Junior defenseman Wes O'Neill takes a three-game point streak (1-5-6) into the weekend series with Lake Superior State.

Jeff Jackson Era Begins At Notre Dame With Road Weekend At No. 4/4 Colorado College And No. 9/9 University of Denver

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Oct. 19, 2005

Notre Dame, Ind. –

• The Series:Notre Dame (5-27-6/3-20-5 in `04-'05) at #4/#4 Colorado College (3-1-0)Notre Dame (5-27-6/3-20-5 in `04-'05)  at #9/#9 Denver (0-2-0)• Date/Site/Times:Fri., Oct. 21, 2005 - 7:37 p.m. -World Arena (7,343) - Colo. Springs, Colo.Sat., Oct, 22, 2005 - 7:07 p.m. - Magness Arena (6,200) - Denver, Colo.• Broadcast Information:Radio:  Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1580,South Bend's SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, "the voice of Irish hockey"and Chris Duve will bring you all the action both nights.• Internet Broadcast: At the Notre Dame website - www.und.com.• Television:  Friday's game will be televised live by ESPNU beginning at7:37 p.m. (MDT) with  Jeff Thomas and Jim Paradishandling the play-by-play and color commentary.

SEASON 38 BEGINS: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish open their 38th season of Division I college hockey this weekend when they travel to Colorado to face two of the nation’s top teams. On Friday, Oct. 21, the Irish square off against No. 4/4 Colorado College at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. Game time is set for 7:37 p.m. (MDT), 8:37 p.m. in South Bend. The game will be televised live as the first game of ESPNU’s college hockey package for the 2005-06 season. The following night, Oct. 21, the Irish travel north to Denver, Colo., to face the No. 9/9-ranked University of Denver Pioneers at Magness Arena. Game time is 7:07 p.m. (MDT), 8:07 p.m. in South Bend. Notre Dame is coming off its worst season ever as the Irish were 5-27-6 on the year in 2004-05 and finished 12th in the CCHA with a 3-20-5 record in league play. Colorado College (3-1-0) defeated Union and Maine in their opening weekend and then split a series at home last week with Ohio State, dropping a 4-2 decision on Friday and then winning, 1-0, versus the Buckeyes on Saturday. The University of Denver (0-2-0), the winners of each of the last two NCAA championships, dropped a pair of games at the University of Maine by 5-1 and 4-2 scores. Notre Dame is coming off a 4-0 exhibition win over the University of Waterloo on Oct. 15.

IRISH VERSUS TIGERS: Notre Dame becomes the final CCHA team to open the 2005-06 season when the Irish face Colorado College in their season opener. The Tigers, an NCAA semifinalist a year ago, and Irish are old foes, having met on a regular basis for 10 seasons (1971-81) as members of the WCHA. Friday’s game will be the 44th meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame holding a 25-17-1 record versus the Tigers. In Colorado Springs, the Irish have a 12-7-1 edge in the first 20 meetings. The two teams last met on Jan. 1, 2000 in the Norwest Cup Tournament in Denver with Colorado College taking a 5-2 win. CC has won the last three meetings and four of the last five games between the two schools. The last time the Irish played in Colorado Springs was Oct. 24-25, 1980, with the series ending in a split. The Irish lost the first game, 5-4, and then won the second by a 6-2 margin.

IRISH VERSUS PIONEERS: On Saturday (10/22), the Irish move on to Denver to face the University of Denver Pioneers. Just like Colorado College, Denver and Notre Dame battled in the past as members of the WCHA (1971-81), although the Irish did not fare as well against the Pioneers. Saturday’s game is the 45th meeting between the two schools with Denver holding a 32-9-3 edge in the first 44 contests. At the University of Denver, the Pioneers are 20-2-2 against Notre Dame. The last time the Irish played Denver was on Dec. 31, 1999 when the two teams met in the Norwest Cup Tournament. The game resulted in a 3-3 tie with Denver winning a shootout to advance to the tourney final. The two teams have met just twice since Notre Dame left the WCHA. The last time the Irish won in Denver was on Feb. 7, 1976, a 4-2 victory. The last time the Irish played a series in Denver was Feb. 23-25, 1979 with the Pioneers winning both games.

BACK BEHIND THE BENCH: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson returns to collegiate coaching this season for the first time since leaving Lake Superior State following the 1995-96 season. In six years with the Lakers, Jackson compiled a 182-52-25 career record with two national championships, two CCHA regular-season titles and four CCHA tournament championships. The veteran coach is the NCAA’s winningest active coach with at least five years experience with a .751 winning percentage. His 182 career wins (in just six seasons) ranks him 26th among active coaches. Included in his 182 wins are 36 postseason victories and a .837 winning percentage (36-7 in postseason). In CCHA postseason action, Jackson’s teams were 24-2 (.923) with the two losses coming to Michigan in CCHA Championship games (`94 and `96).

LATE START: Notre Dame’s Oct. 21 opener at Colorado College is the latest the Irish have started a season since the 1991-92 campaign. That year, the Irish opened with a pair of games on Oct. 25-26 at Air Force where they split, losing 8-3 and winning, 5-3.

FOR OPENERS: All-time, the Irish are 19-16-2 in season openers and 14-20-3 in road openers. Notre Dame has opened the season three times at Colorado College (1977-78, 1978-79 and 1980-81), going 1-2 in opening games versus the Tigers in Colorado Springs. The Irish won in 1978-70, 5-4, on Oct. 27.

OH, SO LONG AGO: For Notre Dame fans, its been a long time since the Irish last won a game – period. Notre Dame enters the season in the midst of a 19-game winless streak (0-17-2), the longest in the program’s history. Notre Dame’s last win came on Jan. 2, 2005, a 2-1 win at home over the Rensselaer Engineers at the Joyce Center.

IRISH PRESEASON ACTION: Notre Dame played its lone game of the preseason on Friday, Oct. 14 at home versus the University of Waterloo Warriors. The Irish scored twice in the first period, getting goals from Wes O’Neill (Jr., Essex, Ont.) and Josh Sciba (Jr., Westland, Mich.) to build a 2-0 lead. In the second period, Jason Paige (Jr., Saginaw, Mich.) and Mark Van Guilder (So., Roseville, Minn.) scored two more goals for the 4-0 final score. Victor Oreskovich (So., Oakville, Ont.) and Tim Wallace (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska) had a pair of assists to led Notre Dame’s attack. On the night, Notre Dame outshot Waterloo by a 44-13 margin. Junior goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) played the first 40 minutes, making 10 saves. Freshman goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) made three saves in the third period.

IRISH CAPTAINS: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson named his captain and alternates for the 2005-06 season on Oct. 5. Junior T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) was selected as the team’s captain, making him the first junior captain since Evan Neilsen `03. Jindra is the 13th junior in the program’s history to be selected captain. He will be assisted by seniors Mike Walsh (Northville, Mich.) and Chris Trick (Troy, Mich.) along with junior Jason Paige. Walsh and Paige are in their second seasons as alternate captains for the Irish.

IRON MAN: Junior right wing Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) has played in all 117 games during his first three seasons at Notre Dame. He became Notre Dame’s all-time “Iron Man,” passing former defenseman Evan Nielsen (`03) who held the record with 114 games between 2000-03. Nielsen missed just two games in his career, playing in 156 of a possible 158 games.

BROWN FILE: Junior goaltender David Brown returns for his third season in the Irish goal. He enters the year with a career record of 16-17-4 in 41 games (37 starts) and has a 3.01 goals-against average with a .905 save percentage. In 2004-05, Brown was 2-10-1 overall with a 4.30 goals against and a .870 save percentage. Brown came on the scene as a freshman when he got a chance to start early due to an injury to then junior Morgan Cey `05. The Stoney Creek, Ont., native turned in shutouts in three of his first four starts and finished the year with a 14-7-3 record with a 2.32 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and four shutouts. He owns single-season Notre Dame records for goals-against average (2.32), save percentage (.925), shutouts (4) and shutout streaks (193:27). Career-wise, Brown is third in goals-against average (3.01), second in save percentage (.905) and second in shutout (4).

GOAL-SCORING WOES: Notre Dame will look to find an answer to its goal-scoring struggles from 2004-05 this season. In 38 games, the Irish scored just 60 goals (1.58 per game). Notre Dame was shutout five times on the year and scored two or less goals in 29 of 38 games on the year. The Irish scored a season-high four goals, just once, on Nov. 5, 2004 in a come-from-behind 4-4 tie with Bowling Green. The fewest goals the Irish had ever scored in a season prior to `04-’05 was 92 during the 1996-97 season. The Irish scored just 23 power-play goals, scoring at a 9.8% success rate.

MOVING ON: Over the last two seasons, Notre Dame has seen six of its players sign contracts with National Hockey League teams. Only Michigan with seven and Minnesota with six have as many or more NHL signees. This past summer, goaltender Morgan Cey (Wilkie, Sask.) and former Irish forward Yan Stastny (St. Louis, Mo.) signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Edmonton Oilers respectively. They joined 2003-04 signees – Neil Komadoski (Ottawa Senators), Brett Lebda (Detroit Red Wings), Aaron Gill (San Jose Sharks) and Rob Globke (Florida Panthers). Komadoski, Globke and Stastny were selected in the NHL Draft (Stastny was a Boston Bruin pick) while Cey, Gill and Lebda were free-agent signees. Stastny played at Notre Dame from 2001-03 before going to Germany to play professional hockey. He would have been a senior in 2004-05.

ALL TIED UP: The Fighting Irish have been involved in 49 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 season. In those games, they are 7-6-36. During the 2004-05 season, Notre Dame played in nine overtime contests, going 1-2-6 in those games. The lone overtime win came on Dec. 10 versus Michigan State and was the first regular-season overtime win since Jan. 25, 2002, snapping a 16-game winless (0-2-14) skid in regular-season overtime games. Notre Dame’s season ended in an overtime loss as the Irish fell 1-0 in overtime to Michigan in game two of the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

BEATING THE BEST: In each of the last two seasons, the Irish have faced a No. 1 ranked team and each year they’ve come away with a victory. In 2004-05, Notre Dame knocked off the No. 1 ranked Boston College Eagles in South Bend by a 3-2 score. The previous year, the Irish traveled to Chestnut Hill, Mass., and knocked off the top-ranked Eagles, 1-0, with current junior goaltender David Brown turning in the shutout. Here’s the list of Irish wins versus top-ranked teams in the 38-year history of the program.

10/22/04 – vs. Boston College, 3-2 10/23/03 – at Boston College, 1-0 1/3/99 – at North Dakota, 4-3 11/20/78 – at Minnesota, 3-2 1/13/78 – vs. Denver, 5-3 1/18/74 – vs. Michigan Tech, 7-1 2/24/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 4-3 2/23/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 8-5

DROP THE PUCK: Notre Dame officially open the 2004-05 season on Tues., Sept. 6 when the Irish hosted their first-ever “Drop The Puck Dinner” at the Joyce Center featuring guest speaker Scotty Bowman. Over 400 fans attended and had the chance skate on the Joyce Center ice, meet and greet the `05-’06 team and then hear the legendary hockey coach talk hockey with the players, coaches and fans in attendance. Bowman, who won nine Stanley Cups in his illustrious coaching career, was also invited by Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis to address his team at practice on Sept. 6, just four days prior to football’s upset win at Michigan.

PRESEASON CCHA POLLS: The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) announced the results of it’s coaches and media preseason polls at Media Day in Detroit on Sept. 27. In the annual polls, Notre Dame was picked to finish ninth by both the coaches and the media.

CCHA Coaches Poll (1st-place votes)  Points1.  Ohio State (11)                   1212.  Michigan (1)                      1083.  Northern Michigan                  964.  Michigan State                     935.  Nebraska-Omaha                     786.  Miami                              697.  Alaska Fairbanks                   658.  Bowling Green                      509.  Notre Dame                         3610. Ferris State                       2811. Lake Superior State                2312. Western Michigan                   22
CCHA Media Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Ohio State (45) 6222. Michigan (7) 5813. Northern Michigan (1) 4944. Michigan State (1) 4325. Nebraska-Omaha 3806. Alaska Fairbanks 3727. Miami 3688. Bowling Green 3009. Notre Dame 19610. Western Michigan 17911. Lake Superior State 15912. Ferris State 112

FAMILY MATTERS: Two incoming freshmen – forwards Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) and Garrett Regan (Hastings, Minn.) – join seniors Rory Walsh (Milton, Mass.) and Mike Walsh as Irish hockey players with family ties to Notre Dame athletics. Condra’s uncle is All-American forward Kirt Bjork (`83) who played at Notre Dame from 1979-83. He scored 76 goals with 85 assists for 161 career points in 141 career games. He took All-American honors in 1983 when he had 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points. Regan’s uncle – Sean Regan – was a defenseman for the Irish from1981-83 before finishing his career at the University of Minnesota. In two seasons, Regan had eight goals and 34 assists for 42 points in 60 games. Rory Walsh’s father, Brian (`77), was an all-American hockey player for the Irish. A center iceman, the elder Walsh is Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer after recording 234 career points on 89 goals and 145 assists. Mike Walsh’s father, Max (`74), was an offensive lineman on the Notre Dame football team and a member of the 1973 national championship team. Rory Walsh is one of Notre Dame’s goaltenders and Walsh plays left wing for the Irish.

FROZEN TUNDRA: Notre Dame has had a steady flow of players in recent years that played their junior hockey with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United State’s Hockey League. Four members of the current Notre Dame team have played in the Land of Lombardi. The trio is led by junior defensmen Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.). The defensive duo were teammates there during the `02-’03 season. Two former Gamblers are members of the Irish sophomore class – center Victor Oreskovich (Oakville, Ont.) and defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill). Oreskovich played one season in Green Bay (`03-’04) while VeNard was a Gambler from 2001-04.

HOMETOWNS: The 2005-06 Notre Dame hockey team features players from eight states and three Canadian provinces – Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Over the past 10 years, Notre Dame hockey letter winners have hailed from 20 different states and provinces – those listed below, plus: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.


Michigan (8): Chris Trick, Mike Walsh, Jason Paige, Josh Sciba, Andrew Eggert, Evan Rankin, Erik Condra, Justin White Minnesota (5): Tony Gill, T.J. Jindra, Tom Sawatske, Mark Van Guilder, Garrett Regan Illinois (3): Michael Bartlett, Brian D’Arcy, Dan VeNard Ontario (4): David Brown, Wes O’Neill, Victor Oreskovich, Jamie Silverson Alaska (2): Tim Wallace, Jordan Pearce Alberta (2): Matt Williams-Kovacs, Brock Sheahan British Columbia (1): Matt Amado Florida (1): Noah Babin Massachusetts (1): Rory Walsh Pennsylvania (1): Christian Hanson Wisconsin (1): Luke Lucyk

THE IRISH AND THE U.S. NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAM: Notre Dame’s current roster includes six players who have past experience with USA Hockey, as members of the National Team Development Program (NTDP). Since the program began, the Irish have had a total of 15 NTDP alums grace their roster. The current contingent includes senior Tim Wallace and juniors Noah Babin, Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.), Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.) and Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.). The lone freshman is goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska). A 16th alum will join the Irish in 2006-07 as defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) signed a letter-of-intent in November, 2004 and is playing this year in the USHL with the Tri-City Storm. Other former NTDP players who played at Notre Dame and their years in the national program include: Brett Henning (1997-98), Michael Chin (1997-98), Connor Dunlop (1997-99), Paul Harris (1997-99), John Wroblewski (1997-99), Neil Komadoski (1998-2000), Brett Lebda (1998-2000), Rob Globke (1998-2000) and Derek Smith (2000-01).

NHL DRAFTEES: This past August, the Irish had one player selected in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. That player – Kyle Lawson – was a seventh round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, 198th overall. Lawson signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame during the early-signing period in Nov. of 2004. He then deferred until the start of the 2006-07 school year. Lawson will play this season in the United States Hockey League with the Tri-City Storm. The Irish have four players on this year’s roster – senior Mike Walsh (New York Rangers), juniors Wes O’Neill (New York Islanders) and David Brown (Pittsburgh Penguins) and sophomore Victor Oreskovich (Colorado Avalanche) – who have been drafted by NHL teams.

PUTTING ON THE FOIL: Notre Dame freshman Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) becomes the sixth player to play for the Irish whose father played in the National Hockey League. His father, Dave Hanson, played 10 years of professional hockey between 1974-75 and 1983-84, including stints with the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota North Stars and the World Hockey Association’s (WHA) Minnesota Fighting Saints and the New England Whalers. Fans might also be familiar with Dave Hanson, as one of the famed Hanson Brothers, made famous in the hockey movie – Slapshot. Hanson currently is the director of the Island Sports Center, home of Robert Morris University’s hockey team, in suburban Pittsburgh.

RIVALRY CLUSTERS: The CCHA begins its fourth season with the 12 teams grouped in “rivalry pairings.” In the pairings, Notre Dame is paired with Bowling Green. The league’s other pairings include Michigan-Michigan State, Miami-Ohio State, Lake Superior State-Northern Michigan, Ferris State-Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks-Nebraska-Omaha. Each season the teams are divided into three, four-team clusters and play a 28-game conference schedule. Cluster teams will face each other four times during the season with two games against each of the remaining eight teams. In 2005-06, Notre Dame will play Bowling Green, Miami and Ohio State four times with two games at home and two away. The Irish will also play home-and-home series with Ferris State, Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan with two-game home series with Alaska Fairbanks and Lake Superior State. The Irish play two-game raod series at Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Michigan. In 2004-05, the Irish played in the same cluster with Bowling Green, Michigan and Michigan State and were 1-10-1 in the 12 games.

STAR GAZING: Notre Dame’s freshman class of 2005-06 features three players who played their junior hockey for the Lincoln (Neb.) Stars of the USHL in `04-’05. The trio includes goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska), defensman Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.) and forward Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.). They join sophomore right wing Evan Rankin (Portage, Mich.) who spent the `03-’04 season in Lincoln. Condra had 30 goals and 30 assists for 60 points for the high-flying Stars. Sawatske, a transfer from the University of Wisconsin, collected a goal and nine assists for 10 points in 34 games and Pearce was 22-10-4 with a 3.07 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage. Both Sawatske and Pearce were selected to play in the USHL Top Prospects game.

STORM WARNINGS: After bringing in three members of USHL’s Tri-City Storm for the 2004-05 season, the Irish added a fourth player former Storm player Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) to this year’s freshman class. Hanson joins sophomores Brian D’Arcy (Western Springs, Ill.), Luke Lucyk (Fox Point, Wis.) and Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) as Storm alums. All four were members of the 2003-04 Tri-City team that was the USHL regular-season champion and lost in the championship series to Waterloo. Hanson joins the Irish this season after leading Tri-City in scoring with 19 goals and 33 assists for 52 points on the year. He was the USHL’s 2005 Curt Hammer Award winner, the fourth USHL player to win the award and them play at Notre Dame.