Freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri brings a six-game point streak (1g, 5a) into the series versus Western Michigan this weekend.

Irish Travel To Western Michigan To Start CCHA Stretch Run

Feb. 3, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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– The Games: Notre Dame (12-11-7/8-8-6-2) at Western Michigan (6-15-5/2-14-4-1)

– Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., February 5-6, 2010 – Lawson Arena (3,667) – 7:35 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 Western Michigan series will have live audio available free of charge at the Notre Dame website – Live statistics will be available at the CCHA website (

IRISH TAKE THE HIGHWAY TO START FEBRUARY: The Notre Dame hockey team moves into the final stretch run for the 2009-10 season this weekend when the Irish travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., to face Western Michigan. Game time on Fri.-Sat., Feb 5-6 at Lawson Arena is set for 7:35 p.m. both nights. Notre Dame enters the weekend with a 12-11-7 overall record and is 8-8-6-2 in the CCHA, good for 32 points and a share of fourth place with Lake Superior State. The Irish trail third-place Ferris State (39) by seven points and are just one ahead of sixth-place Michigan and Alaska (31) and two ahead of eighth-place Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha (30) as just two points separate fourth and ninth place. Western Michigan comes into the series with a 6-15-5 overall record and a 2-14-4-1 mark in the conference. The Broncos enter the weekend last in the CCHA with 11 points and are five behind 11th-place Bowling Green (16). The Irish have played 22 games in the league while Ferris State, Lake Superior, Michigan and Ohio State each have two games in hand with 20 games played to date. Notre Dame plays five of its last six games on the road to close the regular season.

IRISH VERSUS BRONCOS: Notre Dame and Western Michigan have met 70 times in the all-time series with the Broncos holding a 35-29-6 edge. At Lawson Arena, Western Michigan is 22-10-4 against the Irish. Notre Dame is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings and was 1-0-1 last season in two games at the Joyce Center. The Irish also won the shootout, 2-1, in the tie game. The last time the Irish won at Lawson Arena was Nov. 17, 2007, a 5-1 win. The last Bronco win at Lawson came on Feb. 29, 2008, a 3-0 victory in the last meeting between the two schools in Kalamazoo, Mich.

HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Senior center Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash) is one of 18 college hockey players (men and women) to be nominated for the College Hockey Humanitarian Award that goes each year to college hockey’s top citizen. Deeth, an alternate captain, with the Irish, oversees the team’s community service efforts and spearheaded last weekend’s “Giving The Shirts Off Their Back,” jersey auction that benefited the Wounded Warriors Project. The award will be presented at the Frozen Four in Detroit in April.

SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS: The Notre Dame hockey team’s key team’s special commemorative jersey auction last weekend (Jan. 29-30) proved to be a huge success as it raised a total of $41,604.60 to benefit Hockey Helpers and the Wounded Warrior Project. The actual jersey auction raised $16,604.60 for the 28 players’ jerseys. With the help of matching gifts from several benefactors, including a former Irish hockey alum, $25,000 dollars was added to the jerseys for the final total. Senior alternate captain Kevin Deeth’s jersey received the highest bid as his jersey went for $1,575. Following the Jan. 30 game with Nebraska-Omaha, jersey winners in attendance at the game were presented the jerseys on the ice along with a players autograph. The Wounded Warrior Project is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization that exists to provide tangible comfort and support to the new generation of severely injured service members upon their return home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas around the world. Beginning at the bedside of the severely injured, Wounded Warrior Project provides programs and services designed to ease the burdens of these heroes and their families, aid in the recovery process, and smooth the transition back to civilian life.

NEBRASKA-OMAHA RECAP: Friday, Jan. 29 – Nebraska-Omaha snapped a 2-1 Notre Dame lead in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals on the way to a 5-3 win over the Irish on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 3,007 at the Joyce Center. Senior captain Jeric Agosto led the Mavericks offensively with two goals and an assist for a three-point game. Matt Ambroz, Dan Swanson and John Kemp had single goals. The Irish scored all three goals on the power play with Ben Ryan (Jr., Brighton, Mich.), Kyle Palmieri (Fr., Montvale, N.J.) and Brett Blatchford (Sr., Temperance, Mich.) all lighting the lamp on eight tries with the man advantage. The two teams each had 34 shots in the game with Mike Johnson (Fr., Verona, Mich.) making 29 saves and UNO’s Jeremie Dupont stopping 31 in the win. The Mavericks were 1-for-4 on the power play.

Saturday, Jan. 30 – Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period and then held off a late Nebraska-Omaha rally to take a 3-2 win at a sold-out Joyce Center. First period goals by Calle Ridderwall (Jr., Stockholm, Sweden) and Nick Larson (Fr., Apple Valley, Minn.) gave the Irish a 2-0 lead and Sean Lorenz (So., Littleton, Colo.) notched the eventual game winner at 8:25 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. Junior Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.) recorded assists on the goals by Larson and Guentzel for his second career two-point game. From there, it was up to Mike Johnson to hold off the Mavericks as he made 25 of his 32 saves over the final two periods. UNO got goals from Terry Broadhurst at 14:11 and Rich Purslow at 19:34 (sixth attacker) for the final of 3-2. Notre Dame was out shot in the game, 34-26 with John Faulkner making 23 saves for the Mavericks. The Irish were 1-for-5 on the power play while Nebraska-Omaha was 0-for-5.

MR. CLUTCH: Sean Lorenz’ goal at 8:25 of the second period versus Nebraska-Omaha proved to be the game winner against the Mavericks. The goal was the second of the year for Lorenz and also his second game-winning goal of the season. On Jan. 2 versus Colgate in the Shillelagh Tournament, Lorenz scored his first collegiate goal and it was the game winner in a 5-2 win over the Raiders. Lorenz has two goals and an assist for three points in 26 games this season.

POWER PLAYS: Notre Dame was 3-for-8 on the power play in Friday’s game versus Nebraska-Omaha and then went 1-for-5 on Saturday. Friday’s output marked the fourth time this season that the Irish have had three power-play goals in a game. On the year, the Irish are 36-for-175 for a 20.6% success rate to rank 16th nationally in that department and second in the CCHA.

LOST FOR THE SEASON: Just when you thought that Notre Dame’s injury situation couldn’t get any worse, it did. Junior center Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) has been lost for the season due to a shoulder injury. He was tied for third on the team in scoring this season with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points.

CALL A DOCTOR: The Irish go into this weekend with Western Michigan having missed 64-man games this season due to injuries. The Notre Dame list looks like this:

Teddy Ruth (15 games)Sam Calabrese (13 games)Eric Ringel (12 games)Billy Maday (6 games)Sean Lorenz (5 games)Ian Cole (6 games)Christiaan Minella (5 games)Riley Sheahan (1 game)Ryan Thang (1 game)

Calabrese (broken ankle), Ringel (concussion), Ruth (concussion), Maday (shoulder/concussion), Minella (knee) and Cole (concussion) all missed the series versus Nebraska-Omaha. Calabrese has resumed skating.

SLAGGERT HONORED: Irish associate coach Andy Slaggert has been honored by the American Hockey Coaches’ Association (AHCA) as he was named the winner of the Terry Flanagan Award. The award is named in honor of former New Hampshire player and Bowling Green assistant, Terry Flanagan, and honors an assistant coach for his body of work during his coaching career. Slaggert is in his 17th season as an assistant coach at Notre Dame and is recognized as one of the top recruiters in the nation.

PRACTICE ON THE POND: Notre Dame will hold its annual “Practice on the Pond,” at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind., on Friday, Feb. 12 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The practice is free and open to the public. There will be free hot chocolate and the players will be available for autographs after the practice. Cat Country 99.9 FM will do a live remote from the event.

THE KID IS ALRIGHT: Freshman goaltender Mike Johnson has gotten his collegiate career off to a fast start through the first 30 games of the season. This season, Johnson has appeared in 21 games for Notre Dame, making 19 starts. He is 9-7-4 overall with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Two weeks ago, he stopped 71-of-73 shots by Lake Superior while giving up just two goals in a win and a tie to earn CCHA goaltender of the week honors. He owns a pair of shutouts with the first coming on Oct. 16, versus Providence College, and the second on Dec. 13 against Michigan. He is currently fourth in the CCHA and ninth in the nation in goals-against average and second in the league and sixth nationally with his .927 save percentage. In his 19 starts, Johnson has given up 42 goals while the Irish have scored 45.

SCORING WOES: Through the first 30 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored a total of 75 goals. The Irish have scored goals via the power play in 24 of their 30 games and have 36 power-play goals on the year. They also have a pair of short-handed goals to give them 38 special team goals and 37 even-strength markers. For the season, the Irish are averaging 2.50 goals per game to rank tie for 47th in the nation.

JANUARY THAW: After struggling the first three months of the season, Notre Dame saw its offense come to life in Janury. In the 10 games played during the month, the Irish scored 34 goals for a 3.4 goals-per-game mark. Prior to that, the team had scored 41 over the first 20 games for a 2.05 goals-per-game mark. For the year, Notre Dame is averaging 2.50 goals-per-game, getting 75 goals in 30 games.

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 30 games. In those games, Notre Dame’s defense has held opponents to two goals or less in 17 of them and has given up three or less in 22 of the 30 contests. For the year, the Irish have given up just 68 goals for a 2.27 goals per game to rank sixth in the nation in team defense.

PENALTY KILLERS: The Irish surrendered one power-play goal in nine chances to Nebraska-Omaha in last weekend’s series. Notre Dame has given up just two power-play goals in the last seven games (28-of-30, .933). On the season, Notre Dame leads the CCHA and the nation with a 90.0% penalty-killing rating as they have killed 126-of-140 opponent chances.

PLAYING GAMES: Senior Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) comes into the series with Western Michigan having played in 157 career games and is currently fifth on the Irish all-time games played list. Senior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) moved into the top 10 last weekend, having played in 153 career games. Ryan Thang (Sr., Edina, Minn.) and Brett Blatchford (Sr., Temperance, Mich.) – have their sights set on the top 10 as they own 151 and 145 games played respectively. The top 10:

Games PlayedName (Seasons)                       Games1.  Mark Van Guilder (2004-08)        1632.  Brock Sheahan (2004-08)           1613.  Erik Condra (2005-09)             159    Dan Carlson (1997-01)             1585.  Kevin Deeth (2006- )              1576.  Evan Nielsen (1999-03)            1567.  Garrett Regan (2005- )            154    Wes O'Neill (2003-07)             154    Jason Paige (2003-07)             15410. Kyle Lawson (2006- )              153    Tim Wallace (2002-06)             153    Aaron Gill (2000-04)              153--  Ryan Thang (2006- )               151--  Brett Blatchford (2006- )         145

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: Notre Dame’s six goals on Jan. 22 and the five-goal second period were season highs for the Irish. Previously, Notre Dame had scored five goals twice on the year (Jan. 2 vs. Colgate and Jan. 15 vs. Michigan State). The last time the Irish scored six goals or more goals in a game was Feb. 13, 2009 when they had nine versus Northern Michigan. The last time Notre Dame had five or more goals in a period was Nov. 22, 2008 when the Irish had six goals in the third period versus Bowling Green.

HAT TRICK HAPPINESS: Junior left wing Calle Ridderwall recorded his second hat trick of the season in the 6-1 win over Lake Superior on Jan. 22. The three-goal night proved to be a natural hat trick for Ridderwall as he scored three times in a 6:47 span of the middle period. Notre Dame’s leading scorer through 30 games (17-6-23), Ridderwall had his first hat trick on Nov. 28 versus Bowling Green. He becomes the first Irish player to get two hat tricks in a season since Tim Kuehl `90 accomplished the feat during the 1987-88 season. Ridderwall is tied for second in the CCHA with his 17 goals, while his 10 power-play goals leads the conference.

DEFENSIVE SCORING: Over Notre Dame’s last seven games, the Irish have scored 24 goals (3.43 per game) while giving up 19 (2.71 gpg). In those seven games, Irish defensemen have been active in the scoring, getting three goals and 20 assists for 23 points. Kyle Lawson leads the way with a goal and eight assists for nine points. Brett Blatchford follows with a goal and six assists for seven points. Ian Cole (Jr., Ann Arbor, Mich.) had a goal and two assists for three points before being injured on Jan. 22. Joe Lavin (Jr., Shrewsbury, Mass.) has four assists in that seven-game span while Sean Lorenz has a goal and no assists.

OVERTIME MARKS: Three of Notre Dame’s eight games in January went into overtime and were decided by a shootout. For the season, the Irish are 1-0-7 in overtime games. In the seven shootouts to date, Notre Dame is 3-4. 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 3-0-10 in overtime since its last overtime loss, a 2-1 decision to Miami on March 21, 2008, in the CCHA semifinal game.

STREAKING IRISH: Freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Junior National Team in January. He returned to the Notre Dame lineup on Jan. 15 versus Michigan State and has scored in every game since them. During his six-game point streak, Palmieri has one goal and five assists for six points. His six-game streak is a career high and is the second longest point streak for the Irish this season.

50/50 CLUB: With a goal and two assists in the 6-1 win over Lake Superior State, senior captain Ryan Thang became the 30th player in Notre Dame history to score 50 goals with 50 assists in his career. Thang now has 56 goals and 51 assists for 107 career points. The last player to reach that mark was Rob Globke `04 who did it in 2003-04 and finished his career with 68 goals and 56 assists. Earlier in January, 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.

HOME ICE STRUGGLES: With the weekend split with Nebraska-Omaha (Jan. 29-30), Notre Dame saw its home record remain at 7-7-3 for the first 17 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.

FIRST TIMERS: Two members of the Notre Dame lineup recorded “firsts” in their careers in the 6-1 win over Lake Superior State. Center Patrick Gaul (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored his first career goal at 6:34 of the second period to give the Irish a 3-1 lead. The goal came in his 35th career game. Freshman right wing Kevin Nugent (New Canaan, Conn.) picked up his first career assist on Gaul’s goal. His point came in the 11th game of his career.

A NICK OF TIME: Notre Dame freshman left wing Nick Larson has proven to be a clutch scorer for the Irish in his rookie year. Among his six goals this season are a pair of game winners and one game-tying goal. His most recent “clutch” goal came on Jan. 23 when he scored the lone goal for the Irish in the 1-1 tie at Lake Superior State. Larson’s third-period goal came just 23 seconds after the Lakers had taken the lead. His top game of the season came on Jan. 15 against Michigan State when he collected three points (2g, 1a) in the 5-2 win over the Spartans. His four-point weekend (2g, 2a) against Michigan State earned him CCHA rookie of the week honors on Jan.18. On the year, he now has six goals and three assists for nine points with two game-winning goals.

BACK BETWEEN THE PIPES: Junior goaltender Brad Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 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.

WINNING THE GOLD: Notre Dame freshman right wing Kyle Palmieri 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.

BEST OFâ⒬ˆTHEâ⒬ˆBEST: Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Notre Dame hockey program has been among the tops in the nation in wins and winning percentage along with Michigan and Miami. Michigan is one win (103) ahead of the Irish (102) with Miami third with 98 wins. Notre Dame is tops in winning percentage at .695, followed by the Wolverines (.6928) and Miami (.6928). Here are the top five teams by wins and winning percentage since 2006-07.

              WINS       WINNINGââ'¬Ë†.PCTMichigan           103    Notre Dame (.695)Notre Dame         102       Michigan (.6928)Miami               98       Miami (.6928)North Dakota        89       New Hampshire (.650)Boston College      86       Boston College (.639)

TOUGH TICKET: With a back-to-back sell out crowds of 3,007 and 2,857 versus Nebraska-Omaha, Notre Dame now has recorded 13 sellouts in its first 17 home games this season. The Irish have recorded sellouts in 22 of their last 26 home games, dating back to Dec. 13, 2008 versus Bowling Green. In 17 home games this season, Notre Dame is averaging 2,755 per game. A sellout is 2,713.

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 10 assists for 15 points in 27 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.