Oct. 23, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. –
For the first time, the University of Niagara hockey program will visit the University of Notre Dame when the two teams get together this weekend for a pair of games at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The two programs have met once before, back in the 2000-01 season when they participated in the Maverick Stampede held at Nebraska Omaha. The tournament featured Nebraska Omaha, Boston College, Notre Dame and Niagara. The Irish dropped the opener to Boston College in a 4-1 decision and then met the Purple Eagles in the third-place game. Aaron Gill, Chad Chipchase and David Inman scored for the Irish but Niagara got the equalizer from Chris Sebastian at 9:33 for the tying goal. Jeremiah Kimento stopped 30 of 33 shots in goal as the teams played 65 minutes to tie at 3-3 and share third place.
This weekend, the Irish and Purple Eagles will meet at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24 in a game that will be streamed live at NBCSports.com. Saturday’s tilt will see the puck drop at 7:05 p.m. with the game televised live by the NBC Sports Network with NHL voice Dave Strader calling the shots and former NHL star Anson Carter handling the analysis “Inside the Glass.”
Notre Dame is off to a 2-2-0 start following last weekend’s sweep of Lake Superior State while Niagara is 0-4-0 after dropping a home-and-home series with Robert Morris University.
Niagara University is a Catholic university in the Vincentian tradition, located in the town of Lewiston in Niagara County, New York and is run by the Congregation of the Mission. Niagara has 3,300 undergraduate students in 50 academic programs. Approximately half of the students are residents, while the other half commutes from the surrounding area. The college is known as a liberal arts school, but offers programs in technical and pre-professional disciplines as well.
Originally founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1856 as Our Lady of Angels Seminary, the school moved from Buffalo to its current location on May 1, 1857. After 26 years on its new campus, The College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels officially changed its name to Niagara University on August 7, 1883. The University is still run by the Vincentian Fathers. All of Niagara’s 26 presidents, including its current president, Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., have been Vincentian priests.
Undergraduate students are able to choose an area of study in any of Niagara’s four academic colleges. In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, NU’s Academic Exploration Program allows first and second year students take courses in various departments before deciding on a major.
The Niagara University Athletics Department sponsors 18 Division I sports. The Purple Eagles compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in all sports except ice hockey. The men’s ice hockey team competes in Atlantic Hockey. The men’s basketball team won the MAAC Championship in 2005 and in 2007, earning automatic bids to the 2005 and 2007’s NCAA tournaments. The Purple Eagles first appearance in the Dance came in 1970, when All-American Calvin Murphy led the Purple Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen.
The men’s hockey team won the College Hockey America Championship in 2000, 2004 and 2008, appearing in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship those years. In 2000, Niagara upset the University of New Hampshire to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Last season, Niagara was 15-20-5 overall and 11-11-5 in Atlantic Hockey, finishing sixth in the regular-season standings. In the postseason, the Purple Eagles defeated American International two games to none in the first round of the playoffs. In the quarterfinals, Niagara traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face Air Force. After dropping game one by a 2-1 margin, the Purple Eagles won games two and three to upset the Falcons and advance to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals where they fell to Robert Morris in overtime by a 5-4 score.
This season, coach Dave Burkholder’s team is off to a 0-4-0 start and has been outscored by a 22-6 margin in the early going. The Purple Eagles’ losses have come at home to Clarkson (3-1), at home to St. Lawrence (10-2), at Robert Morris (5-2) and at home to the Colonials (4-1). After playing the Irish this weekend, Niagara returns home for a pair of Atlantic Hockey games against American International (Oct. 31-Nov.1).
With 11 new faces on the Notre Dame roster, the Irish are still trying to find that certain “chemistry’ among new teammates and new linemates. Versus Lake Superior State last weekend, two of Notre Dame’s lines looked like they are starting to get a good feel for each other.
On Friday night in the 5-3 win over Lake Superior State, the trio of juniors Thomas DiPauli and Steven Fogarty joined freshman Anders Bjork and clicked right away. DiPauli scored once and added three assists for four points while Fogarty scored twice with two assists and Bjork chipped in two helpers as the threesome combined for three goals and seven assists, good for 10 points in the victory.
On Saturday, the trip of junior Mario Lucia, sophomore Vince Hinostroza and senior Austin Wuthrich had a five-point night, scoring four goals with one assist. Three of the goals came courtesy of Lucia’s first career hat trick.
“That was the first one (hat trick) that I have had in a long time,” said Lucia following Saturday’s win.
“The last one I had was in tryouts for the World Juniors against Finland. That was my freshman year and it helped me make that team. This one felt good. It helped the team win and with the two wins it gives us something that we can build off of over the next couple of weeks.”
Lucia, who now has 33 career goals for the Irish in just over two full seasons, added, “I thought we were moving the puck better and our back pressure was good. I think we are getting some chemistry going between the lines. We are a young team and it’s going to take some time with all the new players.”
SHARING THE WORKLOAD
Through the first four games of the season, Irish goaltenders Chad Katunar and Cal Petersen have split the four starts right down the middle. Don’t expect to see that change in the near future.
“I thought both of our goaltenders played well last weekend,” says Jackson.
“I thought Cal (Petersen) was a little better on Saturday, but the team played better in front of him too. He made some big saves for us early in the game and then again later. Chad (Katunar) was good on Friday night as well, but the team didn’t play as well in front of him. I think we have two good goaltenders so I am going to play both of them for at least another weekend. Once we get to conference play next weekend we may look at something else, but for now I will continue using both of them.
Katunar, the veteran of the duo, is 1-1-0 in his two starts with a 3.04 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage. For his career, he has appeared in seven games, making five starts. He is 3-2-0 with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage.
Petersen won his first collegiate game on Oct. 18, a 5-1 win over Lake Superior State. In two starts this season, Petersen is 1-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
KEEPING UP WITH FORMER IRISH HOCKEY PLAYERS
As of October 23, there are 22 former Notre Dame hockey players playing professional hockey to start the 2014-15 season. Five of them are currently in the National Hockey League with Ian Cole in St. Louis with the Blues, Erik Condra with the Ottawa Senators and Riley Sheahan with the Detroit Red Wings. Kyle Palmieri is with the Anaheim Ducks but was injured in training camp and still not playing. The fifth player in the NHL is Anders Lee with the New York Islanders. He was called up on Oct. 22 from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League where he started the season. He had three goals and two assists for five points in five games.
Five former players are playing in the American Hockey League to date and that group is led by Stephen Johns with the Rockford IceHogs, the affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Bryan Rust is currently with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh’s AHL franchise with T.J. Tynan currently with the Springfield Falcons, the top farm team of the Columbus Bluejackets. Mark Van Guilder rounds out the AHL members as he returns to the Milwaukee Admirals, the top farm team of the Nashville Predators.
There are five former players playing in the East Coast Hockey League this season. Jeff Costello is with the Florida Everblades while Patrick Gaul is a member of the South Carolina Stingrays. Defenseman Kevin Lind is with the Utah Grizzlies while Shayne Taker is with the Cincinnati Cyclones. Steven Summerhays signed with the Alaska Aces but is out of the lineup and has not played this season due to a shoulder injury.
Seven other players are currently playing in Europe or Asia. Former Irish goaltender David Brown is playing in the British Elite Hockey League with the Hull Stingrays. Nick Larson is playing in Slovakia for HC Banska Bystrica and Dan Kissel is in his fourth season in Norway with the Stavenger Oilers. Evan Rankin has moved from the American Hockey League this season to play in the German Elite League with Cologne and Tim Wallace is in his second season in Sweden where he is a member of the Orebro Hockey Club. Calle Ridderwall also is in his native Sweden where he plays for HV71 Jonkoping. The final former Irish hockey player playing professionally overseas is Ryan Thang who has taken his game to South Korea where he plays for a team called Gangwon High 1 in the Asian Hockey League.
HOCKEY EAST HAPPENINGS
Through the first two weeks of the season, Hockey East has a 10-9 overall lead in the Big Ten/Hockey East challenge standings as Hockey East teams recorded a pair of road wins as New Hampshire defeated Michigan at Ann Arbor and Massachusetts downed Michigan State in East Lansing last weekend … several Hockey East players had career bests last weekend – UMass Lowell defenseman Jake Suter notched a career-high three helpers in a 6-3 win over Quinnipiac; Notre Dame’s Steven Fogarty (2g, 2a) and Thomas DiPauli (1g, 3a) had career-high four-point games in the 5-3 win over Lake Superior State … Freshmen and sophomores scored eleven of 12 points in Massachusetts’ 4-3 win against Michigan State, with three-point nights for a trio of players – Steven Iacobellis, Ray Pigozzi, and Patrick Lee … while Notre Dame has used eight freshman in its lineup this season, Maine has used seven freshmen to date while Connecticut has nine rookies on its roster … speaking of Connecticut, the Huskies played their first Hockey East conference game on Oct. 18, dropping a 2-1 decision at Merrimack … the Warriors are a perfect 11-for-11 on the penalty kill this year, just one of six teams to retain an unblemished penalty-kill percentage to start the season … UMass forward Steven Iacobellis was named the Hockey East/Warrior player of the week last week as he had a hand in all four Minutemen goals in a 4-3 come-from-behind win at Michigan State. He scored the game-tying goal late in the third period and then set up the winner with 9.9 seconds left in the contest for the win … New Hampshire freshman Andrew Poturalski is the Hockey East/Pro Ambitions rookie of the week after getting a goal and an assist in the Wildcats 5-1 win at Michigan on Oct. 17 … Boston College defenseman Teddy Doherty is the Hockey East defensive player of the week as he had three points and was plus-four in the Eagles’ 6-2 win at RIT … Boston College opens its home schedule on Friday versus Colorado College at Conte Forum … Boston University also opens its home schedule this weekend when the Terriers face Michigan State on Friday and Michigan on Saturday at Agganis Arena … Vermont plays host to Connecticut this weekend in Burlington, Vermont … the Catamounts have given up just three goals in their first three games and are 3-0-0 to start the season … Connecticut is coming off a 4-1 win on Tuesday night against 15th-ranked Quinnipiac as sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols kicked out 36 of 37 shots in the win … Maine will look for its first win this season at home as the Black Bears face the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves in a weekend series at Alfond Arena … New Hampshire opens its home schedule on Saturday night with a visit from Colorado College … the Wildcats are 15-5-1 all-time against the Tigers … two of the nation’s top five teams will get together this weekend in Grand Forks, North Dakota when No. 3 North Dakota faces No. 5 Providence College … this is the first trip for the Friars to Grand Forks since the 1987-88 season and the first meeting versus North Dakota since the 1988-89 season … UMass Lowell faces Michigan on Friday night at the Tsongas Center in a Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge game … after their first three games, the River Hawks are averaging 4.67 goals per game.