Feb. 1, 2000
- Irish pick up three points in series at Alaska Fairbanks
- Special teams continue to play key role in wins and losses
EASY ROAD?: ND’s remaining schedule (based on combined CCHA record) ranks as the third “easiest” among the league’s 12 teams, with the final four ND opponents owning a combined .453 winning pct. in league play … Nebraska-Omaha has the lowest-ranked schedule (.388), followed by Ferris State (.422) while Western Michigan (.636) and Northern Michigan (.632) seemingly face the toughest … despite the relative letup in its schedule, ND has struggled at times vs. the teams which currently occupy the bottom half of the standings, with three one-goal wins and a tie vs. 12th-place Alaska-Fairbanks, a tie vs. 9th-place Miami, two losses to 8th-place Ferris State, and a loss and tie at sixth-place Nebraska-Omaha.
QUICK NOTES FROM UAF: ND posted its first win on the opponent’s ice this season in the 2-1 game at UAF (now 1-5-4) but the Irish continued to struggle with consistent goalscoring in those games (1.9 goals/gm in the 10 away games) … the 3-3 tie ended ND’s seven-game win streak vs. UAF (10-2-1 in the last 13) and halted ND’s three-game winning streak (longest in 45-game stretch, since Jan. 18, 1999) … ND had managed just five first-period goals in its previous nine away games before jumping out to a 1-0 lead (on a goal by junior LW Jay Kopischke) in the 3-3 game … sophomore C David Inman retook the team goal lead (11) with two PPGs in that game, with UAF rallying in the final five minutes with a 4-on-4 goal and a PPG … junior RW Ryan Dolder and junior LW Dan Carlson notched the goals in the 2-1 win while freshman RW Michael Chin had three assists in the series … freshman G Tony Zasowski made 38 saves in the series while giving up just one even-strength goal (three PPGs allowed).
PLAYOFF POSITIONING: Positioning for the 10-team CCHA playoffs is still up for grabs … Michigan (14-4-1/29 points) has a three-point cushion on NMU (12-4-2/26), with slumping MSU (12-6-1/25) and surging Lake Superior (12-7-1/25) one point back … those teams are looking to clinch a crucial top-three finish (which would avoid the 4-vs.-5 play-in game that determines the final semi-finalist, after the five first-round series) … ND (8-7-5/21) remains fifth, followed by WMU (8-9-3/19), Nebraska-Omaha (7-8-5/19), Ferris State (8-10-2/18) and Miami (7-8-3/17) … Bowling Green (7-11-0/14) is looking to hold off Ohio State (4-12-2/10) and UAF (3-16-1/7) for the final spot.
LONG TIME, NO SEE, PART III: Notre Dame and Lake Superior met recently (Jan. 7-8) for the first time in nearly a year while the Jan-21-22 series between ND and Western Michigan was the first action between those teams in 14 months … the Irish face another relatively “unfamiliar” opponent this week, as the series at Ohio State will be the first games between the Irish and Buckeyes in 14 months (they last played on Dec. 5, 1998) … in its 52 games since that time, the Irish are just 21-22-9 while playing 40 times versus the other 10 CCHA teams (17-15-8 in those games)-including eight games vs. NMU and seven vs. UAF-plus five vs. MSU and Miami, three vs. Michigan, Ferris State and Lake Superior, and two vs. Bowling Green, WMU and Nebraska-Omaha.
FIT TO BE TIED (WITH A NEW SPIN): Head-to-head tiebreakers could be used to determine the CCHA playoff matchups-but they no longer are the first criteria used to break ties in the final regular-season standings … due to the unbalanced schedule in the first-year cluster format, the CCHA schools voted to alter the tiebreaking criteria, whereby total number of league wins would be the first comparison, followed by head-to-head results and head-to-head goal differential … although ND already holds the head-to-head edge on third-place Lake Superior and is just four points behind LSSU, the Irish (8-7-5) have four fewer CCHA wins than the Lakers (12-7-1) … ND also stands four wins behind NMU and MSU while owning the same number of league wins as WMU and FSU (UNO, Miami and BG all are one win behind the Irish, with seven).
ANYONE FOR EVEN STRENGTH?: The ND special teams are surging in opposite directions, as the Irish have scored power-play goals in four straight games (7-for-29, .241) but have allowed PPGs in each of the last six (28-for-37 penalty kill in those games, .757) … ND and its opponents have combined for 60 PP goals (30 each) but just 87 at even-strength … the Irish PP has surged to fifth overall in the CCHA (.165) while the ND penalty kill remains ninth (.825) … ND’s even relationship of PPGs scored and PPGs allowed is tied for sixth-lowest in the CCHA, with the worst belonging to OSU (25 PP scored, 36 allowed, -11), UNO (-7), Miami (-6), NMU (-4) and Lake Superior (-4) … the top comparative PP numbers belong to MSU (+16), Michigan (+12), FSU (+9), WMU (+6) and BG (+1).
THE SERIES: Notre Dame owns a 19-11-3 series edge but OSU is 7-3-0 in the last 10 games of the series … Notre Dame is 8-6-3 vs. OSU in games played in Columbus (5-4-2 since rejoining the CCHA in ’92-’93) … all of the above games were played at the OSU Ice Rink aside from the 1997-98 pair of games, which resulted in a win for both teams at the Ohio Expo Center … ND has yet to play at the Schottenstein Center but beat OSU 3-2 at the Colbus Fairgrounds in 1997-98 … Forrest Karr shut out the Buckeyes last season (3-0, at the Joyce Center on Oct. 23) but OSU swept the last two games of the series (4-3, 4-1), in the final games held at the OSU Ice Rink (Dec. 4-5) … only two ND players have multiple career goals vs. OSU: senior C Ben Simon (5G-3A) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (2G-2A) … current information on OSU can be accessed at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Notre Dame senior D Sean Seyferth played on the Compuware Ambassadors with three OSU seniors: W Jason Selleke, F Louie Colsant and G Ray Aho … ND junior RW Ryan Dolder played with OSU junior F Benji Wolke on the Twin City Vulcans … Irish junior LW Jay Kopischke played in the Minnesota all-star game with OSU junior D Jason Freeman … ND sophomore G Jeremiah Kimento played with OSU sophomore W Ryan Smith on the Danville Wings … Irish freshman G Tony Zasowski played with OSU’s Erik Skaug on the Omaha Lancers and with Colsant on Team Illinois.
ALL OR NOTHING: Shutout efforts by Notre Dame goaltenders have been the primary source of inspiration in most of the recent Irish wins over Ohio State … four of ND’s last 10 wins over OSU have been by shutout, including three of the last four: 4-0 at home on Nov. 11, 1995 (16 saves by Matt Eisler), 3-0 at OSU on Oct. 26, 1996 (47 saves by Eisler) and 3-0 at home on Oct. 23, 1998 (16 saves by Forrest Karr) … teams from the state of Ohio brought out the best in ND goaltenders during the previous seven seasons, as all of the team’s six shutouts during that span came versus OSU (4) or Miami (2) … current freshman Tony Zasowski (19 saves vs. UAF, 24 vs. MSU) earlier became the second ND goalie with two solo shutouts in the same season (Karr shut out OSU and Miami in ’98-’99) while sophomore Kimento posted a 19-save shutout vs. Union-marking the first time that the Irish have shut out three opponents in the same season.
SCORING IN BUNCHES: Despite being one of the CCHA’s lowest-scoring teams, ND has one of top-scoring foursomes in the conference, as four Irish players are bunched among the CCHA’s top-36 scorers: senior RW Joe Dusbabek (7G-13A), junior LW Dan Carlson (10G-10A), senior C Ben Simon (6G-12A) and junior RW Ryan Dolder (7G-11A) … only Michigan (6) and Northern Michigan (5) have more players among the league’s top-36 scorers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: ND’s 21 CCHA points include 14 in the first games of a league series (6-2-2, 23 GA) but just seven in the second games (2-5-3, 31 GA) … nearly 42 pct. of ND’s goals this season have come on the power play (30 of 72, including 11 of the last 19), with senior C Ben Simon (5 of 6), junior LW Dan Carlson (7 of 10, plus one 6-on-5 goal) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (5 of 7) each scoring the bulk of their goals on the PP … after shutting out Michigan State on Dec. 4 (1-0), the Irish gave up 27 goals in the next seven games before allowing just three in the LSSU series (then eight at NMU, four vs. WMU and four at UAF) … 13 of ND’s last 20 games have been decided by 0-1 goals (6-3-4 in those games) … ND’s 11 wins have featured eight different game-winning goalscorers … the Irish are 19-6-5 (.717) in their last 30 regular-season home games (three losses by one goal) … the Irish are 24-0-4 in the past two seasons when leading at the second intermission (8-0-1 this season) and 18-2-2 when ahead at the first break (6-2-0) … ND’s leaders in game-winning points include junior RW Ryan Dolder ( 2 GWG, 3 GWA), senior RW Joe Dusbabek (1 GWG-3 GWA) and junior LW Dan Carlson (3 GWG-1 GWA) … they are the only Irish players with more than two game-winning points this season (a total of 15 players have scored or assisted on the 10 GWGs ) … prior to the 4-1 first period vs. Vermont, the Irish had been outscored 13-4 in the first period this season (now 32-25, with a 25-23 opponent edge in the second, 25-23 opponent edge in the third).
10-POINT SERIES: A pair of Minnesota natives-junior LW Dan Carlson (Edina) and senior RW Joe Dusbabek (Faribault)-played leading roles in Notre Dame’s recent sweep of WMU … Carlson-who has surged to a share of the team goal lead (9)-converted a scramble 6-on-5 goal with 1:23 left in regulation to force overtime in the first game before slapping home a power-play goal from the top of the slot 52 seconds into the OT … Carlson (who had 3G on seven shots in the series) then assisted on Dusbabek’s goal the next day for a 1-0 lead before scoring the clinching third goal en route to a 4-1 final … Carlson’s four-point weekend was just the fourth by a Notre Dame player this season and the first in CCHA action but Dusbabek (who now leads ND in scoring with 7G-13A) bettered him with a six-point series … Dusbabek-who had 1G-2A in both WMU games-was credited with the first ND goal of the series when his pass deflected off a WMU player (he later assisted on Carlson’s GTG and GWG) … the next night, he opened the scoring with a rocket shot from outside the blue line before assisting on the next two lines as the Irish built their lead to 3-0.
RACKING UP THE MILES: Notre Dame’s 11 road trips this season cover many miles, with two trips to Denver, plus the recent trips to the upper peninsula for a series at Northern Michigan and to Fairbanks, Alaska, and earlier visits to Omaha, Neb., and Durham, N.H. … the other trips include Big Rapids/Grand Rapids, Mich., East Lansing, Mich. (2), Bowling Green, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio … the reworked CCHA “cluster” schedule resulted in the loss of the customary short trips to Kalamazoo (Western Michigan) or Ann Arbor (Michigan).
DOWN THE STRETCH: Despite an 0-4-0 start, ND is 8-3-5 in its last 16 CCHA games (3-1-2 in the last six) and alone in fifth place, four points out of third … ND ranks 10th in the CCHA for overall goals/gm (2.40), 6th in goals allowed (2.73), 5th in power-play pct. (.165), 9th in penalty-kill pct. (.825) and 1st in fewest penalty minutes/gm (16.03) … sophomore C/LW David Inman is tied for 12th in the CCHA with 11 goals while junior LW Dan Carlson is tied for 18th with 10 (Inman had 10 in ’98-’99, Carlson seven) … Carlson ranks fourth in the CCHA with seven PPGs and is tied for fifth with three GWGs … senior RW Joe Dusbabek (7G-13A) and Carlson (10G-10A) are tied for 19th on the CCHA scoring charts.
DISCIPLINED PLAY: ND’s low team GAA (2.69) is due in large part to the Irish being CCHA’s least-penalized squad (7.6 penalties, 16.1 PIM/gm, leading to just 5.7 opp. PP chances/gm) … since ranking as the CCHA’s most-penalized team in ’95-’96 (11.31), the Irish were the least-penalized in ’96-’97 (8.69) and ’97-’98 (6.37) and the third-least penalized in ’98-’99 (8.40) … ND’s more disciplined players include soph. RW John Wroblewski (3 penalties), senior LW Andy Jurkowksi (5, 24 in 100 career games), senior C Ben Simon (10, compared to 30-31-31 in the past three seasons), and sophomore C Brett Henning (4, 19 in 60 career games) … senior D Sean Molina has 12 penalties this season (38 in 136 career games) … senior D Nathan Borega had just 16 penalties as a sophomore and 13 as junior but has a team-high 27 this season (none last week in his home state, during the UAF series) … the Irish were whistled for 13 penalties in the 6-0 loss at NMU (most in 20 games, since 15 in the 4-2 loss to Ferris state on Oct. 24), leading to 10 Wildcat PPs.
ND PLAYERS AMONG TOP PROSPECTS: Four current and future ND players are listed among the top 160 players on the NHL’s Central Scouting Service midseason rankings-the most players listed from any team in the CCHA … the rankings list the top prospects for the 2000 NHL Draft, which is open to players born between Sept. 16, 1980-Sept. 15, 1982 … players born after Sept. 15, 1981 must “opt-in” and forfeit their college eligibility, regardless or whether they already have completed a year of college hockey … ND’s top-rated player is fall of ’99 signee Neil Komadoski (Feb. 10, 1982 birthdate), considered one of the nation’s top prospects among defensemen in his age group … Komadoski (Chesterfield, Mo./U.S. Under-18 National Team) checked in at 51st, ranking as the fourth-highest rated player/signee in the CCHA … current ND players on the Central Scouting list include three draft-eligible freshmen: defenseman Evan Nielsen (Evanston, Ill.), center Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) and right wing Michael Chin (Urbana, Ill.) … Nielsen checks in at 70th on the list, sixth-highest among all current CCHA players/signees and first among active CCHA defensemen (six spots ahead of Northern Michigan’s Sean Connolly) … Dunlop is listed 118th, eight-highest among all players with CCHA ties and second among active CCHA forwards (Michigan center Andy Hilbert is listed 26th). Chin is the ninth-highest CCHA player/signee on the list, at No. 158.
IRISH HELP U.S. REACH SEMI’S: Three ND players helped the U.S. reach the semi-finals of the World Junior Championship in Sweden (Dec. 26-Jan. 4), the fourth straight year that ND players have been members of the prestigious 22-player team … the invitees included soph. C Brett Henning (Huntington, N.Y.), soph. C/LW David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) and fr. C Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.)-most from any school on the initial roster … early U.S. highlights included ties with eventual finalist Czech Republic (2-2) and rival Canada (1-1) … Dunlop had 1G-1A in a 5-1 quarterfinal win over Sweden and led the U.S. in tournament faceoff pct. (.64, 69-of-108).
AROUND THE HORN
- Junior LW DAN CARLSON (10G-10A) has joined another surging player-senior RW Joe Dusbabek (7G-13A)-atop the team scoring charts, followed by two players at 18 and one with 16 points
- Dusbabek has three more points in CCHA play (5G-10A) than any other Irish player and is tied for second on the team in overall power-play goals (5) … he had 1G-2A in both games of the recent WMU series and has 10 points in the last nine games (4G-6A).
- Carlson had 3G-2A in the WMU series, including the game-tying goal in the first game with 1:23 left to play and the overtime game-winner in that 4-3 game … he came back in the next game (2-1) at UAF to record his second GWG in three games … Carlson has 6G-5A in the last 11 games while his 10 goals include seven on the PP and one 6-on-5 (he totaled just six PPGs during the past two seasons combined) … Carlson’s three GWGs equal his total from his first two seasons
- Junior RW Ryan Dolder has 12 points (5G-7A) in the last 15 games and is tied for third on the team in scoring (7G-11A) … Dolder was recognized by the coaching staff for his emerging leadership by being named the team’s third alternate captain on Dec. 1
- Sophomore LW David Inman (11G-5A) has 4G-2A since returning from the World Junior Championship (he scored the second goal in the 4-3 win over WMU and had two PPGs in the 3-3 tie at UAF) … Inman turned in just the fourth multi-goal game by an Irish player this season (he also had 2G vs. Union while Ben Simon scored twice vs. UMass and Carlson twice vs. WMU). Inman has 4A in his last nine games, after totaling just one in the first 17
- All three of freshman RW Michael Chin’s goals this season have come during the last 11 games (he scored the equalizer in the 1-1 tie with LSSU) … Chin also assisted on three of the five Irish goals in the UAF series (his first assists since Oct. 24)
- Senior C Ben Simon has 114 career pts (37G-77A) in 132 games … Simon notched his third career two-goal game in the 5-3 UMass win (he has yet to record a hat trick) … he has 11 points (4G-7A) in his last 16 games (five in first 12)
- Senior LW Andy Jurkowski has played in a team-best 82 consecutive games … Jurkowski posted the first multi-point game of his career in the 4-3 loss to Princeton (2A) and ranks sixth on the team with 12 points (4G-8A, he had 2G-4A in 70 games over his first three seasons, as mostly a D) … Jurkowski notched an assist in the 4-3 win over WMU to end a seven-game point (he also had an assist at UAF) drought but still is looking to end a 19-game goal drought (he had 4G in the previous six games) … Dolder, Carlson and Jurkowski are the only players to appear in all 30 Irish games this season
- Junior LW Jay Kopischke has 4G-4A in his last 14 games played (he totaled nine points in his first two seasons)
- Freshman C Connor Dunlop assisted on Carlson’s goal in the 4-1 win over WMU for his first point since returning from the World Junior Championship (he added his eighth assist of the season in the 3-3 tie at UAF)
- Sophomore C Brett Henning has no points since Nov. 28 (he has no points in his last 12 GP, while also playing in the World Juniors)
- Sophomore Sam Cornelius played five games as a fourth-line LW/extra D in mid-December and early January.
FROM THE BLUE LINE
- Senior D Sean Seyferth has six points this season (2G-4A) after totaling seven in his first three seasons combined (4G-3A)
- Senior D Sean Molina’s eight points this season (1G-7A) are a career-best … Molina is tied for fifth on the squad in plus-minus (+1), after ranking second on the ’98-’99 squad (+13) … Molina has totaled just 38 career penalties while playing the most games (136) of any current Irish player (he is averaging 3.6 games per penalty for his career) … Molina is tied for seventh on the 1999-2000 team with a career-best seven assists … Molina scored in the 4-3 loss to Princeton on Dec. 19, for his first career goal … by playing in the final eight regular-season games and at least two postseason games, Molina would become the ninth Notre Dame player ever to log 146 career games played
- Junior D Ryan Clark (from nearby Littleton, Colo.) scored in 3-3 tie at Denver for his first goal of the season and second of his career …
- Senior D Tyson Fraser’s assist vs. UMass was his 50th career point (he now has 7G-45A) and marked his 45th career game with a goal or assist (now 46)
- Freshman D Evan Nielsen (3G-6A) is tied with Fraser (2G-7A) as the team’s top-scoring defensemen (Seyferth is the only other D with multiple goals) … Nielsen is looking to end a six-game point drought (1A in last 9 GP) …
- The Irish senior D foursome of Borega (128), Fraser (119), Molina (136) and Seyferth (55) has combined for 438 career games played
- Freshman D Paul Harris (9 GP, 0G-0A) remains sidelined following surgery in mid-December (he could return later in the season).
BETWEEN THE PIPES
- Freshman Tony Zasowski ranks 6th overall in the CCHA with a 2.35 GAA (4th among goalies with 800-plus minutes), which would best the Irish record of 2.58 set by Forrest Karr last season, while sophomore Jeremiah Kimento (3.01) ranks 13th in the CCHA
- Zasowski has allowed just 25 even-strength goals in 19 games played, including just five in his last seven appearances
- Zasowski’s 2.18 conference GAA ranks 3rd among league netminders with 700-plus minutes
- He received his second CCHA rookie-of-the-week award after totaling 41 saves and allowing one even-strength goal in the WMU series (4-3/ot, 4-1) … Zasowski is one of four players to earn multiple rookie-of-the-week honors this season, joining Ferris State F Chris Kunitz (3), MSU G Ryan Miller (2) and NMU F Chris Gobert (2) … ND joins FSU (3) and NMU (3) as the only CCHA schools with three-plus rookie honorees this season (freshman C Connor Dunlop was honored on Oct. 18, after assisting on four goals in games vs. Providence and Union)
- Zasowski’s season save percentage (.907) is on line with the long-standing ND record of .907 (set by Mark Kronholm in 1970-71)
- Zasowski has allowed 0-2 goals in 11 of his 16 starts and turned in a shutout streak of 130:36, spanning 54 minutes of the 2-1 loss at UNH on Nov. 27 and the first 76 minutes of the MSU series (Dec. 4-5)
- ND’s team GAA of 2.69 could challenge the team record (2.61, set in ’98-’99)
- Zasowski (19 saves vs. UAF, 24 vs. MSU) is the second ND goalie with two solo shutouts in the same season (Karr shut out OSU and Miami in ’98-’99)
- Kimento posted a 19-save shutout vs. Union, marking the first time that the Irish have shut out three opponents in the same season
- Zasowski and Kimento combined for 56 saves and three GA in the crucial Jan. 7-8 LSSU series … Zasowski picked up the 2-1 win over LSSU in his first appearance since Dec. 10, making 29 saves and helping stop all six Lakers PPs (he closed the game with 28 straight saves, after allowing an early goal) … Kimento closed the 1-1 game vs. LSSU with 25 straight saves (he totaled 27)
- Junior G Kyle Kolquist made his first career start (and second career appearance) in the 4-2 loss to Princeton, with 21 saves and just one even-strength goal allowed.