Notre Dame captain Ryan Thang had the hot hand for the Irish versus Michigan State, scoring four goals in the weekend series.

Irish Take To The Road For Weekend Series At Lake Superior State

Jan. 19, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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– The Games: Notre Dame (10-10-6/6-7-5-2) at –/#18 Lake Superior State (14-8-4/9-7-2-1)

– Date/Site/Time: Friday-Saturday, January 22-23, 2010 – Taffy Abel Arena – 7:05 p.m.

– Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Cat Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pre-game show 20 minutes before the opening faceoff. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish.

– Internet: Audio: Both games of the Lake Superior State series will have live audio available free of charge at the Notre Dame website – Live statistics will be available at the CCHA website (

ON THE ROAD WITH THE IRISH: Notre Dame moves into the stretch run of its schedule this weekend as the Fighting Irish close out the final six weeks of the regular season with seven of the last 10 games on the road. This weekend, Notre Dame goes to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to face one of the CCHA’s hottest teams, the Lake Superior State Lakers. The weekend series will be played on Fri.-Sat., Jan. 22-23 at Taffy Abel Arena at 7:05 p.m. both nights. Notre Dame is coming off a win and a tie (shootout loss) to Michigan State last weekend, winning on Friday at the Joyce Center, 5-2, before battling the Spartans to a 4-4 tie on Saturday with MSU taking a 1-0 shootout win. The Irish enter the weekend at Lake Superior with a 10-10-6 overall record and are tied for sixth with Michigan in the CCHA with a 6-7-5-2 record, good for 25 points. Notre Dame is four points behind fifth-place Alaska (29) and five behind fourth-place Lake Superior (30). The Lakers are coming off a home sweep of Nebraska-Omaha and enter the weekend with a 14-8-4 overall record and a 9-7-2-1 mark in the conference, good for 30 points and fourth place. Lake Superior is four points behind third-place Ferris State and five behind second-place Michigan State in the standings. The Lakers are ranked 18th in this week’s poll but did not receive any votes in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll.

IRISH VERSUS LAKERS: The two teams have met 53 times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 24-23-6 edge in those games. At Sault Ste. Marie, the Lakers hold a 13-11-2 advantage against the Irish. Since Jeff Jackson took over behind the Notre Dame bench for the 2005-06 season, the Irish are 8-1-2 versus Lake Superior State, including 5-0-1 at Taffy Abel Arena. Last season, the teams met four times with the Irish going 3-0-1 in those games. The last time the Lakers defeated Notre Dame was Dec. 17, 2005, a 4-0 shutout at the Joyce Center. The last time they won at home was Jan. 8, 2005, a 2-1 overtime win.

HOMECOMING: Irish head coach Jeff Jackson returns this weekend to his coaching roots when the Irish play at Lake Superior. He spent four seasons as an assistant (1986-90) with the Lakers and then was their head coach for six years (1990-96), compiling a 182-52-25 record, two NCAA titles, two CCHA regular-season titles and four CCHA Tournament championships.

CCHA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Senior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and freshman left wing Nick Larson (Apple Valley, Minn.) were honored by the CCHA this week as they were named defensive player and rookie of the week respectively for the week ending Jan. 17. Lawson had a hand in five of Notre Dame’s nine goals on the weekend with five assists, was +3 in the two games and recorded three blocked shots versus the Spartans. Larson had two goals and two assists in the two games, taking six shots on goal and was +2 on the week. He turned in a career-best three-point game (2g, 1a) in the 5-2 victory over Michigan State on Jan. 15. This marks the second time this season that Lawson has been named defensive player of the week.

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: Notre Dame had its biggest offensive outburst of the season in the weekend series with Michigan State. In the two games, the Irish scored nine goals, a season high for a two-game series. On Friday night, the Irish had five goals in a 5-2 win that saw them fire 46 shots on goal. The following night, Notre Dame rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second period to go ahead, 4-3, in the third. The Spartans tied the game with under three minutes left, 4-4, and it remained that way at the final buzzer. In the shootout, the Spartans scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win in three rounds.

MICHIGAN STATE RECAP: Friday, January 15, 2010 –

Freshman left wing Nick Larson scored two goals and added an assist while senior captain Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) scored twice and Dan Kissel (Sr., Crestwood, Ill.) added a short-handed goal as Notre Dame knocked off No. 6/7 Michigan State, 5-2, at the Joyce Center. The Spartans built a 2-0 lead on goals by Dean Chelios and Brett Perlini before Larson started the Irish comeback. He cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:02 of the second period and then tied the game at 14:36 to close the second-period scoring. In the third, Thang got the eventual winner on a power-play deflection at 4:40. Kissel scored his short-handed goal at 5:59 when he blasted a rocket from the top of the left circle past MSU goaltender Drew Palmisano. Thang closed the scoring at 8:57 for the 5-2 win. Defensemen Brett Blatchford (Sr., Temperance, Mich.) and Kyle Lawson each had two assists in the game. Notre Dame out shot the Spartans, 46-26 in the game. Palmisano made 34 saves in 48:57 of playing time. Bobby Jarosz had seven stops in 11:03. Mike Johnson (Fr., Verona, Wis.) stopped 24-of-26 shots in the win. The Irish were 1-for-6 on the power play while Michigan State was 0-for-5.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 – Michigan State jumped out to a 3-0 lead at 4:30 of the second period on goals by Nick Sucharski, Daultan Leveille and Brett Perlini. That chased starter Mike Johnson in the Irish goal and he was replaced by junior Brad Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.). The Irish broke through on MSU starter Bobby Jarosz at 12:42 of the second with a Calle Ridderwall (Jr., Stockholm, Sweden) with a power-play goal to make it 3-1. Ryan Thang followed with his first goal (ppg) of the night at 18:12 to make it 3-2 after two periods. Ben Ryan (Jr., Brighton, Mich.) tied the game just 37 seconds into the third period with his fifth goal of the season and Thang put the Irish ahead with his second power-play goal of the night and fourth goal of the weekend at 4:51 of the final stanza. The score stayed that way until the 17:39 mark when Derek Grant tied the contest with a power-play goal. In the shootout, MSU’s Andrew Grant was the lone scorer as the Spartans won, 1-0. Phillips stopped 19-of-20 shots in the game to pick up the tie. The appearance was his first since Nov. 28 versus Bowling Green. Notre Dame out shot Michigan State, 32-30, in the game. The Irish were 3-for-7 on the power play while the Spartans were 1-for-4.

OVERLOOKED: Irish senior captain Ryan Thang was overlooked in the voting for offensive player of the week by the conference. In the win and tie, Thang had four goals and no assists with three goals coming on the power play. One of his goals was a game winner and he was the Perani Cup first star of both games. Thang had eight shots on goal and was +3 for the weekend.

CALL A DOCTOR: Notre Dame’s injury list continues to grow. Senior Christiaan Minella (Aurora, Colo.) went down with a knee injury versus Michigan State and will be out 6-8 weeks. He joins:

Sam Calabrese - leg injury (2-3 weeks)Eric Ringel - concussion (day-to-day)Teddy Ruth - upper body injury (day-to-day)Billy Maday - shoulder/concussion (6-8 weeks)Christiaan Minella - knee (6-8 weeks)

Calabrese and Ringel were injured on Dec. 4-5 at Miami and have now missed eight straight games. Ruth and Maday were injured on Jan. 10 versus Ferris State and have missed two games each. Minella did not play in the second game of the Michigan State series.

SCORING WOES: Through the first 26 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored a total of 62 goals. The Irish have scored goals via the power play in 21 of their 26 games, getting a total of 31 power-play goals. Notre Dame has two short-handed goals to give the team 33 special team goals to go with 29 even-strength goals. For the year, the Irish are averaging 2.38 goals-per game and the offensive attack is ranked 51st in the nation.

DEFENSIVE DANDIES: While the Irish have struggled to score goals, they have done a good job of keeping the puck out of the net through the first 26 games. In those games, Notre Dame’s defense has held opponents to two goals or less in 14 of them and has given up three or less in 19 of the 26 contests. For the year, the Irish have given up just 59 goals for a 2.27 goals per game to rank sixth in the nation in team defense.

MR. CLUTCH: With his game-winning goal on Friday night, Ryan Thang became Notre Dame’s all-time leader in game winner with 14. The goal snapped a four-way tie for the top spot.

Game-Winning GoalsName (Seasons)                       GWG1.   Ryan Thang (2006-)            142.   Rob Globke (2000-04)             13     Brian Urick (1995-99)            13     Dave Poulin (1978-82)            134.   Dave Bankoske (1988-93)          125.   Erik Condra (2005-09)            11     Paul Regan (1969-73)             117.   Tim Kuehl (1986-90)              10     Tom Mooney (1984-88)             10     Greg Meredith (1976-80)          10

CHART CLIMBING: With three power-play goals against Michigan State, senior captain Ryan Thang moved into fifth on Notre Dame’s all-time list with 25. Here are Notre Dame’s top nine power-play goal scorers:

Power-Play GoalsName (Seasons)                        PPG1.   Greg Meredith (1976-80)           432.   Dave Poulin (1978-82)             323.   Mike McNeill (1984-88)            314.   Lou Zadra (1988-92)               285.   Ryan Thang (2006- )               276.   Aniket Dhadphale (1995-99)        25     Tim Kuehl (1986-90)               25     Kirt Bjork (1979-83)              25     Brian Walsh (1973-77)             24

CHART-CLIMBING, PART TWO: With his five assists in the series against Michigan State, senior defenseman Kyle Lawson leads Irish defensemen in scoring and is fourth among CCHA defensemen with four goals and 14 assists for 18 points. For his career, Lawson has moved past former defensive standout Brett Lebda `04, into 10th on Notre Dame’s all-time list for points by a defenseman. He now has 17 goals and 69 assists for 86 points in 149 career games. Here is the top 10 scoring defensemen for the Irish.

Points By A DefensemanName (Seasons)                       G     A     Pts1.   John Schmidt (1978-82)         28    95     1232.   Jeff Brownschidle (1977-81)    39    92     1223.   Jack Brownschidle (1973-77)    31    78     1094.   Bob Thebeau (1982-86)          40    63     1035.   Paul Clarke (1973-77)          38    62     1006.   Bill Green (1969-73)           30    66      96     Kevin Markovitz (1986-90)      24    72      968.   Bill Nyrop (1970-74)           17    72      899.   Benoit Cotnoir (1995-99)       28    60      8810.  Kyle Lawson (2006-)            17    69      86

A NICK OF TIME: Notre Dame freshman left wing Nick Larson picked a great time to have his best game of the season on Jan. 15 against Michigan State. Larson collected three points (2g, 1a) in the 5-2 win over the Spartans. More importantly, he single-handedly brought the Irish back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game. His first goal came at 7:02 of the second period when he whipped a shot from inside the MSU blue line past goaltender Drew Palmisano. Less than eight minutes later at 14:36, he cashed in on a 2-on-1 with Kyle Lawson, beating Palmisano over his glove with a wrist shot. He then helped set up a Ryan Thang power-play goal in the third period that put the Irish ahead, 3-2. For the game, Larson had a career-best five shots on goal and was +2 for the contest. On the year, he now has four goals and three assists for seven points with two game-winning goals.

STREAKING IRISH: Notre Dame defensemen Brett Blatchford and Ian Cole (Jr., Ann Arbor, Mich.) each have career-high scoring streaks that they extended in the series with Michigan State. Blatchford ran his streak to seven straight games (0g, 9a, 9 pts). His streak started on Dec. 11 versus Michigan. Cole ran his streak to six games (2g, 4a, 6 pts). His streak started on Jan. 2 versus Colgate.

THE KID IS ALRIGHT: Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson has gotten his collegiate career off to a fast start through the first 26 games of the season. He saw his streak of nine straight apperances and seven consecutive starts snapped on Jan. 10 when Tom O’Brien got the call in goal. In 17 games, including 16 starts, Johnson is 7-6-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage with two shutouts. Johnson recorded a shutout versus Providence College on Oct. 16 in his first career start and picked up his second with a career-high 38 saves versus Michigan on Dec. 13. His 2.17 goals-against average is 15th in the nation and his .922 save percentage is 15th among all Division I goaltenders. In his 16 starts, Johnson has given up 34 goals while the Irish have scored 32.

BACK BETWEEN THE PIPES: Junior goaltender Brad Phillips stopped 19-of-20 shots in relief of Mike Johnson in the 4-4 overtime tie against Michigan State on Jan. 16. Phillips played the final 40:26 of the game. It marked his first appearance in goal for the Irish since Nov. 28 against Bowling Green. Phillips, who missed the entire 2008-09 season due to knee surgery, has appeared in nine games this season, making eight starts. He is 2-3-3 overall with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage with one shutout.

HOME ICE STRUGGLES: With the 5-2 win over Michigan State on Jan. 15, Notre Dame improved to 6-6-3 in the first 15 home games this season. During the 2008-09 campaign, the Irish were 13-3-2 at the Joyce Center and over the previous three seasons owned a 37-9-7 mark on home ice.

HITTING THE CENTURY MARK: Notre Dame senior captain Ryan Thang became the 45th player in the history of the Irish hockey program to score 100 points in his career. Thang’s assist on Ian Cole’s power-play goal in the first period of the Jan. 10 game with Ferris State gave him 51 goals and 49 assists for his 100th career point. He now has 55 goals and 49 assists for 104 career points to rank 41st all-time.

WINNING THE GOLD: Notre Dame freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) returned to the Notre Dame lineup after helping the U.S. Junior National team win the gold medal at the World Junior Championships. The 5-11, 195-pound right wing was third in scoring on the team with a goal and eight assists for nine points and was +8 in the tournament. He is the first Irish player to win a gold medal in the World Junior Championships. Palmieri sat out the Ferris State series as Coach Jeff Jackson gave him the series off to return home after missing the holiday break.

IRISH MEDALS: A total of 13 Notre Dame players have participated in the World Junior Championships since 1977. In that time, three have been members of U.S. medal-winning teams. Joining Kyle Palmieri and his gold medal this season are current Irish defenseman Kyle Lawson, who won a bronze medal in 2007, when he was captain of the U.S. team and former standout Ben Simon `00, who won a silver medal in 1997.

SWEEPLESS IN SOUTH BEND: For the second time this season, the Irish were swept in a weekend series as Ferris State took two on Jan. 9-10 to join Miami and its Dec. 4-5 sweep against the Notre Dame. The Ferris State speep marks just the 10th time in the Jeff Jackson era (2005-) that the Irish have been swept in a two-game series. Since Jackson took over, the Irish have been swept five times in 2005-06, twice in 2007-08, once last year and twice this season.

HIGHLY RANKED: Notre Dame freshman center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) is the top-ranked collegiate hockey player in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Sheahan was ranked fifth among all North American skaters. As a freshman at Notre Dame, who only turned 18 on Dec. 7, Sheahan is fifth on the team in scoring with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 25 games. Four other players who have signed national letters-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in 2010 or 2011 also have been ranked. Joining Sheahan are defenseman Stephan Johns (Wampum, Pa.), ranked 28th; defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.) is 32nd; defenseman Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.) checks in at 42nd and forward Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) is ranked 76th. Johns, Tinordi and Rust play for the U.S. National Development Program while Lind plays for the Chicago Steel in the USHL.

OVERTIME MARKS: Six of Notre Dame’s last 10 games have gone into overtime with one game decided in the extra session and five going to a shootout. For the season, the Irish are 1-0-6 in overtime games. In the six shootouts to date, Notre Dame is 3-3. The overtime win on Nov. 27 versus Bowling Green was the first for the Irish since Feb. 20, 2009 at Nebraska-Omaha, a 4-3 win. Notre Dame is now 3-0-9 in overtime since its last overtime loss, a 2-1 decision to Miami on March 21, 2008, in the CCHA semifinal game.