March 1, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. –
â€¢ The Series: Notre Dame (13-17-4/11-13-4) vs. Alaska Fairbanks (15-14-5/11-13-4)
â€¢ Date/Site/Times: Fri.-Sun., March 3-5, 2006 – 7:35 p.m./7:05 p.m./7:05 p.m. – Joyce Center (2,713)
â€¢ Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1580, South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, “the voice of Irish hockey” and Chris Duve will bring you all the play-by-play action.
â€¢ Internet Broadcast: At the Notre Dame website – www.und.com.
THE SECOND SEASON BEGINS: Notre Dame and Alaska Fairbanks battled last weekend for home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs in a series at the Joyce Center. The Irish won Friday’s game by a 4-1 margin while the Nanooks took Saturday’s game with a 2-1 win. The total goals for the series was in favor of Notre Dame (5-3) and after all was said and done around the CCHA on Saturday night, it came down to that tiebreaker – total goals in head-to-head games – to keep the Irish at home and the Nanooks on the road in South Bend for another week. The two teams will square off in the opening round, best-of-three series, beginning on Friday night, March 3, at the Joyce Center. Friday’s first game has a 7:35 p.m. starting time while Saturday’s contest and Sunday’s, if necessary, will faceoff at 7:05 p.m. Last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Nanooks snapped Notre Dame’s five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) that started on Feb. 10 vs. Ferris State. The Irish finished the regular season with a 13-17-4 overall record and were 11-13-4 in the CCHA, good for 26 points and a tie for eighth place. Alaska Fairbanks closed the regular season with a 15-14-5 overall record and was 11-13-4 in the CCHA with 26 points to tie the Irish for eighth. Following this weekend’s series, the winner advances to the second round of the playoffs versus one of four teams (Miami, Michigan State, Michigan or Northern Michigan) that have first-round byes. The loser is done for the season.
IRISH VERSUS NANOOKS: Notre Dame and Alaska Fairbanks have met 37 times in the all-time series with the Nanooks holding an 18-16-3 edge. At the Joyce Center, Notre Dame is 9-6-1 versus Alaska Fairbanks. The two teams split this season’s series with the Irish winning, 4-1, on Feb. 24 and then the Nanooks taking a 2-1 win on Feb. 25. The Irish are now 2-1-1 in the last four meetings at the Joyce Center versus Alaska Fairbanks. The two teams have never met in postseason play.
IRISH PLAYOFF HISTORY: Notre Dame comes into the series with Alaska Fairbanks with a 13-23 record in CCHA playoff action. The Irish have advanced to Joe Louis Arena in four of the last six seasons. Last year, the Irish were the 12th seed and dropped two straight to No. 1 Michigan by 10-1 and 1-0 in overtime scores. The last best-of-three series won by Notre Dame came in 2003-04 when the Irish defeated Western Michigan, two games to one at the Joyce Center. The heroes in that game are still with the team – Jason Paige (Jr., Saginaw, Mich.) scored the game winner 12:35 into overtime, Tim Wallace (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska) had two goals and one assist and goaltender David Brown (Jr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) made 33 saves in the 5-4 win.
RBK FINANCIAL SERVICES PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Goaltender David Brown has been named the RBK Financial Services player of the month for February after helping guide Notre Dame to a home-ice playoff spot. Brown played seven of Notre Dame’s eight games in the month, going 3-3-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. Of the 12 goals he gave up in the month, seven were power-play goals. In his three losses, Notre Dame scored just four goals. The lone game he missed was due to the flu and he had a personal four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) during the month. He comes into the CCHA playofs with a 9-14-4 overall record, a 2.50 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.
PLAYOFF SUCCESS: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson has not been in the CCHA playoffs since leaving Lake Superior in 1996 but is well known for his successes there in a six-year span from 1990-96. Jackson owns a 24-2 all-time record in the CCHA playoffs, advancing to the championship game for six straight years. His only two losses came in the CCHA title game, with his Lake Superior State Lakers, taking four league titles.
TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT: In six of Notre Dame’s last seven first-round playoff appearances, the series has gone all three games. The Irish have won four series while losing two. Last year’s 2-0 loss at Michigan, snapped a run of six straight years with three-game series. Prior to last season, the Irish had won three straight best-of-three series – 2004 vs. Western Michigan, 2003 vs. Miami and 2002 vs. Nebraska-Omaha. Only the Western Michigan series was played at home.
ALASKA FAIRBANKS SERIES RECAP: On Saturday night at the Joyce Center all the scoring came in the first seven minutes of action in Alaska Fairbanks’ 2-1 win. Junior defenseman Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.) gave the Irish a 1-0 lead just 1:24 into the game off an assist by Michael Bartlett (Jr., Morton Grove, Ill.). The score stayed that way until UAF scored twice in a 48-second span. Aaron Lee tied the game at 6:10 with his seventh goal of the year and Kyle Greentree made it 2-1 at 6:58 to close out the scoring. Goaltender Wylie Rogers made 24 saves for the Nanooks while David Brown had 34 for the Irish. Both teams wer 0-for-3 on the power play. On Friday night, the Irish built the lead that would eventually give them the tiebreaker in the series as they scored three first-period goals on the way to the 4-1 win. Michael Bartlett, Evan Rankin (So., Portage, Mich.) and Garrett Regan (Fr., Hastings, Minn.) scored for Notre Dame, offsetting Steve Van oosten’s goal at 11:47 of the period. Tim Wallace closed the Irish scoring in the third period with his 11th goal of the season. David Brown stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced for the win. Both teams had 19 shots on goal in the game. Notre Dame was 0-for-6 on the power play while Alaska Fairbanks was 0-for-4.
ON A ROLL: After starting the season with a 1-5-0 record, the Irish were 12-12-4 over the final 28 regular-season games. Since Dec. 3, Notre Dame was 10-8-3. On the road, Notre Dame started the year with an 0-5-1 mark and then finished the year by going 6-3-2 in its final 11 road games.
STREAKING IRISH: The Irish closed the season by going 4-1-1 in their final six games. The five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) from Feb. 10 to Feb. 24 was the longest for Notre Dame since Nov. 8-29, 2003 when the Irish were 3-0-2 with a tie at Michigan State, a win and a tie at home with Lake Superior and two wins at home versus Northern Michigan.
SLUMP BUSTERS: Freshman Garrett Regan collected the first two-point (1-1-2) game of his Irish career with a goal and an assist on Friday night in the win over Alaska Fairbanks. His first-period goal snapped a 22-game, goal-scoring drought for the Minnesota native. Regan’s last goal came on Nov. 4 in an 8-5 loss to Michigan. Junior left wing Michael Bartlett also snapped a 22-game goal-scoring slump with his first-period goal against the Nanooks. Bartlett’s last goal came on Nov. 5 at Michigan. Bartlett added an assist in Saturday’s game to give him a two-game point streak (1-1-2).
SUPER SUPPORT: Notre Dame closed the second half of the 2005-06 season by playing in front of four sellouts (2,763) in its final five games of the year at the Joyce Center. That gives the Irish five sellouts among their 18 home games. The lone non-sellout crowd was 2,173 on Feb. 24, game one of the Alaska Fairbanks series.
IRON MEN: Senior right wing Tim Wallace closed the regular season by playing in all 151 games of his career, making him Notre Dame’s all-time “Iron Man.” Wallace goes into the CCHA playoffs tied for sixth on the all-time games-played list with former teammate Cory McLean `05. Here’s the list in front of Wallace:
Name Games Played1. Dan Carlson (1997-01) 1582. Evan Neilsen (1999-03) 1563. Aaron Gill (2000-04) 1534. Brett Lebda (2000-04) 152 John Schmidt (1978-82) 1526. Tim Wallace (2002-06) 151 Cory McLean (2001-05) 151
The Irish have two other players with streaks of 50 or more consecutive games. That list includes:
Mark Van Guilder – 72 games
Mike Walsh – 67 games
Van Guilder joins Wallace as the only two players with two or more years experience on the Irish roster who have not missed a game during their careers.
PENALTY KILLERS: For just the second time this season, Notre Dame’s penalty killers held the opposition without a power-play goal for an entire series. Alaska Fairbanks was 0-for-4 on Friday and 0-for-3 on Saturday. That helped raised the Irish penalty-killing rate to 80.6 % on the season. The only other time the Irish slammed the door like that was at Miami in January when Notre Dame went 17-for-17 on penalty kills for the weekend.
CCHA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.) was named the CCHA offensive player of the week for the week ending Feb. 19. In the two games versus Bowling Green, Sciba had three goals and an assist and was +1 with nine shots on goal. In Friday’s 7-4 win, Sciba scored two goals, one on the power play and added an assist for his three-point game. In Saturday’s 1-1 tie, Sciba scored the game-tying goal at 11:43 of the third period to give the Irish the tie. His power-play goal on Feb. 18 was his CCHA -leading 10th of the season.
CCHA GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK: Junior goaltender David Brown was named the RBK/CCHA goaltender of the week for the week ending Feb. 13. Brown stopped 55-of-58 shots (.948) in leading the Irish to a home-and-home sweep of Ferris State. In Friday’s 4-1 win, Brown made 26 saves. On Saturday, at Ferris State, Brown stopped 29-of-31 shots on the way to a 3-2 win. All three goals against on the weekend came on the power play.
PEARCE TO THE RESCUE: Freshman goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) made his first start since Dec. 2 in the 7-4 win over Bowling Green. It was just his second appearance since that Dec. 2 start as junior David Brown started 22 straight until coming down with the flu for the game on Feb. 17. Pearce stopped a career-high 34 shots in the victory over the Falcons. On Jan. 21, at Northern Michigan, he came off the bench with the Irish trailing, 3-1, making 14 saves over the final 33:13 to pick up the 4-3 win. In his two appearances since Dec. 2, Pearce is 2-0-0 with a 3.86 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.
A MARK FOR VAN GUILDER: Sophomore center Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) picked up the first hat trick of his career in the 7-4 win over Bowling Green on Feb. 17. Van Guilder scored twice on the power play and once at even strength . His four-point game, coupled with Erik Condra’s four-assist night were the first four-point games by a Notre Dame player since Aaron Gill `04 (3g, 1a) and Rob Globke `04 (1g, 3a) had four points on March 18, 2004 in the CCHA Super Six in a 6-5 overtime loss to Ohio State. He now has five multiple-point games on the season and is third on the Irish roster in scoring with career highs in goals (8), assists (18), points (26), power-play goals (6), short-handed goals (1) and game winners (1).
ROOKIE SUCCESS: Freshman right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) picked up a career-high four assists in the 7-4 win versus Bowling Green on Feb. 17. The four-assist game was the first by a Notre Dame player since Nov. 2, 2001 when Connor Dunlop `03 had four in a 5-4 win at Northern Michigan. With six goals and 28 assists for 34 points, freshman Erik Condra leads the Irish in scoring. His 34 points are the most by a Notre Dame freshman since Jamie Ling `96 recorded 40 in his rookie year. Ling is also the last Notre Dame freshman to lead the team in scoring when he had those 40 points in the 1992-93 season.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Freshman right wing Erik Condra not only leads Notre Dame in scoring, but also leads all CCHA rookies in scoring with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points on the year. He goes into the first round of the playoffs, four points ahead of Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson (9-21-29) in rookie scoring. Nationally, Condra is tied for sixth among rookies with 34 points (1.00 ppg). He now has eight games this season with two or more points and owns Notre Dame’s longest point streak of the season – six games (2-8-10). Condra is tied for 10th in the CCHA in scoring and is fourth in assists.
TOP CITIZEN: Notre Dame senior defenseman Chris Trick (Troy, Mich.) is one of seven finalists for college hockey’s Humanitarian Award that is awarded each year to college hockey’s top citizen. An assistant captain with the Irish, Trick oversees the team’s community service projects. He has been a two-year member of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and has been the team’s organizer for various community service projects the last two seasons. Away from Notre Dame, Trick has worked with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association’s (MAHA) Great Lakes Sled Dogs, a sled hockey program in Fraser, Mich, playing for the team, coaching and helping in fund-raising efforts. The Hockey Humanitarian Award is awarded every year at the NCAA Frozen Four in April.