March 24, 2004
- The Games: #4 Notre Dame (20-14-4) vs. #1 Minnesota (26-13-3)
- Date/Site/Times: Sat., March 27, 2004 – Van Andel Arena (10,834) – 12:00 noon
- Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame games can be heard live on WDNV 1490 on Saturday and if the Irish advance, Sunday’s game will be live on ESPN Radio 1580, South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, “the voice of Irish hockey” calls all the action with Tom Nevala handling the color commentary. Irish hockey can also be heard live via the internet at www.und.com.
Television: Television coverage in the South Bend market will be handled by Comcast and will be broadcast on Channel 19 on Comcast-South Bend.
IRISH MAKE FIRST APPEARANCE IN NCAA TOURNAMENT: For the first time in the 36-year history of the Notre Dame hockey program, the Irish have received an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame will face the school that has been there the most when the Irish take on the University of Minnesota in the Midwest Regional at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Irish and Gophers will drop the puck at 12:00 noon on Saturday, March 27. The Irish are seeded fourth in the regional with Minnesota the top seed. The second seed, Minnesota-Duluth will face the third-seed, Michigan State at 3:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 27. The two winners will advance to the Regional championship on Sunday, March 28 at 1:00 p.m. That winner then moves on to the Frozen Four in Boston, Mass., April 8-10. Minnesota will be making its 28th appearance in the NCAA tournament, the most of any college hockey team. The Gophers have won the national championship in each of the last two seasons. Notre Dame comes into the regional with a 20-14-4 overall record after losing in the quarterfinals of the CCHA Super Six to Ohio State, 6-5 in overtime. Minnesota owns a 26-13-3 overall record and is coming off the WCHA championship as they defeated Minnesota-Duluth, 7-4, in the semifinals and then North Dakota, 5-4, in the title game.
IRISH-GOPHER INFO: Notre Dame’s senior class – Tom Galvin, Aaron Gill, Rob Globke, Brett Lebda, Neil Komadoski and T.J. Mathieson played the first game of their Irish hockey careers versus Minnesota on Oct. 7, 2000. The Irish dropped a 7-3 decision to the Gophers in the Hall of Fame game at Xcel Energy Center. Lebda and Globke each had their first collegiate goals versus Minnesota … Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin and Minnesota head coach Don Lucia were teammates at Notre Dame from 1978-81, playing for South St. Paul, Minn., native Charles “Lefty” Smith. Poulin, a forward, had 89 goals and 107 assists for 196 career points in 135 games. Lucia, a defenseman, played in 124 games with seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points in his Irish career…Notre Dame was a member of the WCHA from 1971-81 and was 9-15-2 versus Minnesota in those seasons…the Irish have three natives of Minnesota on their roster – senior captain Aaron Gill (Rochester, Minn.), his brother Tony Gill (So., Rochester, Minn.) and freshman T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.). Notre Dame has had 83 all-time letterwinners from the state of Minnesota.
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR: Notre Dame makes its first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament this weekend. On two other occasions, the Irish have come close, but just missed out. In 1998-99, the Irish were 19-14-5 on the year, but lost a first-round CCHA playoff series to Northern Michigan. Due to upsets in other tournaments, the Irish were the last team out on Selection Sunday. In 1972-73, Notre Dame defeated North Dakota in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs. The Irish then lost a total-goals series to Wisconsin, 8-7, as they tied the Badgers, 4-4, then lost 4-3. Wisconsin went on to win the NCAA title that year.
IRISH VERSUS TOURNEY FIELD: Notre Dame has played seven of the other 15 teams in this year’s NCAA tournament field and has a 6-5-2 record in 13 games. The Irish were 0-2-0 versus Miami, 0-1-1 versus Michigan State, 1-0-0 versus Maine, 1-0-1 versus Wisconsin, 1-2-0 versus Ohio State, 2-0-0 versus Michigan and 1-0-0 versus Boston College.
MIDWEST REGIONAL RECORDS: The Irish are 17-9-3 all-time versus Minnesota-Duluth and 29-51-8 versus Michigan State, the other two teams in the Midwest Regional at Grand Rapids, Mich.
BEEN HERE BEFORE: Notre Dame has played twice at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids in the past. On Nov. 24, 1998, the Irish lost a 4-2 decision to Ferris State. The following season, on Oct. 24, 1999, the Irish dropped another 4-2 decision to Ferris State.
SUPER SIX WRAP UP: All season long, Notre Dame lived on its strong defense and outstanding penalty killing. Both aspects of their game deserted them at Joe Louis Arena on March 18 in a 6-5 overtime loss to eventual champion Ohio State. The Buckeyes scored three power-play goals in the game (a season high versus the Irish) and Notre Dame blew a pair of two-goal leads in the game. The Irish were led by seniors Aaron Gill and Rob Globke (West Bloomfield, Mich.) who each had four-point games. Gill recorded his second career hat trick and added an assist while Globke scored once and had a career-high three assists in the game. Mike Walsh (So., Northville, Mich.) had the fifth Irish goal of the game. Notre Dame scored twice in the first 6:56 with Globke and Gill getting goals at 5:32 and 6:56. Ohio State tied the game on power-play goals by Rod Pelley and Dave Steckel. Gill added a power-play goal of his own at 18:40 of the first period to give the Irish a 3-2 lead after one period. Scott May would tie the game at 3-3 just 16 seconds into the second period, but Gill and Walsh built the lead back to 5-3 at 10:14 of the second. Walsh’s goal chased starting goaltender Mike Betz in favor of Dave Caruso and the Irish would not score again. Matt Beaudoin scored the first of his two goals at 16:28 of the second on the power play to make it 5-4 after two periods. The Irish nursed that lead until 17:34 of the third when Beaudoin scored his second to tie the game at 5-5. In the overtime, defenseman Tyson Strachan beat Irish goaltender David Brown (Fr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) with a slapshot from the right point at 9:49 for the 6-5 win. In the game, Ohio State outshot the Irish, 49-34. Brown made a career-high 43 saves for the Irish. Betz finished with 14 saves and Caruso had 15 on the night. The loss marked the third consecutive season that the Irish lost in the first round of the CCHA’s Super Six.
GREAT GILL: Notre Dame senior captain Aaron Gill picked up a career-high four points in the loss to Ohio State. His three-goal game was the second of his career. On the season, Gill now has 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points, all career highs. A second team all-CCHA selection, Gill leads the Irish with eight power-play goals and that ties him for the CCHA lead in that category. FOUR OF FIVE: The Irish have been to Joe Louis Arena for three straight years and in four of the last five seasons since the 2000 postseason. In the three years the Irish have been to the Super Six, so has Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Northern Michigan. Only Michigan and Michigan State have been to Joe Louis Arena in all five years since the 2000 campaign. Following Notre Dame’s four trips are three trips by both Ohio State and Northern Michigan and they have come in the last three seasons. The Irish have not gotten past the first round in each of the last three seasons. Their 2000 appearance was a semifinal loss to Michigan State.
FOUR STRAIGHT: For the fourth consecutive week, Notre Dame is ranked in the national rankings. The Irish are currently ranked 13th in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and 13th in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll. Inside College Hockey.com (INCH) has the Irish ranked 15th in their top 20. This marks the sixth week this season that the Irish have been ranked in the top 15 by USA Today and U.S. College Hockey Online. The Irish also were ranked in the top 15 on Dec. 1 and Jan. 19. The Irish have been in the INCH top 20 in all but one week this year.
CCHA ALL-STARS: Three Notre Dame players were selected to the CCHA’s all-Conference team, the most in the program’s history. Senior forwards Aaron Gill (Rochester, Minn.) and Rob Globke (West Bloomfield, Mich.) along with defenseman Brett Lebda (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) were all second team selections. Since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93, the Irish have only had two players selected to the league’s all-Conference team – Benoit Cotnoir (first team) and Ben Simon (second team) in 1998-99. Three other Irish players received all-Conference honors when Notre Dame first joined the league. Center Dave Poulin and defenseman John Schmidt were second-team selections in 1981-82 and forward Kirt Bjork was a second-team choice in 1982-83.
IT’S ALL-ACADEMIC: Senior right wing Rob Globke (West Bloomfield, Mich.) was one of 10 CCHA players selected to the CCHA all-Academic Team for the 2003-04 season. Globke has a 3.339 grade-point average and will graduate with a degree in Marketing in May. On the ice, he led the Irish in scoring in the CCHA with 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points. Overall, he is Notre Dame’s top scorer with 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points. Defenseman T.J. Mathieson (Clarksville, Md.) was and honorable mention selection as he has a 3.816 grade point in Aerospace Engineering. Receiving special mention were Tom Galvin (Sr., Miller Place, N.Y.), Neil Komadoski (Sr., Chesterfield, Mo.), Brett Lebda (Sr., Buffalo Grove, Ill.), Cory McLean (Jr., Fargo, N.D.) and Chris Trick (So., Troy, Mich.). To be eligible for the all-Academic team, a player needs at least a 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
ALL-ROOKIE HONORS: Notre Dame freshman goaltender David Brown and freshman defenseman Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) were named honorable mention CCHA all-Rookie team selections for the 2003-04 season. Brown was 11-5-3 in the CCHA with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. In 28 CCHA games, O’Neill had two goals and eight assists for 10 points and tied for the team lead with a +8.
ILITCH HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Notre Dame defenseman Neil Komadoski was named the winner of the Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award for his involvement in community service work at Notre Dame. Komadoski was also one of 14 nominees for College Hockey’s Humanitarian Award that goes to college hockey’s top citizen. Komadoski has been involved in Notre Dame’s community service programs since his freshman year. He is a member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for three years and is chairman of the SAAC community service sub-committee since the fall of 2002. He represented Notre Dame at the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Leadership Conference last May. His community service work has included participation in SAAC’s Pediatric Christmas Party in all four years since joining the Irish hockey program. He has also participated in Christmas in April (2001, 2002), Habitat for Humanity (2003) and the Downs Syndrome Buddy Walk in the fall of 2002 and 2003. He has also worked with the Robinson Community Learning Center’ Children’s Ice Skate Day in the fall of 2002 and 2003.
FINALISTS: At the annual CCHA Awards Banquet on March 17, four members of the Notre Dame hockey team were named finalists for the league’s top awards. Freshman goaltender David Brown was one of three finalists for the league’s rookie of the year award. Senior center Aaron Gill was a finalist for the league’s top defensive forward and defenseman Brett Lebda was a finalist for the league’s top offensive defenseman award. Head coach Dave Poulin was a finalist for the league’s coach of the year honors.
GOOD-BYE GORILLA: Sophomore Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) scored a pair of goals in the 5-4 overtime win versus Western Michigan. After scoring a goal on Oct. 11 at Ohio State, Wallace went 34 games without a goal before breaking through versus the Broncos. The hard-luck winger has had three goals disallowed this season and his hit the post numerous times. For the year, his first career three-point game helped him equal his career-high with 11 points on three goals and eight assists.
LATE BLOOMERS: Since Feb. 14, the Irish are 7-3-0. Strong finishes have been a trend for the Irish in the last four seasons. Since the 2000-01 season, Notre Dame is 26-10-2 after Feb. 9th of each year. In 2002-03, the Irish were 8-4-0, 2001-02, 7-2-0 and in 2000-01, the Irish finished with a 4-1-2 run, but did not make the playoffs.
TWO FOR THE CENTURY MARK: Seniors Rob Globke and Aaron Gill each went over the 100-point mark in their careers during the 2003-04 season. This marks the first time since the 1998-99 season that two Notre Dame players crashed the Irish “Century Club.” That season, Brian Urick and Aniket Dhadphale each recorded the 100th point of their careers. This season, Globke became the 40th player in Notre Dame hockey history to go over 100 points in his career with two assists versus Western Michigan (Dec. 6). He is currently 29th on the all-time scoring list with 123 points. Globke is just one of 18 players in school history to have 60 or more goals in a season and now is 16th all-time with 68 career goals. Gill made it 41 players on the list with his goal on Feb. 6 at Miami. For his career, Gill now has 48 goals and 61 assists for his 109 career points.
GOLDEN GLOBKE: Senior right wing Rob Globke is tied for third in the CCHA with 19 goals this season and leads the Irish with 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points. The 20 assists and 39 points are career highs for Globke. He has led the Irish in goals in three of his four seasons. Globke was named the CCHA offensive player of the week for the week ending Jan. 18. At Wisconsin, Globke accounted for two goals and two assists and was +2 for the weekend as the Irish tied (2-2) and downed the fourth-ranked Badgers (3-1). Globke was the first Notre Dame player to receive offensive player of the week honors since Dan Carlson (’01) was named on Feb. 7, 2000.
BEST RECORDS: The Irish finished the 2003-04 regular season with an 18-12-4 record. That is Notre Dame’s best regular-season finish since going 18-12-5 in 1998-99. The last time the Irish won more than 18-games in the regular season was the 1987-88 campaign when they were 25-4-2 as a Division I independent. As a member of a Division I conference, the last time the Irish won more than 18 in the regular season was 1981-82 when the Irish were 20-14-2 in their first season in the CCHA. This season’s 14-11-3 record in the CCHA is Notre Dame’s best since 1998-99 when that year’s team was 15-11-4 in the conference.
ON THE SIDELINES: Sophomore goaltender Rory Walsh (Milton, Mass.) is lost for the rest of the season due to an injury to his right achilles tendon that will require surgery. Defenseman Derek Smith (Jr., Marysville, Mich.) is sidelined indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome. He has not played since suffering a concussion on Jan. 4, 2003.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Irish saw their six-game home-winning streak and 15-game home-unbeaten streak snapped in the 4-0 loss on March 13 to Western Michigan. The last time the Irish lost on home ice came on Oct. 17, a 5-3 loss to Bowling Green. For the year, the Irish finished with a 14-2-2 at the Joyce Center. The 14 wins are the most for the Irish at home since 1987-88 when Notre Dame was 18-2-0 at the Joyce Center. The other longest home unbeaten streak is 15 games (15-0-0) and was set between Dec. 11, 1987 and March 5, 1988.
LEBDA’S LINE: Brett Lebda had a pair of two-point games versus Western Michigan and was Notre Dame’s leading scorer in the CCHA playoff series with a goal and three assists for four points. He also is now 10th on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list for defensemen with 85 career points on 26 goals and 59 assists. For the season, Lebda leads all Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with six goals and 18 assists for 24 points. He was selected second team all-CCHA for this season.
MR. PLAYOFFS: There’s something about the playoffs that brings out the best in goaltender Morgan Cey (Jr., Wilkie, Sask.). In his first two seasons with the Irish, Cey, almost single-handedly carried Notre Dame to Joe Louis Arena and the CCHA Super Six. In 2001-02, he helped the Irish upset Nebraska-Omaha in Omaha with stellar goaltending in two overtime games. Last season, after the Irish lost the first game at Miami, Cey shutout the RedHawks in games two and three and the Irish were off to the Joe again. Including Friday’s 4-2 win over Western Michigan, Cey has now played in 10 playoff games at Notre Dame. He is 5-5 with a 1.77 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. He also owns two shutouts in playoff action.
SHUTOUT CENTRAL: Notre Dame has been involved in 11 shutouts this season – six for the Irish and five against. Both marks are season records. For the Irish, goaltender David Brown has an Irish single-season record of four shutouts. Morgan Cey has two on the year and a Notre Dame career record of six. Previously, the most times the Irish had been shutout in a season was three and that came during the 1998-99 season.
ALL-TIME GAMES PLAYED: Aaron Gill and Brett Lebda rank third and fifth in all-time games played at Notre Dame. Gill comes into the Minnesota game having played in 152 career games to tie for third all-time. Lebda is fifth with 151 career-games played for the Irish.
IRISH AT THE JOE: Notre Dame is now 4-9-0 all-time at Joe Louis Arena following the 6-4 overtime loss to Ohio State on March 18. The last Notre Dame win at “the Joe” was on Dec. 14, 2002, when the Irish defeated Wayne State, 3-2. The Irish are just 1-5 at “the Joe” in CCHA play with the lone win coming on March 13, 1982 when Dave Poulin led Notre Dame to an 8-5 win over Bowling Green in the CCHA semifinals. The win was the first non-CCHA tournament or Great Lakes Invitational game for the Irish at Joe Louis Arena.
IRISH IN THE CCHA PLAYOFFS: Notre Dame has played in the CCHA playoffs in 11 of its 14 years (1981-83, 1992-present). The Irish have participated in 34 games and have a 13-21 all-time record. Notre Dame has now won three straight first-round series, dating back to the 2001-02 season.
DOING IT THE HARD WAY: In Notre Dame’s last six playoff appearances, all six series have gone three games. The Irish have been on the winning side four times and the losing side twice. The two losses came in 1998 to Michigan and 1999 to Northern Michigan. In both those series, Notre Dame won the first game and lost the next two. In 2000, the Irish won the first game at home versus Ferris State and went on to win that series in three games. In 2002 and 2003, Notre Dame lost the opening game on the road and rebounded to win the next two at Nebraska-Omaha and Miami. This past year, again at home, the Irish won the opener, lost the second game and then won game three to advance.
IRISH ALL-TIME CCHA PLAYOFF HISTORY: Notre Dame has made 11 trips to the CCHA playoffs in 14 seasons as a league member.
TERRIFIC TRIO: Notre Dame’s corps of senior defensemen has had a strong final season for the Irish. Brett Lebda (6-18-24) leads the group in scoring this year. Neil Komadoski (5-15-20) and Tom Galvin (1-18-19) follow with19 points. Not surprisingly, during their Notre Dame careers, all three defenders have led the Irish defensemen in scoring in one season. Lebda (7-19-26) led as a freshman, Galvin (4-19-23) led as a sophomore and Komadoski (1-23-24) led last year.
OVERTIME HEARTBREAK: Notre Dame’s overtime game with Ohio State was its second consecutive in the CCHA playoffs. Against Western Michigan on March 14, the Irish snapped a 10-game winless run in overtime games. The last overtime win for the Irish came in the 2002 CCHA playoffs on March 9 in a 2-1 win versus Nebraska-Omaha. Notre Dame’s last regular-season overtime win was Jan. 25, 2002 at Miami, a 4-3 win. Since that win, the Irish are 2-4-10 in overtime with the one win and one of the losses coming in the CCHA playoffs. Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, the Irish have been involved in 41 overtime games and are 6-5-30 in those contests. The Irish are 1-3-4 in overtime this season.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS: For the first time this season and the first time since Feb. 16, 2001, Notre Dame surrendered three power-play goals in a game. Ohio State was 3-for-5 in the 6-5 overtime loss on March 18. After Jan. 23 at Northern Michigan, Notre Dame gave up just one power-play goal in its next 13 games. At one point following that Jan. 23 date, the Irish killed 36 straight chances (a total of 66:14 of opponent power-play time). Since Jan. 23, the Irish have killed 56 of 62 opponent man-advantages (90.3% success rate). Of the 21 power-play goals the Irish have surrenderd this season, 15 have come in seven games (two in six games, three in the other). Over the remaining 31 games, the Irish have given up just six other power-play goals. Notre Dame has killed 87.6% of opponent power plays this season to lead the CCHA and rank fourth-best in the nation. Notre Dame’s all-time best penalty killing rate at the Division I level is 86.1% and was set during the 1969-70 season.
HALL OF FAMER: Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin was inducted into the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame on Wednesday, March 3 prior to their game with the Nashville Predators. Poulin played eight seasons with the Flyers (1982-83 to 1989-90) and served as captain of the team from 1984-85 to 1989-90. In his eight seasons, Poulin recorded 161 goals with 233 assists for 394 points and was a three-time all-star (1986, 1987 and 1988). During his six seasons as captain, Poulin helped lead the Flyers to three Patrick Division titles and two Wales Conference championships. “”I am thrilled. It really came very unexpectedly,” said Poulin. “Certainly when you read the names of the players that are in there, I am certainly flattered and humbled to be included in that group. I’m the fourth player from my peer team so to speak to be there – with Mark Howe, Timmy Kerr and Brian Propp being the other three. We had such a great run and had so much fun while we were doing it, that to be joining those guys in that grouping is a tremendous, tremendous honor.”
ON THE RIGHT PAIGE: Center Jason Paige’s (Fr., Saginaw, Mich.) overtime game winner versus Western Michigan was his third game winner of the season and second in the last four games for the Irish. He scored the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 2-1 win at Lake Superior State on March 6, his second game winner of the season. On Feb. 27, he turned in the first two-goal game of his Notre Dame career in the 4-1 win over Michigan. Paige scored a pair of power-play goals in the game, giving him four on the season. He leads Notre Dame freshmen in scoring with 10 goals and six assists on the year for 16 points.
HOT GOALTENDER: David Brown bounced back from a 3-0 loss at Lake Superior on March 5, to make 33 saves in Notre Dame’s overtime win versus Western Michigan. In his last 12 games, Brown has given up just 25 goals (beginning on Jan. 10 vs. Bowling Green). In the 12 games, Brown is 8-3-1, has played 716:06 minutes with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage, stopping 361 of 386 shots. In each of the last two months, Brown has received honorable mention for the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) rookie-of-the-month honors. He won the honor in October. For the year, Brown is 14-6-3 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage.
GAME-WINNING GLOBKE: Rob Globke picked up his CCHA-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Wisconsin on Jan. 18. He ranks third in the country with the five game-winners. For his career at Notre Dame, Globke now has 13 game-winning goals. That ties him for first on the all-time game-winning goal list with Brian Urick (’99) and current head coach Dave Poulin who recorded 13 game winners from 1978-82.
MR. STEADY – CORY’S STORY: Junior right wing Cory McLean (Fargo, N.D.) is fourth in scoring for the Irish this season with nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points. His previous best was last season when he picked up 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points. His goal on Feb. 27 versus Michigan snapped a 15-game scoreless drought.
OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMEN: In 38 games this season, Notre Dame defensemen Brett Lebda, Tom Galvin, Neil Komadoski and Wes O’Neill (Fr., Essex, Ont.) have combined for 14 goals and 61 assists for 75 points. Lebda (6g, 18a) is followed by Komadoski (5-15-20) and Galvin (1-18-18). O’Neill has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points on the year.
PUTTING THE “P” IN POWER: Sophomore left wing Mike Walsh is quickly emerging one of the top power forwards in the CCHA. He scored his 12th goal of the season versus Ohio State on March 18. iOn the season, Walsh has four game-winning goals and five for his career. The four game winners ties him for fourth in the CCHA and 15th in the nation. Walsh believes that the quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line as he barges and charges to the net. After battling through an injury and illness filled freshman year, Walsh has become a key contributor to the Irish attack. With12 goals and 11 assists, he is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 23 points. Four of his 12 goals this season are game winners. For his career, Walsh has scored 13 goals with five of them being game-winning goals.
BARN BURNERS: Three of Notre Dame’s games in January came down to final-second decisions. On Jan. 31, Brett Lebda scored with 28.5 seconds left for a 2-2 tie with Alaska Fairbanks. On Jan. 23, Northern Michigan’s Darin Olver scored with 34 seconds left in overtime to give the Wildcats a 4-3 win. On Jan. 9, Bowling Green’s James Unger scored with 28 seconds left in overtime to give the Falcons a 5-4 win.
BEATING THE BEST: Notre Dame’s 1-0 shutout win at Boston College on Oct. 24 came versus the Eagles while they were ranked first in the nation in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll. The last time the Irish beat a top-ranked team came on Jan. 3, 1999 when they won 4-3 at North Dakota.
IRISH WINS VERSUS #1 TEAMS:
10/24/03 – at Boston College, 1-0
1/3/99 – at North Dakota, 4-3
11/10/78 – at Minnesota, 3-2
1/13/78 – vs. Denver, 5-3
1/18/74 – vs. Michigan Tech, 7-1
2/24/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 8-5
2/23/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 4-3
The last time the Irish faced a top-ranked team prior to Oct. 24 was on Nov. 10, 2000 when they played Boston College. Notre Dame lost that game by a 5-3 score.
LEAGUE LEADERS: Notre Dame leads the CCHA for the fewest goals given up this season. Notre Dame has given up just 94 goals in 38 games for a 2.47 goals-against per game. Notre Dame’s previous single-season best goals-against average came in the 1998-99 season when the Irish gave up an average of 2.60 goals per game.
IRISH SHUTOUTS: Prior to last season’s CCHA playoffs when Morgan Cey recorded back-to-back shutouts versus Miami, Notre Dame had never recorded back-to-back shutouts. Since Cey did it last March, both freshman David Brown (three in a row) and Cey have turned the trick this year. Notre Dame’s six shutouts are a single-season school record. The previous best was 1999-2000 when the Irish had three shutouts (Tony Zasowski had two and Jeremiah Kimento had one).
ONE-GOAL GAMES: Five of Notre Dame’s games in January were decided by one goal with the Irish going 2-3-0 in those games. After winning their first three one-goal games (all three being 1-0 wins), the Irish dropped three in a row (two in overtime and one by a 1-0 score). The Irish are 6-4 this season in one-goal decisions. Notre Dame has been involved in four 1-0 games this season and is 3-1 in those contests.
SCORELESS STREAKS: Morgan Cey (Jr., Wilkie, Sask.) saw his consecutive minutes of scoreless hockey come to an end at 158:53 when D’Arcy McConvey scored at 10:27 of the second period on Jan. 9. The streak was the longest of Cey’s career, passing his previous best of 149:17 (set between Mar. 14-20, 2003 in the CCHA playoffs). Cey’s 158:53 is the second longest in Irish history behind David Brown’s mark of 193:27 set this past October between Oct. 17-Nov. 8.
RISING TO THE OCCASION: With Morgan Cey sidelined twice this season due to knee injuries, freshman goaltender David Brown has played in 26 games with outstanding results. In 24 starts, Brown is 14-7-3 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. Four of his 14 wins have been shutouts. He had an eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) snapped on Dec. 6 in a 6-4 loss at Western Michigan. During his streak which covered nine games, Brown had a 1.96 goals against (17 goals in 521:30 minutes and a .932 save percentage (232 saves). Included in those nine games were three consecutive shutouts between 10/18 and 10/31. For good measure, Brown also threw in a fourth shutout on Nov. 14 versus the U.S. Under-18 team that does not count in the statistics. He also was named CCHA rookie of the week three times, CCHA defensive player of the week once, the Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA) national rookie of the month for October and an honorable mention pick for HCA rookie of the month in January and February.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END: Irish goaltender David Brown saw his streak of three consecutive shutouts end in the Nov. 8 game versus Michigan State. Jim Slater’s goal at 7:12 of the first period ended his consecutive-minute streak at 193:27. That is a new Notre Dame record. The last time Brown had given up a goal was on Oct. 17 versus Bowling Green with 4:22 left in the third period. He followed with shutouts versus Bowling Green (Oct. 18), Boston College (10/24) and Nebraska-Omaha (10/31).
IRISH ON TV: Notre Dame’s February 27th game marked the eighth game this season that the Irish appeared on television. For the year, Notre Dame is 6-1-1 in televised games. The Irish have appeared on CSTV four times and are 3-1-0. They are 1-0-1 on Wisconsin television, 1-0 on Fox Sports Net Fairbanks and 1-0 on Fox Sports Net Detroit.
HCA ROOKIE OF THE MONTH: Notre Dame freshman goaltender David Brown was selected as the Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA) national collegiate rookie of the month for the month of October. Brown had an October to remember as he recorded a Notre Dame school record three consecutive shutouts in his first four career starts and a school-record shutout string of 193:27 consecutive minutes. His three shutouts also set a Notre Dame record for shutouts in a season. For the month, the 5-11, 188-pound puck stopper was 3-2-0 with a CCHA-leading 1.15 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage to go with the three shutouts. Among his three shutouts was a 1-0, 27-save performance on Oct. 24 versus the top-ranked Boston College Eagles at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The three shutouts came versus Bowling Green (10/18), Boston College (10/24) and Nebraska-Omaha (10/31). He has been selected as the CCHA rookie of the month three times this season (10/19, 11/2, 12/1) and defensive player of the week once (1/12). Brown also received honorable mention for HCA rookie of the month honors in January and February.
OH CANADA: Freshman defenseman Wes O’Neill was a member of Canada’s Under-18 Select team that played in last summer’s Under-18 Select World Cup tournament. O’Neill had a goal and four assists in helping Canada to a fourth-place finish. The former Green Bay Gambler also played for Team Ontario at the Under-17 World Championships in Feb. of 2003. There he had three goals and nine assists in six games. O’Neill was the second pick in the 2002 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft by the Kingston Frontenacs. He is the highest-drafted OHL player to decide to play college hockey.
CENTRAL SCOUTING RANKINGS: The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Central Scouting has released it’s mid-term report that ranks the top 270 draft eligible skaters and the top 30 goaltenders for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft next June. Irish defenseman Wes O’Neill is ranked 19th overall, third among U.S. College players behind North Dakota’s Drew Stafford (9th) and Michigan State’s A.J. Thelen (16). Freshman forward Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.) was ranked 211th overall and 36th among collegiate players. Goaltender David Brown is ranked 29th overall and second among collegiate goaltenders behind top-ranked Al Montoya of Michigan.
IRISH VERSUS HOCKEY EAST: For the first time since Hockey East started in 1984-85, Notre Dame has recorded a pair of wins over Hockey East conference teams. On Oct. 24, the Irish defeated Boston College at Chestnut Hill, Mass. On Dec. 28, Notre Dame took a 1-0 decision versus Maine at the Everblades College Classic. In both 1-0 shutouts, sophomore left wing Mike Walsh got the game-winning goal.
RIVALRY CLUSTERS: Notre Dame finished the season going 6-5-1 against the their three cluster rivals. The Irish were 2-2 versus Northern Michigan, 2-2 versus Bowling Green and 2-1-1 versus Lake Superior State. A year ago, the Irish were 7-4-1 in their cluster that included Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Ferris State.
SOME TRICK: Sophomore defenseman Chris Trick (Troy, Mich.) recorded his first collegiate goal in the Nov. 28, 5-1 win over Northern Michigan. He made the most of it too, as the goal came short-handed in the second period and proved to be the game winner. Trick came out of the penalty box after a Wildcat centering pass eluded the point men. Trick beat Craig Kowalski with a backhander for his first goal in 55 career games.
CONSECUTIVE GAME STREAK: Graduated defenseman Evan Nielsen (’03) set Notre Dame’s record for consecutive games played last season with 114 in a row from 2000-03. Coming into this weekend at Northern Michigan, seniors Rob Globke and Brett Lebda have each played in 95 consecutive games and are the leaders among active players. The only games Lebda has missed in his career came in 2001-02 when he missed four games while playing at the World Junior Championships. He has played 151 of 155 career games.
DIRECTOR’S CUP STANDINGS: The University of Notre Dame stands 20th in the 2003-04 United States Sports Academy Division I Director’s Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors’Cup). Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 199 points and winter competition has added another 52 points. Michigan is first (611.5 points), followed by UCLA, Stanford, BYU, Florida, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska, North Carolina, LSU, Penn State, Connecticut, Arkansas, Maryland, Florida State, Wisconsin, Villanova, Georgia, Northern Arizona and Notre Dame round out the top 20.
FUTURE IRISH: Dave Poulin and his hockey staff announced that four players have signed national letters-of-intent in the early-signing period to attend Notre Dame next season. The group includes three defensement and one forward.
CEY IT AIN’T SO: Goaltender Morgan Cey missed the first five games of the season after having knee surgery in July. He then missed seven games after re-injuring his knee on Nov. 7, requiring arthroscopic surgery. Prior to this season, Cey had started 71 of Notre Dame’s 79 games as a freshman and sophomore. He was 15-15-6 last season with a 2.87 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage with two shutouts. Career-wise, Cey is 35-35-10 with a 2.72 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage with six shutouts. He is sixth on Notre Dame’s all-time wins list with 35. His 2.72 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and six shutouts make him the leader in all three categories at Notre Dame.