Junior defenseman Teddy Ruth returned to the Notre Dame lineup versus Northern Michigan after missing the first 10 games due to injury.

Irish Travel To Sixth-Ranked Michigan State To Face Red-Hot Spartans On Thursday night.

Nov. 19, 2009

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Games: #14/#14 Notre Dame (5-5-2/2-2-2-1) at #6/#6 Michigan State (9-2-1/6-1-1-0)

• Date/Site/Time: Thursday, November 19, 2009 • Munn Arena • 7:05 p.m. Sunday, November 22, 2009 • Allen Co. War Memorial Coliseum • 4:05 p.m.

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Cat Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pregame show 20 minutes before the opening faceoff. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish. Television: Thursday’s game will be televised live by Comcast Television in Michigan with Fred Pletsch and Lyle Phair calling the action and Rob Otto serving as intermission host.

NOTRE DAME MEETS RED-HOT MICHIGAN STATE: The Irish and the Spartans will face each other in the first of two home-and-home series this week. On Thur., Nov. 19, the two teams will meet in East Lansing, Mich., at Munn Arena in a 7:05 p.m. game. After a two-day break, the series resumes in Ft. Wayne, Ind., for a Notre Dame “home” game at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sun., Nov. 22 at 4:05 p.m. The teams will meet again on Jan. 15-16. The Irish come into the week with a 5-5-2 overall record and a 2-2-2-1 mark in the CCHA, good for nine points and a share of sixth place. Michigan State is 9-2-1 on the year and, after a sweep of Michigan last weekend, is 6-1-1-0 in the conference and moved into first place with 19 points in the league. Notre Dame is coming off a 3-2 loss to Northern Michigan followed by a 2-2 tie with the Irish getting the extra point in a 2-1 shoot-out win. Michigan State is 6-0-1 in its last seven games and has moved up to sixth in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com polls. The Irish have fallen to 14th in both polls after going 0-1-1 last weekend. Following the Michigan State series, Notre Dame will be home for Thanksgiving as the Irish play host to Bowling Green on Nov. 27-28.

IRISH VERSUS SPARTANS: Notre Dame and Michigan State have met 102 times in the all-time series with the Spartans holding a 59-34-9 advantage. The only team that the Irish have played more is Michigan (118 times). At Michigan State, the Spartans have a 35-14-2 lead in the series. On neutral ice, Michigan State is 3-1-0 versus the Irish. Notre Dame comes into this series having won three straight games versus the Spartans, dating back to the 2008 NCAA West Regional title game in Colorado Springs in March of 2008. Last season, the Irish won both games against Michigan State by 5-0 and 2-1 scores. Since Notre Dame returned to the CCHA in 1992-93, the Irish are just 8-32-8 versus the Spartans, including 3-20-1 at Munn Arena.

NORTHERN MICHIGAN RECAP: Saturday, Nov. 14 – Northern Michigan goaltender Brian Stewart stopped 36-of-38 Notre Dame shots as the Wildcats handed the Irish a 3-2 loss at the Joyce Center. Northern took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Jared Brown and Ray Kaunisto before Calle Ridderwall (Jr., Stockholm, Sweden) answered with his first of the game on a power-play deflection of a Kevin Deeth (Sr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) shot at 14:02 to make it 2-1 after the opening period. After a scoreless second period that saw the Irish pepper Stewart with 15 shots, the Wildcats made it 3-1 on a Matt Butcher power-play tally at 5:09. Ridderwall would get his second of the night, beating Stewart with a slap shot at 11:44 to make it 3-2 but that was as close as the Irish would get. Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.), making his third consecutive start made 15 saves in the game. Notre Dame was 1-for-5 on the power play while the Wildcats were 1-for-4.

Sunday, Nov. 15 – Junior right wing Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) scored two goals to erase a 2-0 Northern Michigan lead as the Irish and Wildcats battled to a 2-2 tie at the Joyce Center. Maday then teamed with Calle Ridderwall to score shoot-out goals to give the Irish an extra point with a 2-1 victory. Ray Kaunisto and Jared Brown scored for Northern Michigan. The Wildcats out shot Notre Dame by a 34-27 margin. Junior Brad Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.) made 32 saves in the game, including 14 in the third period in his first start since Oct. 31. Brian Stewart made 25 saves for Northern Michigan. The Irish were 1-for-5 on the power play while Northern was 0-for-6.

BACK IN ACTION: Junior defenseman Teddy Ruth (Naperville, Ill.) returned to the Notre Dame lineup versus Northern Michigan after missing the first 10 games of the season. He was injured on the first official day of practice in October. In the series versus the Wildcats, Ruth was even, had two shots on goal, four minutes in penalties, blocked two shots and set up Billy Maday’s game-tying goal at 2:36 of the third period on Sunday.

SLOW TIMES: Notre Dame’s current 0-2-1 streak is the worse three-game stretch for the Irish since Feb. 16-Feb. 29, 2008 when they were 0-2-2 over that four-game span.

SCORING DROUGHT: Through the first 12 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored a total of 27 goals on the year. Of the 27 goals, only 12 have come with the two teams skating at even strength. The Irish have 14 goals on the power play and one short-handed tally to go with the 12 even-strength goals. In the first 12 games of the season, Notre Dame has not scored more than three goals in a game. The Irish are averaging just 2.25 goals-per-game this season. Notre Dame’s offensive attack ranks 50th in the nation.

CLOSE ONES: With the 3-2 loss to Northern Michigan on November 14, Notre Dame is now 1-4 this season in one-goal games. During the 2008-09 campaign, the Irish were 11-2 in games decided by one goal.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Notre Dame will take its home show on the road on Sunday, Nov. 22 when the Irish play host to the Michigan State Spartans at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Ind. That game will have a 4:05 p.m. starting time. Tickets for that game are $14.00, $12.00 and $7.00 and are available at the Memorial Coliseum Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or at (800) 745-3000. The Notre Dame ticket office will have a limited quantity of tickets on sale for season ticket holders only. For information contact the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356.

KIDS CLINIC: Members of the Notre Dame hockey team, along with associate head coach Paul Pooley, a former Ft. Wayne Komet, will host a free youth hockey clinic on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, beginning at 12:00 noon. All participating kids will receive a voucher, good for a free ticket to Sunday’s game with Michigan State. The clinic is geared towards Pee Wee level kids, 12-and-under. All participants should provide their own equipment. Dressing rooms will be available at the Coliseum.

SWEEPLESS IN SOUTH BEND: On Nov. 16, for the third time this season, Notre Dame found itself in a position that it hasn’t been in very often over the last four seasons – looking at a possible opponent sweep. Since Jeff Jackson took over behind the Irish bench for the 2005-06 season, the Irish have lost back-to-back games on a weekend just eight times. Five of those series losses came during the 2005-06 season with two coming in 2007-08 and one last year (2008-09). The last time the Irish dropped a weekend series came on Oct. 24-25, 2008 when they lost twice to Miami at the Joyce Center.

ON THE DEFENSIVE: While the Irish may be struggling on offense, the defense has played well through the first 12 games, giving up just 23 goals for the year. The trio of goaltenders – junior Brad Phillips, freshman Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) and senior Tommy O’Brien (Mokena, Ill.) own a 1.92 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage to go with the 5-5-2 record. Defensively, Notre Dame is tied for sixth in the nation with a 1.92 goals-against per game.

GOAL-SCORING MACHINE: Junior left wing Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) leads Notre Dame with six goals this season with four of them coming on the power play. His four-game, goal-scoring streak that started on Oct. 16 versus Providence came to an end on Oct. 31 against Ohio State. During his streak, Ridderwall had four goals with one assist for five points. Over the last two seasons, he has scored 23 goals for Notre Dame with 15 of them coming via the power play.

POWER-PLAY NOTES: Notre Dame has now scored at least one power-play goal in 10 of its first 12 games this season. Versus Northern Michigan, the Irish were 1-for-5 in each game.The last game the Irish did not score on the power play was Nov. 7 in a 3-1 loss at Alaska. Prior to that, they had scored two power-play goals in three consecutive game and for the fourth time on the year. For the season, the Irish are 14-for-67 with the man advantage for a 20.9% success rate that ranks 16th in the nation.

THE BIG 5-0: Ryan Thang’s second-period power-play goal versus Alaska on Nov. 6 was the 50th of his Irish hockey career. The senior captain enters Thursday’s game with 50 goals and 46 assists for 96 career points.

BACK BETWEEN THE PIPES: Junior goaltender Brad Phillips has had a successful return to the Notre Dame lineup this season. The 6-2, 187-pound goaltender missed all of last season due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason that required surgery. Phillips, who made five starts in his freshman year (2007-08) and was 4-1-0 with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage to go with one shutout, has started six games this season and is 1-3-2 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage with one shutout.

HOME ICE STRUGGLES: With an 0-1-1 weekend versus Northern Michigan, Notre Dame is now 3-4-2 at home 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.

BACK-TO-BACK: Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson made three consecutive starts in goal for the Irish from Nov. 6 through Nov. 14 for the first time in his career. On Friday, Nov. 6, Johnson made a career-high 35 saves in the 3-2 win over the Nanooks. Included were 16 saves in the third period as the Irish were out shot, 16-3, in the final stanza. On Saturday, Nov. 7, Johnson gave up two goals on 23 shots in a 3-1 loss to Alaska. On Nov. 14, he made 15 saves in a 3-2 loss to Northern Michigan. In the three-game span he was 1-2-0 with a 2.34 goals against and a .910 save percentage. For the year, he is 3-2-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

MADAY TO THE RESCUE: Trailing 2-0 to Northern Michigan on Nov. 15, the Irish turned to sophomore Billy Maday to jump start the offense. His power-play goal at 8:42 of the second period cut the lead to 2-1 and his four-on-four tally at 2:36 of the third tied the game at 2-2. In the shoot out, Maday scored Notre Dame’s first goal of the shoot out (he’s scored on four of five shoot out attempts in two seasons) as the Irish picked up the extra point with a 2-1 win. The two-goal game was the second of Maday’s career. He is tied for second on the team with four goals and five assists for nine points.

BEST OF THE BEST: Over the past three-plus seasons, the Notre Dame hockey program is tops in the nation. Since the start of the 2006-07 campaign, the Irish have won 95 games and own a .716 winning percentage over that period. Notre Dame leads Michigan (92) in wins and winning percentage (.700). Here are the top five teams by wins and winning percentage since 2006-07.

WINS                      WINNING .PCTNotre Dame  95            Notre Dame (.716)Michigan  92              Michigan (.700)Miami  88                 Miami (.690)North Dakota 83           North Dakota (.647)Boston University 77      Boston Univ. (.643)

SHOOT OUT STUFF: With the 2-1 shoot-out win against Northern Michigan, the Irish are now 1-1-0 this year in the shoot out. Billy Maday is 2-for-2 shooting, Calle Ridderwall is 1-for-2 and Ben Ryan (Jr., Brighton, Mich.) is 0-for-1. Brad Phillips has played both games in goal had has stopped three-of-six shots for a 50% save percentage.

DEETH TOPS 100: Senior center Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) became the 44th player in the 42-year history of the Notre Dame hockey program to reach 100 points for his career on Oct. 23. His assist on Calle Ridderwall’s first-period goal gave Deeth 32 goals and 68 assists for his 100th career point. He reached that mark in 133 games. Deeth now has 103 career points to move into 40th on the all-time points list. Right behind him is senior teammate Ryan Thang who has now played in 132 career games, scoring 50 goals with 46 assists for 96 points. He needs just four assists to join the 50/50 club for players with 50 goals and 50 assists in a career.

STEALING THE SHOW: Junior goaltender Brad Phillips made a career-high 34 saves as he handed the Boston University Terriers a 3-0 loss at Agganis Arena. Phillips got all the offensive support he needed in the second period when Billy Maday (So., Burr Ridge, Ill.) and Ben Ryan scored 12 seconds apart to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. Calle Ridderwall added a power-play goal in the third period for the 3-0 final score. Maday, Ryan and Ridderwall each had a goal and an assist in the game. Phillips made 27 of his 34 saves in the first and third periods, including 17 in the final stanza. Notre Dame was 8-for-8 killing penalties on the night and 1-for-6 on the power play. BU out shot the Irish, 34-16, in the game. The win was the first-ever for the Friars against Boston University (1-2-0 all-time).