The 1995-96 Notre Dame hockey season began with high hopes and formerIrish standout Dave Poulin was a driving force behind that feeling. Theaddition of a talented incoming class added to the excitement and thatfreshman class let its presence be known when Brian Urick tallied fourgoals in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association opener atAlaska-Fairbanks, won by Notre Dame (7-4).
The Irish lost their nextseven games, but rebounded by shutting out Ohio State, 4-0, and postingthe biggest victory of the season by defeating nationally-ranked LakeSuperior State (6-3).
A week later, Notre Dame pulled out a 4-3 win overFerris State, with freshman Aniket Dhadphale scoring the game-winner inthe final three minutes.
Notre Dame headed to the Christmas break withthe prospect of facing some of the nation’s best teams at the WisconsinBadger Showdown in Milwaukee, Wisc. The Irish proved they were up tothe challenge by surprising host Wisconsin, 3-2, in the opener.Defending national champion Boston University loomed in the title gameand the Irish kept the game close, in a 1-1 tie at the end of the firstperiod, and trailed by just two goals going to the third before BUpulled away (7-3).
The Irish came out of the break with a renewedconfidence, as senior Wade Salzman totaled 68 saves in 2-2 ties againstboth Ohio State and Miami of Ohio. The tight play continued as NotreDame played in its third overtime in six games, versus Illinois-Chicago,with the Irish gaining their first overtime victory of the season (5-4).
Following a tough 11-1 loss at eventual national champion Michigan, theIrish returned home to sweep two games from Army (7-3, 4-2), led by atotal of 10 points from the freshmen.
Notre Dame dove back into CCHAplay versus Bowling Green and led 2-1 going into the third period beforethe Falcons scored three straight goals. Dhadphale attempted to lead acomeback by scoring with 1:54 left but Bowling Green prevailed, 4-3.That loss was a sign of things to come as the Irish proceeded to go0-7-1 in CCHA games following the Army victories, until a 5-2 win overMiami.
But when Bowling Green returned to the Joyce Center, anotherexciting game was in store. This time the Irish trailed 3-2 going intothe final period before Jamie Ling tied the game with under nine minutesremaining. The comeback fell short again when Bowling Green scored inovertime, giving the Irish another one-goal loss.
The season moved on tothe semiannual game with Michigan at The Palace at Auburn Hills. Thegame proved to be more costly than anticipated, as Ling broke his anklein the third period and was lost for the rest of the season, with the5-2 defeat being a sidenote to the loss of the Irish leading scorer.
Notre Dame returned home to face Michigan State and again showed greatresiliency by leading the Spartans, 3-1, going to the third period.Brett Bruininks increased the lead to 4-1 and the Irish looked to be incontrol, but Michigan State came back to score three goals in the final3:33 to earn the tie.
The Irish next posted a 5-2 win at Miami, led by agoal and assist from Benoit Cotnoir and two assists from Terry Lorenz.Days later, Notre Dame lost 8-2 at Bowling Green, despite goalkeeperMatt Eisler’s 46 saves, and the season ended with a home loss to FerrisState (6-3) in a game that was tied 3-3 going to the third period.
1995-96 NOTRE DAME HOCKEY RESULTS
9-23-4 overall, 6-20-4 CCHA
5-11-3 home, 3-11-1 away, 1-1-0 neutral
10/13 GUELPH L, 1-2 (OT) 10/19 *at Alaska-Fairbanks W, 7-4 10/20 *at Alaska-Fairbanks L, 4-6 10/21 *at Alaska-Fairbanks L, 4-7 10/27 BOSTON COLLEGE L, 5-7 10/31 *at Michigan State L, 2-6 11/3 *WESTERN MICHIGAN L, 2-3 11/4 *at Western Michigan L, 2-6 11/10 *ILLINOIS-CHICAGO L, 2-3 11/11 *OHIO STATE W, 4-0 11/24 *LAKE SUPERIOR ST. W, 6-3 11/25 *LAKE SUPERIOR ST. L, 1-3 12/1 *at Ferris State W, 4-3 12/2 *at Ferris State L, 3-6 12/9 *at Lake Superior State T, 3-3 12/28 #Wisconsin (N) W, 3-2 12/29 #Boston University (N) L, 3-7 1/5 *at Ohio State T, 2-2 1/6 *at Ohio State L, 2-5 1/12 *MIAMI, OHIO T, 2-2 1/13 *MIAMI, OHIO L, 3-6 1/19 *ILL.-CHICAGO W, 5-4 (OT) 1/20 *at Michigan L, 1-11 1/26 ARMY W, 7-3 1/27 ARMY W, 4-2 1/30 *BOWLING GREEN L, 3-4 (OT) 2/2 *at Illinois-Chicago L, 3-5 2/3 *at Michigan State L, 1-7 2/9 *MICHIGAN L, 1-4 2/10 *BOWLING GREEN L, 3-4 2/13 *at Western Michigan L, 1-4 2/16 *^Michigan (N) L, 2-5 2/20 *MICHIGAN STATE T, 4-4 2/23 *at Miami, Ohio W, 5-2 2/24 *at Bowling Green L, 2-8 3/2 *FERRIS STATE L, 3-6* = CCHA game# = Wisonsin Showdown (Milwaukee, WI)^ = at The Palace (Auburn Hills, MI)
AVG. ATTENDANCE: 3,682 overall; 2,487 home; 3,808 away.