Feb. 20, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. –
It seems like only yesterday that the 2013-14 hockey season was getting underway as Notre Dame got off to a solid start with a 4-0 win over Western Michigan at the Compton Family Ice Arena. We move ahead over four months, tons of snow and ice, lots of cold and here it is the end of February and the Irish are gearing up for their final home series of the regular season.
The opponent will be the Boston University Terriers and they will tangle with the Irish in a pair of 7:05 p.m. games on Feb. 21-22. Friday night’s game will be televised by the NBC Sports Network with Dan Parkhurst calling the action and Ken Hodge providing commentary “Inside the Glass.”
Notre Dame will look to continue its short, late-season surge, as the Irish are 2-0-1 over the last three contests dating back to Feb. 8 against Maine. The Irish then tied Providence (2-2) last Friday and won Saturday’s contest by a 3-0 score. That improved Notre Dame to 17-12-2 overall and 6-9-2 in Hockey East play, good for 14 points and a share of seventh place with Vermont, although the Catamounts have one game in hand. The Irish are two points behind sixth-place Providence (16) and five behind fifth-place Northeastern with three games left to play. PC battles Massachusetts at home this weekend while Northeastern hosts Maine in a pair of games.
Boston University is 8-18-4 on the year and is 3-10-3 in conference play, good for nine points and 10th place in the league’s playoff race. The Terriers are three ahead of 11th-place Merrimack (6) and two behind ninth-place Massachusetts (11). They are five behind Notre Dame and Vermont (15) in the battle for a first-round Hockey East home-ice playoff spot. BU has lost three straight games and is winless in its last seven (0-5-2).
“Boston University is rebuilding. They have a new coach in David Quinn who I know pretty well,” says Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
“They have a string of great recruits coming in over the next few years. They lost players at the beginning of the year as he started changing things into his mold. He is taking over for a legend in Jack Parker, but he has to build that team in his own style of play. They are young and they have some skill. There is skill up front and on the back end. From what I have seen they are a good transition team and they cycle the puck pretty well. As we have found out, there is not a weak link in this conference. We have to be prepared for another tough weekend.”
IRISH VERSUS TERRIERS
Notre Dame and Boston University have met six times in the all-time series with the Terriers holding a 3-2-1 advantage. At Notre Dame, the teams have met once – Dec. 31, 2011 – with the Irish taking a 5-2 win at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Eleven current members of the Irish hockey team played in that game. At BU, Notre Dame is 1-1-0 while the Terriers are 2-0-1 against the Irish at neutral site games. The first meeting between the two schools came on Dec. 30, 1970 in the Boston Arena Christmas Tournament with BU taking a 7-3 decision.
THOSE MAGIC NUMBERS
With three regular season games left on the docket, the Irish are looking to clinch home ice for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs (weekend of March 7-9, single elimination game). That means finishing sixth, seventh or eighth in the standings. To clinch home ice for the first round, Notre Dame’s magic number is any combination of two points involving Massachusetts, four with Boston University and one against Merrimack. Heading into the weekend, the Irish can finish as high as third place in the standings depending on the results of all remaining games. Maine and New Hampshire need any combination of one point to kill Irish chances for third place. Here’s a look at the standings heading into the weekend of Feb. 21-22.
Team GP Record Pts. GR
1. Boston College 17 15-1-1 31 3 (UML, @UML, ND) 2. UMass-Lowell 16 10-4-2 22 4 (@BC, BC, @UVM, @UVM) 3. Maine 16 9-5-2 20 4 (@NE, @NE, PC, PC) New Hampshire 18 10-8-0 20 2 (@MC, @MC) 5. Northeastern 16 9-6-1 19 4 (ME, ME, @BU, BU) 6. Providence 16 7-7-2 16 4 (UMASS, @UMASS, @ ME, @ME) 7. Vermont 16 7-9-0 14 4 (@MC, @MC, UML, UML) Notre Dame 17 6-9-2 14 3 (BU, BU, @BC) 9. Massachusetts 18 4-11-3 11 2 (@PC, PC) 10. Boston Univ. 16 3-10-3 9 4 (@ND, @ND, NE, @NE) 11. Merrimack 16 2-12-2 6 4 (VER, VER, UNH, UNH)
With all the final scenarios for the last two weeks of the season, Jackson knows that the only focus his team needs is on winning games.
“Hopefully this last weekend wasn’t just an anomaly,” says Jeff Jackson.
“We need to build up some type of consistency, especially with two home games coming up. Regardless of whom we are playing, this league is too tough to take time off. We can’t afford that any more. We have kicked ourselves; hurt ourselves by losing games here at home. We have to win games right now if we have any chance of doing anything in the Hockey East playoffs or making the NCAA Tournament, we have to win games, plain and simple.”
Defenseman Stephen Johns understands what is at stake for he and his teammates this coming weekend.
“Right now, we feel pretty good about ourselves, but we still have a lot to do,” says Johns.
“These four points this weekend are more important than winning the Hockey East tournament, two weeks or three weeks in advance. All our focus has to be this coming Friday and Saturday night.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY 101
Boston University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods with the Boston University Medical Campus located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The University has more than 3,800 faculty members and just under 30,000 students (15,800 undergraduates) and is one of Boston’s leading employers.
BU offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates along with medical, dental, business, and law degrees through eighteen schools and colleges on two urban campuses. The University also operates 75 study abroad programs in over 33 cities in over twenty countries and has internship opportunities in ten different countries (including the United States).
Boston University got its start in 1839 with the establishment of the Newbury Biblical Institute in Newbury, Vermont and was chartered with the name Boston University by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1869.
The university counts seven Nobel Laureates, including Martin Luther King, Jr. (PhD `55) and Elie Wiesel, 35 Pulitzer Prize winners, six Academy Award winners, plus Emmy and Tony Award winners among its faculty and alumni.
The Boston University Terriers compete at the NCAA Division I level. The athletic teams play in the Patriot League, Hockey East and the Colonial Athletic Association. Hockey is recognized as one of Boston University’s most successful programs and has captured five NCAA titles with the most recent coming in 2009. Until this season, the hockey program was coached by BU alum, Jack Parker for the past 40 years. The Terriers have won 29 Beanpot titles and began play in the state-of-the art Agganis Arena on Jan. 3, 2005.
There are over 285,000 Boston University alumni that represent most every country in the world. Among the most Boston University alumni are Martin Luther King who earned a Ph.D in 1955, actresses Geena Davis, Marisa Tomei and Julianne Moore, television talk show hosts Bill O’Reilly and Howard Stern. The Terriers have sent a long list of players to the National Hockey League over the years. Among those players are: Tony Amonte, Mike Grier, Keith Tkachuk, Chris Drury, Joe Sacco, Shawn McEachern, Rick DiPietro, Jim Craig, Dave Silk, Scott Young, Ryan Whitney. And, even though he never played in the NHL, one of BU’s most prominent hockey alums is 1980 U.S. Olympic hero Mike Eruzione.
Notre Dame will honor its 11-man senior class on Saturday night prior to the start of the game with Boston University on Senior Night. This group of seniors – Jared Beers (Mishawaka, Ind.), Jeff Costello (Milwaukee, Wis.), David Gerths (Ankeny, Iowa), Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.), Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.), Joe Rogers (Marysville, Mich.), Bryan Rust (Novi. Mich.), Steven Summerhays, Shayne Taker (Surrey, B.C.), T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) and Mike Voran (Livonia, Mich.) – enters the weekend with an 86-57-13 (.593) record, two second-place regular-season finishes in the CCHA, two trips to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA championships, a CCHA tournament title in 2013 and two NCAA appearances, including a trip to the Frozen Four in 2011. Also being honored with the senior class will be senior managers – Nick Macor (Guilford, Conn.) and Lisa Rague (Columbus, Ohio) who have worked behind the scenes for each of the last four seasons.
“This group definitely has made its imprint on the program. They all have different personalities and they all bring different things to the table,” says Jackson.
“They all stuck it out for four years. This past weekend was a pretty good example. I don’t think anyone played harder than that group of seniors. They know this is their last kick at the can. They all lay it on the line every night they play. For me, we got a good group of kids, guys who are great to have around your program.”
For the players, Senior Night can be a tough night as four years comes to an end quickly.
“I think we have to focus on what’s at stake,” says Irish captain Jeff Costello.
“If we don’t come to play this weekend….we aren’t where we want to be in the standings. That has clouded things for us the last couple of weeks. It’s been a great run. We are excited and we definitely want to do something special to finish off our senior campaign.”
HOCKEY EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior goaltender Steven Summerhays was named the Hockey East defensive player of the week after going 1-0-1 versus Providence with a 0.96 goals-against average and a .976 save percentage as he stopped 83-of-85 shots in the series. He made a career-high 47 saves in the 2-2 tie with the Friars on Feb. 14 and followed it with a 36-save, 3-0 shutout on Feb. 15. The shutout was the sixth of the season for Summerhays who leads Hockey East and the nation in that department. He also is tied for the all-time lead in shutouts at Notre Dame with former Irish goaltenders David Brown `07 and Jordan Pearce `09 as all three now have 12 career shutouts. The road shutout was the first for the Irish in Hockey East play and Summerhays’s second of the season as he shut out Western Michigan, 3-0, at Kalamazoo, Mich., on Oct. 12. For his career, he is now 51-35-5 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. This season, Summerhays is 15-11-2 with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and five shutouts. He is fifth in Hockey East in goals against (2.04), seventh in save percentage (.925), tied for second in wins (15), first in shutouts (6).
“Confidence is so important for Steven. We continue to work every Tuesday morning on things that show up from a weakness standpoint,” says Jackson.
“When he starts to have some success, he gets confidence. They threw quite a few pucks on him in the third period on Saturday and he came up with some big saves. When he battles the way he did this weekend, we are in pretty good shape.”
For Summerhays, the shutout against the Friars was the culmination of three weeks of pretty good hockey for the senior goaltender.
“Since the shutout that I had against Northeastern (Jan. 25), I felt like my game was back to where it should be. Even against New Hampshire, I felt really good and I was seeing the puck. We had a couple of weird bounces off our guys and a couple odd-man rushes for goals,” says Summerhays.
“I thought last Friday night they were getting a lot of perimeter shots to start the game. They were struggling to score goals, so they were just throwing everything at the net. I think that was the difference this weekend. I like getting a lot of shots, so getting 40 shots was great compared to getting 15-20 in a game.”
Senior center T.J. Tynan continues to climb on Notre Dame’s all-time points list and he is nearing the top 10 on the career assist list. With a goal and an assist against Providence on Feb. 14, Tynan now has 54 goals and 100 assists for 154 points in 155 games. He is now 14th on the all-time points list, moving ahead of Jamie Ling `96. His assist versus the Friars moves him into 11th all-time and he needs just one more helper to become the 11th player in the program’s history with 100 or more assists in their career. He is the 32nd player in Notre Dame hockey history to score at least 50 goals and have 50 assists for his career. For the season, Tynan leads the Irish in scoring with eight goals and 23 assists for 31 points in 31 games.
Senior center David Gerths picked up his first goal of the season in the 3-0 win over Providence College. More importantly, the goal was the game-winning marker. For Gerths, it snapped a 35-game goal-scoring drought. Gerths last scored on March 2, 2013, in a 4-1 Irish win over Bowling Green in the regular-season finale. That goal was also a game-winning goal for the 6-0, 210-pound forward. He has three game winners in his career.