May 27, 2016
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The dream of lifting the Stanley Cup in 2016 remains alive for former Notre Dame hockey players Ian Cole and Bryan Rust after the Irish duo helped Pittsburgh to a 2-1, Game 7 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night (May 26) in the Eastern Conference Final at the Consol Energy Center.
Rust proved to be the Game 7 hero, scoring both goals on Thursday night as the Penguins won on the Eastern Conference Championship and lifted the Prince of Wales Trophy for the first time since 2009.
In 41 regular-season games this season, Rust recorded four goals and seven assists for 11 points, but he has proven clutch in the Penguins’ postseason run. The speedy forward now has five goals and three assists for eight points in 17 playoff games.
Rust’s five goals are the most in a playoff year by a Pittsburgh rookie since Michel Briere also had five in the 1970 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rust also became the eighth rookie to score multiple goals in a Game 7, joining Eddie Mazur (1953/Montreal), Milan Marcetta (1968/Minnesota North Stars), Mel Bridgman (1976/Philadelphia), Craig Janney (1988/Boston), Jeremy Roenick (twice in 1990/Chicago), Brad Marchand (2011/Boston) and Adam Henrique (2012/New Jersey).
Cole had another strong series on the Pittsburgh blue line and was among a group of Penguins that had to step up and play bigger roles after fellow defenseman Trevor Daley went down in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final with a broken leg. Cole took at least 19 shifts in each game against the Lightning, notched an assist and finished the series with a +2 rating.
The most recent former Notre Dame player to lift the Stanley Cup was Mark Eaton, a member of the 2009 champion Penguins.
Cole, Rust and the Penguins will now face San Jose in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 of the series is slated for 8 p.m. (ET) on Monday, May 30.
2016 Stanley Cup Final Schedule & Television Coverage
Game 1: Monday, May 30, 8 p.m. San Jose at Pittsburgh NBC
Game 2: Wednesday, June, 1 8 p.m. San Jose at Pittsburgh NBCSN
Game 3: Saturday, June 4, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at San Jose TBD
Game 4: Monday, June 6, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at San Jose TBD
*Game 5: Thursday, June 9, 8 p.m. San Jose at Pittsburgh NBC
*Game 6: Sunday, June 12, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at San Jose NBC
*Game 7: Wednesday, June 15, 8 p.m. San Jose at Pittsburgh NBC
* – If necessary
Notre Dame Stanley Cup Playoff Notes
- Notre Dame also has a connection to the San Jose Sharks as Kevin and Gayla Compton and family were lead donors for the Compton Family Ice Arena. Until 2013, the Comptons were part of the San Jose Sharks’ ownership group.
- With Pittsburgh’s win, former Irish forward Erik Condra was knocked out of contention for the Stanley Cup. Condra was injured in Game 1 of Tampa Bay’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Islanders and did not play against the Penguins.
- Condra and the Lightning defeated Riley Sheahan and the Detroit Red Wings, four games to one, to advance to a second–round series against the New York Islanders, which Tampa Bay also won four games to one.
- Condra, who is in the midst of his sixth NHL season but first with Tampa Bay, played in two games during the first-round series win over Detroit.
- Cole and Rust helped the Pittsburgh Penguins skate past the New York Rangers, four games to one, to advance to a second-round series against the Washington Capitals.
- Rust provided the Game 5 heroics against the Rangers by scoring two goals and adding an assist in the 6-3 victory (April 23), becoming the first rookie in Pittsburgh history to post three points in a playoff game (it was the first career multi-goal game for Rust, who had five multi-goal games at Notre Dame).
- In the second round, the Penguins ousted top-seeded Washington in an entertaining series, four games to two.
- Rust missed Game 1 against the Rangers but battled back from injury to play in 17 of Pittsburgh’s 18 playoff games.
- Cole has patrolled the blue line for all 18 of Pittsburgh’s playoff games, totaling an assist to go along with a +7 rating and 10 penalty minutes.
- Former Irish skaters Stephen Johns (Dallas Stars, second round) and Riley Sheahan (Detroit Red Wings, first round) also appeared in the 2016 NHL Playoffs, while Anders Lee (New York Islanders, second round) was injured just prior to the start of the playoffs.
- Johns made his NHL debut on March 11 to become the 28th former Notre Dame player to reach the NHL and the 14th that has played under head coach Jeff Jackson.
- All told, eight former Notre Dame players saw action during the 2015-16 NHL season, with Vince Hinostroza (Chicago) and Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey) joining Cole, Condra, Johns, Lee, Rust and Sheahan.
- As the Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, Notre Dame alum Stan Bowman has been part of Stanley Cup championships with the Blackhawks in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).