Oct. 5, 2004
* The Games: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (20-15-4) vs. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (28-13-4)
* Date/Site/Times: Thursday-Friday, October 7-8, 2004; 7:35 p.m. – 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.
IRISH HOCKEY RETURNS:
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (20-15-4 in ’03-’04) return to action for their 37th season on Thursday-Friday, Oct. 7-8 when they play host to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (28-13-4 in ’03-’04) at the Joyce Center. Game time both nights is 7:35 p.m. The Irish are coming off their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04 when they advanced for the first time in the 36-year history of the Notre Dame hockey program. Notre Dame finished fifth in the CCHA (14-11-3) during the regular season, defeated Western Michigan, two games to one in the first round of the CCHA playoffs, then lost in the first game of the CCHA Super Six, 6-5 in overtime to Ohio State. At the NCAA Midwest Regional, the Irish fell to third-ranked Minnesota, 5-2. Minnesota-Duluth also had a successful 2003-04 season as the Bulldogs finished the year 28-13-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. They were second in the WCHA regular season with a 19-7-2 record and finished third at the WCHA Tournament. At the NCAA Midwest Regional, the Bulldogs downed Michigan State, 5-0, and then Minnesota, 3-1. They then dropped a 5-3 decision to Denver in the NCAA semifinals. Minnesota-Duluth finished the season ranked fifth in the nation while the Irish were 12th in the national polls.
IRISH VS. BULLDOGS:
These two teams have met 29 times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 17-9-3 edge. From 1971-81, the two teams met on a regular basis as members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) with Notre Dame holding a 16-7-1 edge in those games. The last time the Bulldogs visited the Joyce Center, Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin was a sophomore center for the Irish and the U.S. hockey team had yet to beat the Soviets at Lake Placid. The series was played Feb. 9-10, 1980 with UMD taking 7-6 and 9-8 wins versus the Irish. Poulin faced the Bulldogs a total of eight times as a player from 1978-81 helping the Irish to a 5-3 record in those games while scoring five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. The last time the two teams met was the season opener for the 2002-03 campaign in Duluth, Minn. The first game of the series ended in a 2-2 tie and then the Irish won the second game, 5-3. In the 2-2 tie, now junior Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) scored his first career goal on his first career shot. Morgan Cey (Sr., Wilkie, Sask.) made 37 saves in that game. In the 5-3 win, Rob Globke (’04) had his first career hat trick and John Wroblewski (’03) scored twice in front of goaltender Tony Zasowski (’03).
Notre Dame owns a 19-16-1 all-time record in season-opening games. In home openers, the Irish are 20-16-0. Last season, the Irish opened on the road, taking a 5-2 decision versus Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Notre Dame dropped its 2003-04 home opener to Bowling Green by a 5-3 score. Head coach Dave Poulin owns a 4-4-1 record in season openers and is 5-4-0 in home openers in his first nine years behind the Irish bench. The series versus Minnesota-Duluth marks the second time in 37 seasons that the Irish have opened a season against the Bulldogs. The first time was the 2002-03 season.
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.
The Irish played their annual Blue-Gold game on Sunday, Oct. 3 with the Blue squad taking a 6-3 decision from the Gold. Matt Williams-Kovacs (So., Calgary, Alb.) and Mike Walsh each scored two goals for the Blue team. With the score tied 2-2 after the first 20-minute half, the Blue scored four times in the final 8:04 for the win. Brad Wanchulak (Sr., Edson, Alb.) and Matt Amado (Jr., Surrey, B.C.) added insurance goals in the win. The Gold team got goals from Tony Gill (Jr., Rochester, Minn.), Tim Wallace and Josh Sciba (So., Westland, Mich.). Goaltender Morgan Cey (Sr., Wilkie, Sask.) stopped 20 of 23 shots in the 31:02 that he played. Freshman walk-on Terry Richardson (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) stopped all three shots he faced in the final 8:58 to get the win for the Blue. Sophomore David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) played 23:25 for the Gold, stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced. Rory Walsh (Jr., Milton, Mass.) played the final 16:35 for the Gold and stopped 11 of 15 shots to suffer the loss. The Blue team received the Edward Slaggert Award as the winning team in the Blue-Gold game and Williams-Kovacs received the George Komadoski Trophy that goes to the Most Valuable Player in the Blue-Gold game.
HOME SWEET HOME:
The Irish come into the Minnesota-Duluth series with a 14-game regular-season (12-0-2) unbeaten streak at the Joyce Center. The Irish have not lost a regular-season home game since the home opener last Oct. 17 versus Bowling Green. Notre Dame’s last home loss came on March 13 in game two of the first round of the CCHA playoffs to Western Michigan (4-0). For the entire season, the Irish were 14-2-2 at the Joyce Center, their best record since 1987-88, when that year’s Irish squad was 18-2-0 on home ice. Included in the 2003-04 home record was a pair of five-game winning streaks and a 15-game unbeaten streak (13-0-2) from Oct. 30 through Mar. 13. The previous-best home-unbeaten streak was also set in 1987-88 (15-0-0 between Dec. 11 and March 5 of that season).
BEATING THE BEST:
During the 2003-04 season, Notre Dame turned in a 5-1-1 record versus teams ranked fifth in the nation or better. The Irish defeated top-ranked Boston College (1-0), third-ranked Maine (1-0), fourth-ranked Wisconsin (3-1) and then took two from fourth-ranked Michigan (4-1 and 5-2). Notre Dame also tied Wisconsin (2-2). The lone loss versus a top-ranked team came in the NCAA regionals, a 5-2 loss to third-ranked Minnesota. For the year, the Irish were 6-6-1 versus nationally ranked teams.
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.
The Fighting Irish have been involved in 41 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 season. In those games, they are 6-5-30. 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 12 overtime games (0-2-10).
PRESEASON CCHA POLLS:
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) announced the results of it’s coaches and media preseason polls at Media Day in Detroit on Sept. 28. In the annual polls, Notre Dame was picked to finish sixth by the coaches and fifth by the media.
CCHA Coaches Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Michigan (10) 1202. Michigan State (2) 1123. Northern Michigan 994. Miami 86 5. Ohio State 826. Notre Dame 667. Western Michigan 548. Ferris State 509. Bowling Green 4910. Lake Superior State 2711. Alaska Fairbanks 2512. Nebraska-Omaha 23
CCHA Media Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Michigan (48) 6622. Michigan State (6) 5893. Miami (1) 5184. Ohio State (1) 5175. Notre Dame 4236. Northern Michigan 4107. Western Michigan 2668. Bowling Green 2459. Alaska Fairbanks 39110. Ferris State 76211. Lake Superior State 14212. Nebraska-Omaha 126
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.
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.
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 (Essex, Ont.) 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.
Sophomore right wing Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) has played in all 79 games during his first two 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.
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) – have played a total of 201 career games.
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.
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.
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.)
The Irish lost three former Developmental program players to graduation – Rob Globke, Neil Komadoski and Brett Lebda, while a fourth, current senior Derek Smith was forced to retire from hockey due to post-concussion syndrome.
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 (Palentine, 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.
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.
2004-05 NOTRE DAME HOCKEY – BY STATE OR PROVINCE:
Minnesota (3): Tony Gill, T.J. Jindra, Mark Van Guilder
Alberta (3): Brad Wanchulak, Matt Williams-Kovacs, Brock Sheahan
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.
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.