of his career. He added an assist in the second game of the series to tie for second on the team with four points in the playoffs. On the season, White now has two goals and 13 assists for 15 points in 25 games this year.

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

Class (Skaters)  Goals  Assists  PointsFreshmen (6)      48      72      120Seniors (7)       29      79      108Sophomores (4)    34      56       90Juniors (5)       23      27       50Totals           134     234      368

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. He has been selected first team all-CCHA and is also a finalist for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Brown set a school record for wins (27) and shutouts (5) with his 2-0 shutout of Ferris State on Feb. 24. Overall, he has now appeared in 35 of Notre Dame’s 38 games and has a 1.64 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage to go with a 27-5-3 record. The Hobey Baker candidate is first among CCHA goaltenders in wins (27), goals-against average (1.64) and shutouts (5). He is second in save percentage (.928) and second in minutes played (2,115:51). He ranks first nationally in wins, first in goals-against average, second in minutes played, third in shutouts and sixth in save percentage. His .814 winning percentage is first in the CCHA and second nationally. Brown and the Irish defense are best in the nation, giving up just 1.71 goals-per-game (65 in 38 contests). The senior goaltender now has 52 career wins at Notre Dame to rank second 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 (2.38), save percentage (.914) and shutouts (11).

JOYCE CENTER SELLOUTS: Notre Dame closed out its’ home schedule on March 10 with the eighth consecutive sellout crowd and 10th in the last 11 games going back to Dec. 10. On the year, the Irish had 11 sellouts in 17 home games and for the year averaged 2,478 per game. Standing room capacity at the Joyce Center is 2,763.

PENALTY-KILLING SUPREME: Notre Dame’s penalty killers were 10-for-11 in stopping Alaska’s power play in the two-game series. The Irish have now killed 28-of-30 (.933) opponent power plays in the last seven games. Since Jan. 13, a span of 15 games, the Irish have given up just five power-play goals in 75 chances (93.3%). Notre Dame has the top-rated penalty killers in the CCHA and the nation, killing penalties at a 90.5% success rate in 2006-07.

SCORING IN BUNCHES: Through the first 38 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored two or more goals in a period a total of 36 times, including five goals in the opening period of the 7-1 win over Alaska on March 9. Twice this season, the Irish have scored five goals in a period (Dec. 3 vs. Alaska). The totals include 24 periods with two goals, nine periods with three goals, two periods with four goals and two with five lamplighters. HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame is 13-2-2 at home this season for an .824 winning percentage that is the best since the 2003-04 season when the Irish were 14-2-2 at the Joyce Center for an .833 winning percentage. Only two other Irish teams have had better home records – 1987-88 team was 18-2-0 (.900) and the 1969-70 team was 12-1-1 (.893).

THE REAL THANG: Freshman right wing Ryan Thang continued his impressive rookie season versus Alaska, getting a goal and an assist in the series. He is now tied for the team lead in goals (18) and leads in power-play goals (9), game winners (5) and shots on goal (109). Thang’s 18 goals are most by an Irish freshman since Tom Mooney `85 had 19 in 1984-85. He now ranks seventh all-time with 18 goals. Thang is second in the CCHA among freshmen goal scorers, trailing Western Michigan’s Mark Letestu who has 24. Fellow freshman Kevin Deeth, with 17 goals this season, is tied with Rob Globke `04 and Brian Walsh `74 for eighth with 17 goals.

FRESHMEN POINT PRODUCERS: Irish freshmen Kevin Deeth and Ryan Thang are second and third on the team in scoring with 38 and 36 points respectively. Deeth has 17 goals and 21 assists while Thang has 18 goals and 18 assists for his 36 points. The dynamic duo are rapidly climbing the charts on Notre Dame’s single-season freshman scoring list. They currently rank second among CCHA freshmen scorers and tied for 14th nationally.