Matt Amado (file photo)

Notre Dame Faces #4/#4 Michigan In Opening Round Of CCHA Playoffs

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March 9, 2005

The Series: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-25-6/3-20-5) vs. Michigan Wolverines (26-7-3/23-3-2)

Date/Site/Times: Fri.-Sun., March 11-13, 2005 – 7:35 p.m. – Yost Arena (6,637) – Ann Arbor, Michigan

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 Tom Nevala will bring you all the action both nights. Irish hockey can also be heard live via the internet at

Television: Saturday’s game will be televised live by Fox Sports Detroit beginning at 7:35 p.m. Ken Daniels and Fred Pletsch will handle the play-by-play and color commentary.

The first round of the CCHA playoffs begin this weekend with the best-of-three opening round. Notre Dame, the 12th seed travels to No. 1 seed Michigan for games on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 with a third game, if necessary, on Sunday, March 13th. All three games will be played at Yost Arena with a 7:35 p.m. starting time. Saturday night’s game is scheduled to be televised live by Fox Sports Detroit. The two teams have met in postseason action five times in the past, with two meetings in the WCHA playoffs and three in CCHA postseason play. Michigan has won three of the series (1976, 1993 and 1998) with the Irish winning in 1980 and 1982. Notre Dame finished the season with its worst record ever, 5-25-6 overall and 3-20-5 in CCHA play. The Irish finished the year by dropping seven in a row and are in the midst of a 17-game winless skid (0-15-2). Notre Dame has not won a game since Jan. 2, a 2-1 win at home over Rensselaer. Michigan, on the other hand, finished the season with six straight wins and was unbeaten in its last nine games (7-0-2). The Wolverines are ranked fourth in both national polls with a 26-7-3 record and finished first in the CCHA with a 23-3-2 record. The winner of the Notre Dame-Michigan series advances to the CCHA Super Six that begins on Thursday, March 17 at Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit.

Notre Dame and Michigan met four times during the regular season with the Wolverines winning all four games by a combined score of 29-6. The last meetings came on Feb. 18-19. All-time, the two teams have met 105 times with Michigan holding a 59-41-5 record. In postseason action, Michigan has a 6-5 edge in 11 games played (the first three meetings were total-goal series). At Yost Arena, the Wolverines are 32-20-3 versus the Irish and since Notre Dame returned to the CCHA in 1992-93, Michigan is 17-2-1 at home (one win came in 1998 playoffs).

The two teams have met a total of five times in the postseason, twice in the WCHA and three times in the CCHA. Here are the results:
1976 – WCHA: at Michigan (UM 8, ND 3; ND 5, UM 4, Michigan wins total goals, 12-8).
1980 – WCHA: at Michigan (ND 8, UM 3; UM 4, ND 3, Notre Dame wins total goals, 11-7).
1982 – CCHA: at Notre Dame (ND 6, UM 5; ND 5, UM 3, Notre Dame wins total goals, 11-8).
1993 – CCHA: at Michigan (UM 13, ND 2; UM 8, ND 1, Michigan wins series, 2 games to 0).
1998 – CCHA: at Michigan (ND 4, UM 2; UM 2, ND 1 (ot)); UM 4, ND 3; Michigan wins, 2 to 1).

Notre Dame has qualifed for the CCHA playoffs in 11 of their 15 seasons in the league and are 13-21 in 34 postseason contests. Last season, the Irish defeated Western Michigan, two games to one, in the opening round of the playoffs and then lost, 6-5 in overtime, to Ohio State in the first game at the Super Six. In the 11 first round series the Irish have participated in, they have played four at home and seven on the road. Of the seven road series, the Irish have won twice, 2002 at Nebraska-Omaha and 2003 at Miami.

Notre Dame has advanced to Joe Louis Arena and the CCHA finals in four of the last five seasons (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004). Only two other CCHA teams – Michigan and Michigan State – have been there all four years since the 1999-2000 campaign. The Irish also are one of five teams, joining Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Northern Michigan, to make it to the CCHA Super Six in each of the last three seasons.

Since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93, Michigan’s Yost Arena and Michigan State’s Munn Arena have been regular “Houses of Horror” for the Irish. At Munn Arena, Notre Dame is 2-16-1 on the home ice of the Spartans. At Yost Arena, the Irish are 1-15-1 in the last 17 regular-season meetings and 2-17-1 overall. The Irish last won at Yost Arena on Nov. 23, 2002, a 4-3 victory.

Junior center Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) became Notre Dame’s all-time “Iron Man” when he played in his 115th consecutive game on March 5. He passed Evan Nielsen (’03) who held the previous mark of 114. Wallace played in all 40 games as a freshman, all 39 games in 2003-04 and all 36 to date this season. The Irish center scored a goal in each of the games in the Michigan State series. He now has a career high 14 points on five goals and nine assists. S Ont.) made 26 saves for the Irish while Dominic Vicari had 17 saves for the Spartans.

Congratulations to Notre Dame assistant coach Andy Slaggert and his wife, Tara, on the birth of their third son, Carter James, on Friday, March 4 at 3:45 p.m. Carter joins brothers, Graham (5) and Landon (2) on the Slaggert’s top line.

The 2004-05 season is one that sophomore right wing Matt Williams-Kovacs (Calgary, Alb.) would like to forget. He suffered a broken right ankle on Oct. 16 at Miami and missed the next 14 games. He returned to the Notre Dame lineup on Jan. 2 versus R.P.I. and played in that game and the first period of the Jan. 7 Lake Superior game when he suffered a broken right wrist and will be lost for the remainder of the season. He was scoreless in six games this season. Senior defenseman Joe Zurenko (Sr., Palatine, Ill.) will miss the remainder of the season with a concussion suffered on Feb. 11 vs. Ferris State. He has missed the last five games.

The Notre Dame offense has struggled all season long in the goal-scoring department. For the regular season, the Irish had just 59 goals in 36 games for a 1.64 goals-per game average that was last among the nation’s 58 Division I teams. Notre Dame trails Army by .26 goals per game as the Cadets have averaged 1.90 goals-per-game this season. Over the final eight games of the season, the Irish scored 16 goals (2.00). For the year, the Irish have been outscored by a 127-59 margin. In 18 of the 36 games played to date, the Irish have scored a goal or less. Notre Dame’s previous low for goals-per-game in a season occurred during the 1999-2000 season when the Irish scored just 2.45 goals per game.

The Irish come into the playoff series with Michigan looking to snap the longest winless streak in the program’s history. The Irish have gone 17 games (0-15-2) since their last win on Jan. 2. The previous longest winless streak was from Nov. 5, 1988 to Jan. 2, 1989. The Irish were 0-14-2 in that winless streak.

Through the first 36 games of the 2004-05 season, Notre Dame has played 15 contests versus teams ranked teams. In those 15 games, the Irish are 1-12-2. The lone win came against Boston College (Oct. 22) when the Eagles were ranked first in the nation. The ties have come versus Minnesota-Duluth and Northern Michigan.

On Feb. 18 versus Michigan, Morgan Cey (Sr., Wilkie, Sask.) moved into second place on Notre Dame’s all-time minutes played list. He has now played 6,316:35 minutes in his career. He trails only Lance Madson (1986-90), who played 6,900:09 minutes in his career.

Over the course of his four seasons at Notre Dame, Morgan Cey has been Notre Dame’s go-to-guy in the stretch drive in each season including the postseason. The senior goaltender has played in 36 games, making 35 starts. He has played 2074:25 minutes, giving up 88 goals with 995 saves. He is 16-16-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Included in his 16 wins are three shutouts.

Goaltender Morgan Cey continues to make his mark in the Notre Dame record books (see table above). On the season, the senior goaltender is 3-15-5 with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. He made 50 saves in downing the top-ranked Boston College Eagles, 3-2, at the Joyce Center on Oct. 22. Of the 69 goals he’s given up this year, 27 have been on the power play.

Morgan Cey’s 50-save performance versus Boston College was the first 50-save game for a Notre Dame goaltender since Lance Madson (’86-’90) turned in 57 saves in a 6-3 loss to Air Force on Nov. 12, 1988. Cey, now has 38 wins in his career to rank sixth on Notre Dame’s all-time wins list.

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame faced the Boston College Eagles when the Eagles were the top-ranked team in the nation. For the second year in a row, the Irish sent the Eagles home with a loss as they prevailed on Oct. 22 by a 3-2 score. The last time the Irish had defeated a top-ranked team at the Joyce Center was Jan. 13, 1978 when they upset Denver, 5-3. A year ago, in Boston, the Irish downed the top-ranked Eagles, 1-0. In the 37-year history of the program, Notre Dame owns eight wins over top-ranked teams. The list:

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

When Chris Trick (Jr., Troy, Mich.) and Tim Wallace scored second period goals against Michigan State on March 4, it marked the first time since Nov. 13 (25 games) that the Irish had a two-goal lead in a game. On Nov. 13, the Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead at Western Michigan and went on to win the game, 3-2.

Tim Wallace has the lone scoring streak for the Irish, getting goals in each of the last two games (2-0-2). Senior center Cory McLean (Fargo, N.D.) had a four-game point streak (1-4-5) stopped on March 5 and now has points in six of his last eight games (2-5-7). Junior center Matt Amado (Surrey, B.C.) has points in three of his last four games (2-1-3).

Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) has become Notre Dame’s offensive and defensive leader this season. Through 36 games, O’Neill leads the team in goals (6), points (19) and power-play goals (5). His 13 assists are second on the team and his 71 shots are second overall. O’Neill has career highs in goals (6), assists (13), points (19) and power-play goals (5) this season. As a freshman he had two goals and 10 assists for 12 points.

For the season, Notre Dame has out shot its opponents just 10 times over the first 36 games. When Notre Dame out shoots an opponent, the Irish are 2-3-5. Notre Dame has been held to less than 20 shots in a game 11 times this year. When out shot on the year, the Irish are 3-21-1. Notre Dame is 1-1 when shots are even.

Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill leads the Irish in scoring after 35 games with six goals and 13 assists for 19 points. He is followed on the blue line by sophomore Noah Babin (5-6-11) and junior Chris Trick is third with a three goals and six assists for nine points. Freshman Brock Sheahan (Lethbridge, Alb.) checks in with four assists on the year while Dan VeNard (Fr., Vernon Hills, Ill.) has a goal and an assist. Freshman Luke Lucyk (Fr., Fox Point, Wis.) also has a goal and an assist on the season. Through 36 games, the Irish defense has accounted for 16 of Notre Dame’s 59 goals (27.1%) and 48 of Notre Dame’s 161 points (29.8%).

When Noah Babin scored at 9:26 of the first period in the Feb. 12 game versus Ferris State, it marked the first time the Irish scored the first goal of a game since Jan. 14 versus Ohio State. It also marked the first time that Notre Dame had a lead in a game since the 15:52 mark of the first period in that Jan. 14 game. On March 4 at Munn Arena, the Irish got the first goal of the game for just the second time in the last 13 games. The Irish have scored the first goal just 13 times this season and are 4-6-3 in those games.

The Irish snapped an 0-for-13 drought on the power play when they scored a ppg in the second period versus Michigan State on March 5. Over the last foru games, the Irish are 1-for-16 with the man advantage. That comes after going 4-for-14 in a pair of games versus Ferris State. Prior to those four man-advantage goals, the Irish were just 2-for-44 (4.5%) over the previous seven games (Jan. 18 to Feb. 5). Since Dec. 10 (22 games), the Irish are just 11-for-120 with the power play (9.2%). On the year, the Irish have scored 23 power-play goals in 227 chances (10.1%).

Notre Dame’s penalty killers have surrendered 23 power-play goals in the last 97 opponent chances dating back to the Ohio State series (76.3% penalty killing rate) on Jan. 14-15. Included in that span of games was the Irish shutting Wisconsin’s No. 2-ranked power play (12-for-12) on Jan. 21-22. For the year, Notre Dame has given up 47 power-play goals in 237 chances for an 80.1% succes rate. Last season, Notre Dame’s penalty-killing unit was tops in the CCHA and was fourth in the nation in 2003-04, killing penalties at an 87.4% success rate.

With game two of the CCHA playoffs scheduled to appear on Fox Sports Detroit, Notre Dame hockey will have appeared on television a record 13 times during the 2004-05 season. The Irish have appeared on College Sports Television (CSTV) three times this year. After this weekend they will have appeared on Fox Sports Detroit four times and Comcast Local a total of six times. Coming into CCHA playoffs, the Irish are 2-8-2 when appearing on television. The Irish are 0-3 on Fox Sports Detroit, 1-2-0 on CSTV and 1-3-2 on Comcast Local.

Defenseman Noah Babin (So., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) has recorded career highs this season in goals (5), assists (6) and points (11). In January, Babin had a career-best four-game point-scoring streak (1-3-4) that saw him have a hand in every Irish goal over a four-game span. He scored on Jan. 7 at Lake Superior, assisted on ND’s lone goal versus the Lakers on Jan. 8 and then assisted on each Notre Dame goal in the 4-1 and 3-1 losses to Ohio State. On the year, Babin is second among Notre Dame defensemen in scoring (tied for third on the team) with career highs in goals (4), assists (6) and points (10). As a freshman last year, Babin had one assist in 31 games.

Sophomore defenseman Noah Babin and freshman right wing Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) each collected the first multiple-point games of their Notre Dame careers in the 4-3 loss to Ferris State on Feb. 11. Both players had a goal and an assist in the game. Babin now has five goals and six assists for 11 points on the year while Van Guilder checks in with three goals and five assists for eight points.

Three hockey players who have signed national letters-of-intent to attend Notre Dame have been ranked by the Nathional Hockey League’s (NHL) Central Scouting in their mid-term rankings for the June 2005 draft. Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa./Tri-City Storm) was ranked 52nd among all North American skaters. He leads Tri-City in scoring with 15 goals and 32 assists for 47 points in 52 games. Defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich./USA Under-18) is ranked 195th. He has three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 30 games for the U.S. Under-18 Team. He will defer until the 2006-07 season. Goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska/Lincoln Stars) was ranked ninth among goaltenders eligible for the draft. He is 20-7-4 for Lincoln with a 3.09 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage. Hanson and Pearce both played in the USHL Top Prospects game.

Junior goaltender Rory Walsh (Milton, Mass.) saw his first action in the Jan. 29 game versus Bowling Green since Dec. 5, 2003 at Western Michigan. He played the final 30:33 minutes, giving up just one goal on 12 shots. He also saw action in the 9-2 loss to Michigan on Feb. 18 when he played the final 9:02 of the game, giving up one goal on three shots. That was his fifth appearance in goal in his Notre Dame career.

Notre Dame’s tie versus Nebraska-Omaha (Feb. 4) was the first overtime game for the Irish since a Jan. 8 overtime loss to Lake Superior. For the season, the Irish are 1-1-6 in overtime with the win coming on Dec. 10 versus Michigan State. That was the first regular-season overtime win since Jan. 25, 2002, a span of 16 overtime games (0-2-14). Since the 1999-2000 season, Notre Dame has been involved in 49 overtime games. In those games, the Irish are 7-6-36. During the 2003-04 season, Notre Dame had a total of eight overtime contests, going 1-3-4 in those games. The lone overtime win came in game three of the first round of the CCHA playoffs versus Western Michigan.

Notre Dame’s “home” game at Allstate Arena versus Wisconsin on Jan. 22 drew 8,173 fans who braved a winter snowstorm to watch college hockey. The crowd was the most to see a college hockey game in Chicago and is the largest home crowd ever for the Irish. Due to the bad weather, there were close to 3,000 no-shows for the game.

Notre Dame has now played twice at Allstate Arena. On Jan. 18, 2003, the Irish dropped a 3-1 decision to Yale in front of 5,091 fans. That was the first collegiate hockey game played in Chicago since Illinois-Chicago dropped its program in 1996.

The Irish also played another home game on the road when they faced Michigan at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Ind. That game drew 7,948 fans for the first college hockey game played there.

Senior Cory McLean (Fargo, N.D.) will serve as Notre Dame’s team captain this season. The team’s two alternate captains will be junior Mike Walsh (Northville, Mich.) and sophomore Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.). Paige is just the second sophomore in Dave Poulin’s 10 seasons at Notre Dame to be selected as an alternate captain. The first was Steve Noble (’98) who was selected an alternate for the 1995-96 season. He went on to serve as captain in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Defenseman Luke Lucyk (Fr., Fox Point, Wis.) joined fellow freshman defender Dan VeNard by scoring the first goal of his collegiate career on Feb. 4 versus Nebraska-Omaha.. VeNard got the firs tof his career on Jan. 18 in the 6-2 loss to Michigan Tech as he beat Huskies goaltender Cam Ellsworth on a breakaway.

The most ties the Irish have ever had in a season is eight and that came during the 1999-2000 campaign. The most overtime games the Irish have participated in is 11 and that came during the 1993-94 season. Notre Dame was 2-4-5 in those games.

After scoring just one goal in the first 77 games of his Notre Dame career, Irish defenseman Chris Trick (Jr., Troy, Mich.) has scored twice this season. In 33 games this season, the junior has career highs in goals (2), assists (6) and points (8).

Ohio State has had Notre Dame’s number since the start of the 2000-01 season. In the 14 games played between the two teams, the Buckeyes own a 10-1-3 record, including a pair of wins in each of the last two CCHA Super Six opening games.

Freshman right wing Evan Rankin (Portage, Mich.) continues to show a nose for the net in his rookie season. The Portage, Mich., native returned to the lineup after missing two games (U.S. Under-18 Team and UAF) with a hip injury to score his fourth goal of the season (first on the power play) in the 3-2 loss to the Nanooks on Nov. 27. He set up Matt Amado’s game winner versus Michigan State and led the team with six shots on goal in the game. He leads Irish freshmen in scoring with four goals and five assists for nine points in 28 games this season. He has points in each of his last two games.

Junior center Tony Gill (Rochester, Minn.) scored the first goal of his Notre Dame career in the 3-2 win over Alaska Fairbanks. He got his second goal of the year on Feb. 5 versus Nebraska-Omaha.

Through the first 35 games of the season, Notre Dame has been out scored by a 125-58 margin. Much of the disparity has come in the third period when the Irish have been out scored 50-14 (-36).

Notre Dame led Bowling Green by a 3-0 score on Nov. 5, before giving up four goals to trail, 4-3. Wes O’Neill saved tje dau for the Irish when he scored with three seconds left in an eventual 4-4 tie. The last time the Irish surrendered a three-goal lead was on Nov. 6, 1998. The Irish led Boston College, 5-2 after two periods before settling for a 5-5 tie.

Junior left wing Mike Walsh (Northville, Mich.) had the first three-point game and the first three-assist game of his career in the 4-4 tie with Bowling Green. Defenseman Wes O’Neill recorded the first two-goal game of his career versus the Falcons. Freshman right wing Evan Rankin recorded the first multiple-point game of his career (goal and assist) versus Bowling Green. Cory McLean equalled his career-high with three points versus the Falcons as he scored once and added two assists in the contest.

The Irish experienced their own version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles on their journey to Fairbanks, Alaska. The Irish hockey team left the Notre Dame campus at 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and took five hours for the 112-mile trip to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (due to holiday traffic and weather). From there, the 7:20 p.m. (CST) flight to Anchorage, Alaska didn’t leave Chicago until midnight. The six-hour-and-thirty minute flight arrived at 3:30 a.m. (Alaska Standard Time – 7:30 a.m. EST). The Irish flight to Fairbanks left at 1:00 a.m. (AST), so the team had to stay in an Anchorage hotel for five hours before leaving for the airport at 9:45 a.m. (1:45 p.m. EST). The team arrived in Fairbanks at 12:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. EST) making the normal 16-hour trip a 27-hour ordeal. The Irish went right from the airport to the Carlson Center to practice for an hour-and-a-half before enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at 3:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. EST).

Notre Dame’s win at Western Michigan on Nov. 13th was just the fourth for the Irish at Lawson Arena since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93. Notre Dame is now 4-16-3 at Lawson since that season. Overall, the Irish are 7-19-4 in the all-time series versus the Broncos in Kalamazoo, Mich.

In June of 2004, the Irish had three players selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Freshman right wing Victor Oreskovich (Oakville, Ont.) was a second-round selection, 55th overall by the Colorado Avalanche. Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill was chosen in the fourth round, 115th overall by the New York Islanders. Sophomore goaltender David Brown was selected in the eighth round, 228th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Those three join junior Mike Walsh as Notre Dame players selected by in the draft. Walsh was picked in the fifth round of the 2002 draft by the New York Rangers.

The Irish fired 54 shots at Bowling Green goaltender Jordan Sigalet on Nov. 5, including 29 in the second period. The last time the Irish had more than 54 shots on goal came on Oct. 17, 2003 when they fired 59 at – you guessed it – Jordan Sigalet of Bowling Green. He made 56 saves that night in a 5-3 Falcon win.

The 52 shots that Boston College fired at Morgan Cey on Oct. 22 was the most shots on goal the Irish have faced since Jan. 23, 2001 when Michigan fired 51 on the Notre Dame goal in a 9-0 Wolverine win.

Freshman left wing Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) collected his first collegiate goal on Nov. 4 at Bowling Green. He became the second Irish freshman to get his first goal, following Evan Rankin who scored the first goal of his Notre Dame career with a second-period goal versus Boston College (Oct.22). Defenseman Brock Sheahan collected his first career point in Notre Dame’s season opener versus Minnesota-Duluth and fellow defenseman Dan VeNard got his first career point on Nov. 12 at Western Michigan.

Two Irish junior hockey players – Rory Walsh and Mike Walsh – have fathers who played sports at Notre Dame while attending the University during the 1970’s. 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.

Notre Dame stands first in the third set of fall sports standings released in the 2004-05 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors’ Cup). This marks the first time in the 12-year history of the all-sports program that Notre Dame has ranked number one. The previous highest ranking for the Irish was second in the 2004-05 second set of fall standings. Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 337 points based on their NCAA title in women’s soccer (100 points), their fourth-place finish in women’s cross country (80), 11th-place finish in men’s cross country (57) and second-round NCAA appearances in men’s soccer and volleyball (50 each). The current school rankings.

1. Notre Dame, 337
2. Michigan, 333
3. Stanford 332
4. Duke 327
5. UCLA 297
6. Maryland 280
7. Ohio State, 276
8. Colorado 275
9. Texas, 262
10.Wisconsin 251

In previous years, Notre Dame has finished 11th in ’93-’94, 30th in ’94-’95, 11th in ’95-’96, 14th in ’96-’97, 31st in ’97-’98, 25th in ’98-99, 21st in ’99-’00, 11th in ’00-’01, 13th in ’01-02 and ’02-’03 and 19th in ’03-’04.

Two former Notre Dame hockey players helped the United States win the gold medal in the recent Deutschland Cup tournament held in Hannover, Germany. Forward Yan Stastny, currently playing for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in Germany, collected a goal and an assist in the four games. Defenseman Mark Eaton, currently a member of the Nashville Predators, scored a power-play goal in the gold medal game vrsus Slovakia. The U.S. defeated Germany, 5-1, lost to Canada, 5-3, defeated Switzerland, 4-2 and then shutout Slovakia, 4-0, to finish 3-1 in the tournament. The U.S. ended tied with Canada with 3-1 records, but received the gold medal due to greater goal differential over the four games.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team had a season to remember in 2003-04. The Irish advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s 36-year history with a 20-15-4 overall record. In their first trip to the tournament, the Irish dropped a 5-2 decision to two-time NCAA defending champion Minnesota in the Grand Rapids Regional.

Former Notre Dame hockey All-American, Greg Meredith (1976-80) was one of six NCAA Silver Anniversary Award recipients at the NCAA Convention in Dallas, Tex., Jan. 9. The Silver Anniversary Award recognizes former student-athletes who have distinguished themselves since completing their college careers 25 years ago. Meredith is Notre Dame’s all-time leading goal scorer with 104 goals in 149 career games. He is also tops in power-play goals (43) and seventh in all-time points with 192 for his career. He is just one of two players ever to score 40 goals in a season (1979-80) at Notre Dame. A four-year letterwinner with the Irish, Meredith was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and was an NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient. He is currently the managing director for Putnam Lovell NBF Securities Inc., and has held positions with Salomon Brothers, Inc., Nationsbanc Capital Markets, Inc., and Fenway Partners, Inc. From 2001 to 2003, he served as president and chief executive officer at HSBC Capital and was also president and CEO of Printvision, a software company from 2002-03. In addition, Meredith is the founder and president of Proctor Capital, a private investment and strategic advisory firm. He played four years in the NHL for the Calgary Flames and was an assistant coach at Harvard. Meredith currently coaches the St. David’s hockey program for boys and girls between 9 and 11 years of age. He formed the Meredith Family Foundation in 1997, which contributes to programs such as the LOGAN Center, which provides services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, the St. Joseph’s County Special Olympics, and Camp Millhouse, a summer camp for children with significant intellectual disabilities. In addition, the organization funds educational initiatives including the Paul E. Meredith scholarships at Notre Dame. Meredith is the 10th former Irish athlete to receive the award that was started in 1973.

Six members of the Notre Dame hockey team made a homecoming of sorts when the Irish faced Michigan Tech in Green Bay, Wis., on Jan. 18. Five players and one assistant coach spent parts of their hockey careers in the Land of Lombardi with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Senior defenseman Joe Zurenko (Palatine, Ill.) played for the Gamblers during the ’00-’01 season and sophomore blueliners Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) were teammates there in ’02-’03. Second-year assistant coach Layne LeBel also spent two seasons (’01-’03) with the Gamblers. Freshmen right wing Victor Oreskovich (Oakville, Ont.) and defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill) also played in Green Bay, Oreskovich in ’03-’04 while VeNard played three seasons there from ’01-’04.

Three members of the Notre Dame freshman class saw action with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm during the ’03-’04 season. Defensemen Brian D’Arcy (Western Springs, Ill.) and Luke Lucyk (Fox Point, Wis.) were members of the Storm’s highly ranked defense. Forward Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) was a key contributor to the USHL’s regular-season champions. Van Guilder was fifth on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points in 60 games. In 11 playoff games, Van Guilder added three goals and two assists for five points. D’Arcy saw his season cut short due to injuries, playing in 32 games with no goals and two assists to go with 36 penalty minutes. Lucyk was a regular on the defense with a goal and nine assists for 10 points in 60 games.

Notre Dame’s current roster includes four 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 13 NTDP alums grace their roster. The current contingent includes junior Tim Wallace and sophomores Noah Babin, Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.) and Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.). 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).

The 2003-04 Notre Dame hockey team features players from nine states and four Canadian provinces – Alberta, British Columbia,Ontario and Saskatchewan. In the nine-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin, the Notre Dame hockey letter winners have hailed from 20 different states and provinces – those listed below, plus: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

Michigan (6): Chris Trick, Mike Walsh, Jason Paige, Josh Sciba, Evan Rankin, Andrew Eggert
Illinois (4): Joe Zurenko, Michael Bartlett, Brian D’Arcy, Dan VeNard
Minnesota (3): Tony Gill, T.J. Jindra, Mark Van Guilder
Alberta (2): Matt Williams-Kovacs, Brock Sheahan
Ontario (3): David Brown, Wes O’Neill, Victor Oreskovich
Alaska (1): Tim Wallace
British Columbia (1): Matt Amado
Florida (1): Noah Babin
Massachusetts (1): Rory Walsh
North Dakota (1): Cory McLean
Saskatchewan (1): Morgan Cey
Wisconsin (1): Luke Lucyk

Notre Dame assistant coach, Andy Slaggert, served as the head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team that finished second at the Five Nation’s Tournament from Aug. 24-28 in Halle, Germany. The U.S. Team’s lone loss came to the Czech Republic (the eventual winners). This was Slaggert’s second international appearance with USA Hockey as he served as assistant coach on the 2003 gold-medal winning team at the World Under-18 Select Tournament held in the Czech Republic. The 12-year assistant at Notre Dame has been involved in coaching with USA Hockey since the 1996-97 season.