Oct. 27, 2004
* The Series: Notre Dame (1-3-1/0-2-0) vs. #15/#15 Northern Michigan Wildcats (3-1-0/2-0-0)
* Date/Site/Times: Fri.-Sat., Oct. 29-30, 2004 – 7:35 p.m./7:05 p.m. (EST) – Joyce Center (2,713)
* Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame games can be heard 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.
WILDCATS MAKE IT FOUR STRAIGHT:
For the fourth consecutive week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face a nationally ranked team. The Northern Michigan Wildcats come into the week ranked 15th nationally in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and the USCHO/College Sports Online polls. Through the first five games of the season, Notre Dame has faced Minnesota-Duluth (ranked fourth at the time, No. 1 now), No. 9/10 Miami and No. 1 Boston College. The Irish are 1-3-1 overall with a win last Friday versus top-ranked Boston College (3-2) and a 2-2 tie on opening night versus Minnesota-Duluth. Northern Michigan comes into the weekend with a 3-1-0 overall mark after splitting the opening weekend at St. Cloud State before sweeping Michigan State at home last weekend by 3-2 and 4-1 scores. During the 2003-04 season, Notre Dame and Northern Michigan split four games with each team winning a pair on home ice. In late November, the Irish prevailed 5-1 and 4-2 while the Wildcats took a 4-3 overtime decision and a 1-0 shutout in Marquette, Mich., in late January. Following the weekend with the Wildcats, Notre Dame takes to the road on Thursday, Nov. 4 when the Irish travel to Bowling Green for a 7:05 p.m. game. The following night, Nov. 5, the Falcons visit the Joyce Center for a 7:35 p.m. game.
IRISH VERSUS WILDCATS:
This weekend’s series will mark the 31st and 32nd meetings in the all-time series between the two teams. Northern Michigan owns a 16-10-4 lead in the first 30 meetings. At the Joyce Center, Northern has an 8-7-2 lead while in Marquette, the Wildcats are 7-3-2 versus the Irish. The two teams split four contests last season with both teams winning a pair on home ice. Notre Dame’s sweep of Northern Michigan on Nov. 28-29, 2003 was its first at the Joyce Center since Feb. 27-28, 1998. In the last five meetings at the Joyce Center, dating back to the 2000-01 season, the Irish are 3-1-1 versus the Wildcats. A year ago, David Brown (So., Stoney Creek, Ont.) led the Irish with a 2-1-0 record in three games, giving up just four goals (the loss was 1-0). He had a 1.33 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.
THE PUCK STOPS HERE:
Notre Dame senior goaltender Morgan Cey (Wilkie, Sask.) was named the CCHA’s goaltender of the week and USCHO.com’s defensive player of the week for the week ending Oct. 24th. Cey recorded a career-high 50 saves in downing the top-ranked Boston College Eagles, 3-2, at the Joyce Center on Oct. 22. Twenty-eight of his saves came on 11 BC power-play chances. The 6-3, 177-pound goaltender made 20 saves in the first period, 10 in the second and 20 in the third period. The win gives Cey a 1-1-1 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.
BEATING THE BEST:
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
ON THE SIDELINES:
Notre Dame will be without the services of sophomore center Matt Williams-Kovacs (Calgary, Alb.) who suffered a broken left ankle in the first period of the Oct. 16 game versus Miami. He had surgery on Monday, Oct. 18 and is out six to eight weeks. Junior left wing Mike Walsh has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. He is day-to-day.
Notre Dame’s 1-3-1 start is its worst since opening the 2001-02 season with an 0-4-1 record. The eight goals scored in the first five games by the Irish are the fewest for Notre Dame after five games in the first 37 years of the program.
Senior forward Brad Wanchulak (Edson, Alb.) is no longer with the team. He will remain in school at Notre Dame and is on schedule to graduate from the University in May of 2004. Wanchulak played in 104 games for the Irish and had seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points in his career.
Freshman forward Andrew Eggert (Livonia, Mich.) has been added to the roster. The 5-9, 173-pound left-handed shooting forward split time last year with the Cleveland Barons (NAHL) and the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL). He picked up an assist in the annual Blue-Gold game played on Oct. 3rd.
BOSTON COLLEGE RECAP:
Sophomore right wing T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) scored a short-handed, game-winning goal with 14.6 seconds left to snap a 2-2 tie and give Notre Dame a 3-2 win over No. 1 ranked Boston College on Oct. 22. Goaltender Morgan Cey stole the win for the Irish, making a career-high 50 saves in the game, including 28 on 11 Eagle power-play chances. Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) got the Irish on the board first with a second-period power-play goal, his first of the season at 5:32. Freshman Evan Rankin (Portage, Mich.) recorded his first collegiate goal at 8:05 of the second stanza as he scored on a 2-on-1 with Matt Amado (Jr., Surrey, B.C.). The score stayed that way until the 12:16 mark of the third period when Brian Boyle broke through on Cey with a power-play goal. Fifteen seconds later, Dave Spina tied the game as he scored on a shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. With less than a minute to go in the game, Tim Wallace (Jr., Anchorage, Alaska) was called for charging. With the Eagles on the power play, O’Neill broke up a pass in front of his own goal and instead of icing it, found Jindra all alone in the neutral zone. Jindra held off a Boston College defender and fired a wrist shot past Matti Kaltiainen for the game winner. The Eagles outshot the Irish, 52-17 in the game. BC was 1-for-11 on the power play and the Irish were 1-of-9.
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. For Cey, the win was the 36th of his Notre Dame career, tying him for fifth on the all-time wins list with Bob McNamara (1979-83).
WES FOR THE DEFENSE:
Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill paced the Irish both offensively and defensively in the win over Boston College. O’Neill scored the first goal via the power play and then set up T.J. Jindra’s short-handed game winner with 14.6 seconds left by breaking up a BC pass in front of his goal and then finding Jindra alone at center ice. The two-point game was the third of O’Neill’s career. Through five games, he leads the Irish in scoring with a goal and four assists for five points.
Freshman right wing Evan Rankin scored the first goal of his Notre Dame career with a second-period goal versus Boston College. He also became the first Irish freshman to score a goal during the 2004-05 season.
Wes O’Neill’s second period power-play goal versus Boston College came on a 5-on-3 Notre Dame power play. It marked the third time this season that the Irish scored 5-on-3 after scoring two in 39 games last season. Through five games this year, Notre Dame and its opponents have been involved in six, 5-on-3 power-play goals (ND has three, opponents have three). BISCUIT BARRAGE: 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.
DOING IT THE HARD WAY:
Sophomore right wing T.J. Jindra picked up the third short-handed goal of his Notre Dame career versus Boston College. In 44 career games, Jindra now has scored five goals with three of them coming a man down. He also has three game winners in his career with two of them coming short-handed.
BLOWING THE WHISTLE:
In the first five games of 2003-04, Notre Dame averaged 7.0 penalties for 14.0 penalty minutes per game. Opponents averaged 7.4 penalties for 14.8 minutes a game. After five games this season, the Irish are averaging 12.5 penalties for 25.0 minutes and opponents are averaging 14.0 penalties for 29.5 minutes.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
Notre Dame’s loss to Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 8 snapped a 15-game (12-0-3) regular-season home unbeaten at the Joyce Center. The last time the Irish had lost a regular-season home game at the Joyce Center was on Oct. 17, 2003 versus Bowling Green. Notre Dame was 14-2-2 at the Joyce Center last season and the win over Boston College moves the Irish to 1-1-1 at home this year and 15-3-3 in their last 21 games at home. The 2003-04 home record of 14-2-2 was the best for the Irish since 1987-88 when that year’s Irish squad was 18-2-0 on home ice.
FIT TO BE TIED:
The Fighting Irish have been involved in 42 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 season. In those games, they are 6-5-31. 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. The Irish have not won a regular-season overtime game since Jan. 25, 2002 at Miami, a span of 13 overtime games (0-2-11). FOR OPENERS: Notre Dame owns a 19-16-2 all-time record in season-opening games. In home openers, the Irish are 20-16-1. Head coach Dave Poulin owns a 4-4-2 record in season openers and is 5-4-1 in home openers in his first 10 years behind the Irish bench.
Through the first five games of the 2004-05 season, the Irish have struggled on the power play, scoring just four times in 51 chances for a 7.8% success rate. Last year, the Notre Dame power play clicked at a 17.8% rate, scoring 32 times in 180 chances. On the penalty kill, the Irish have given up nine power-play goals in the first five games (six of those came in two games at Miami) and for the year are just 38 of 47 killing penalties (80.8%). Last season, Notre Dame was tops in the CCHA and fourth in the nation with an 87.4% penalty killing ratio.
THE CEY HEY KID:
Senior goaltender Morgan Cey has gotten off to a strong start in his final year with the Irish. His 50-save, 3-2 win over Boston College was his first win of the year. Overall, he is 1-1-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. Of the seven goals, Cey has surrendered this year, five have been power-play goals.
Sophomore goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) has split the goaltending with Morgan Cey through the first two games of the season. He is 0-2-0 with a 4.50 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage. In the 5-0 loss at Miami, Brown made a season-high 38 saves while keeping the Irish in the game. Four of the nine goals he’s surrendered this year have also been power-play goals.
Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill leads the Irish in scoring after five games with a goal and four assists on the season. Junior Chris Trick (Troy, Mich.), sophomore Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and freshman Brock Sheahan (Lethbridge, Alb.) have the other assists for the Irish. Through five games, the Irish defense has eight of Notre Dame’s 21 points.
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.
Sophomore Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.) leads Notre Dame with two goals this season. Sciba scored on the power play at Miami on Oct. 15 for his first power-play goal of the season. As a freshman, Sciba was second among rookie scorers with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.
Junior center Matt Amado recorded his first career power-play goal on Oct. 7 in the 2-2 with Minnesota-Duluth. The goal gave the Irish a 1-0 lead. Amado has played in 68 games in his career and has 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points.
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.
Notre Dame goaltenders David Brown and Morgan Cey each turned in career-best shutout streaks during the 2003-04 season. Brown set a Notre Dame record with his streak of 193:27, set between Oct. 17 and Nov. 8. In his streak, Brown shutout Bowling Green (10/18), Boston College (10/24) and Nebraska-Omaha (10/31) over three consecutive starts. Cey set his mark of 158:53 between Dec. 29 and Jan. 9. Included in his back-to-back shutouts were 1-0 blankings of Maine (12/28) and Findlay (1/3). Cey previously held the Irish record with a run of 149:17 and set in the 2003 CCHA playoffs.
Sophomore right wing Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) has now played in all 84 games in his first two-plus seasons at Notre Dame. The Irish record for consecutive games played belongs to former defenseman Evan Nielsen (’03) who played in 114 consecutive games between his sophomore and senior seasons. Nielsen missed just two games in his career, playing in 156 of 158 games. Wallace played in all 40 games as a freshman and all 39 Irish games in 2003-04. The big left wing has a goal and two assists for three points in the first five games of 2004-05.
Notre Dame’s outstanding goaltending duo of senior Morgan Cey (Wilkie, Sask.) and sophomore David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) combined to set Notre Dame records for the lowest goals-against average and save percentage in a season during the 2003-04 season. Along with junior Rory Walsh (Milton, Mass.), the trio combined to turn in school record 2.48 goals-against average and .922 save percentages over 39 games. The previous Notre Dame record for goals- against average (2.60) came in the 1999-00 season and the previous best save percentage (.910) came in the 2002-03 campaign. Cey was 5-7-1 on the year with a career-best goals against (2.42) and save percentage (.924). Brown was 14-7-3 overall and set Irish records with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. The freshman puck stopper also set a Notre Dame record with four shutouts on the year. Cey added a pair of whitewashings on the year to give him a school record six shutouts for his career. Walsh was 1-1-0 on the year with a 3.53 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.
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.
Sophomore defenseman Wes O’Neill was one of 44 players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp that was held in Calgary, Alberta from August 12-19. O’Neill is the lone collegiate player invited to the camp in hopes of being selected to Canada’s World Junior team this December. The 6-4, 217-pound blueliner was a member of Canada’s Under-18 team last April at the Under-18 World Championships in Belarus. He also played for Team Ontario at the Under-17 World Championships in February of 2003. As a freshman at Notre Dame, O’Neill played in all 39 games with two goals and 10 assists for 12 points. His +7 plus/minus rating was tops among Irish defensemen.
FOUR OF FIVE:
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.
Two Irish junior hockey players – Rory Walsh (Milton, Mass.) 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’s defensive corps will go from one of the most experienced in the league to one of the youngest as the Irish graduated four senior defensemen. Between them, Tom Galvin (142), Neil Komadoski (146), Brett Lebda (152) and T.J. Mathieson (46) combined to play 486 career games. The four returning defensemen – senior Joe Zurenko (73), junior Chris Trick (58), and sophomores Wes O’Neill (39) and Noah Babin (31) – played just 201 career games prior to the start of 2004-05.
Notre Dame’s current roster includes four players who have past experience with USA Hockey, as members of the National Team Development Program (NTDP) and/or the National Junior Team. 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 (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Michael Bartlett (Morton Grove, Ill.) and Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.)
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. Six members of the current Notre Dame team have played in the Land of Lombardi. Senior defenseman Joe Zurenko (Palatine, Ill.) played there during the ’00-’01 season and sophomore blueliners Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Wes O’Neill were teammates there in ’02-’03. Second-year assistant coach Layne LeBel also spent two seasons (’01-’03) with the Gamblers. Joining the Irish this season is right wing Victor Oreskovich and defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill). In 58 games with the Gamblers, Oreskovich had 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points and played in the league’s Top Prospects all-star game. VeNard spent three seasons in Green Bay. His 2003-04 campaign was cut short by injuries as he had two goals and two assists for four points in 22 games. During the 2004-05 season, the Irish will play a game in Green Bay as they will face Michigan Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at the Resch Center.
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 Pointe, 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 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.
Following the 2003-04 season, five members of the Notre Dame hockey team saw their careers continue on the professional level. Defenseman Neil Komadoski (Chesterfield, Mo.), a third round draft choice of the Ottawa Senators in 2001, signed with Ottawa and finished the season with the Senators’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. Defenseman Brett Lebda (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings and finished the year with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Team captain Aaron Gill (Rochester, Minn.), signed as a free agent with the AHL’s Cleveland Barons and was then signed by the San Jose Sharks following the season. Defenseman Tom Galvin (Miller Place, N.Y.) inked his first pro contract with the East Coast Hockey League’s (ECHL) Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies and finished the year there. Right wing Rob Globke, a second round choice of the Florida Panthers in 2002 signed with the Panthers following the season and will begin his pro career during the 2004-05 campaign.
The CCHA begins its third 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 2004-05, Notre Dame will play Bowling Green, Michigan and Michigan State four times with two games at home and two away. The Irish will also host two-game series with Ferris State, Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Michigan and Ohio State while traveling for two games to Alaska Fairbanks, Lake Superior State, Miami and Western Michigan.
For the first time since as a member of the CCHA, Notre Dame placed three players on the all-CCHA postseason team. Defenseman Brett Lebda and forwards Aaron Gill and Rob Globke were selected second team all-CCHA for the 2003-04 season. Prior to this season, the Irish have had two players named twice. In 1998-99 Benoit Cotnoir (first team) and Ben Simon (second team) were named to the team and in 1981-82, Dave Poulin and John Schmidt were second team selections.
CCHA ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM:
Notre Dame has had at least one player named to the CCHA all-Academic Team in eight of the last nine seasons. Graduated senior Rob Globke (West Bloomfield, Mich.) joined the list following the 2003-04 season as he was selected to the team after turning in a 3.339 grade-point average in Marketing and leading the Irish in scoring with 19 goals and 21 assists. Fellow senior, defenseman T.J. Mathieson (Clarksville, Md.) was an honorable mention selection to the team after turning in a 3.835 grade point in Aerospace Engineering. The lone year the Irish failed to place anyone on the 10-man team was 2002-03. Notre Dame’s other eight first-team CCHA all-Academic team selections since rejoining the CCHA in ’92-’93 are: Curtis Janicke and Carl Picconatto (’92-’93), Garry Gruber (’95-’96), Steve Noble (’96-’97, ’97-’98), Forrest Karr and Aniket Dhadphale (’98-’99), Andy Jurkowski (99′-’00), Dan Carlson (2000-01) and David Inman (2001-02). During that 12-year span, only Western Michigan (14) has produced more CCHA All-Academic selections than Notre Dame’s 11.