Oct. 11, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. –
â€¢ The Series: Notre Dame (13-19-4 in `05-'06) vs. Minnesota State (17-18-4 in `05-'06)
â€¢ Date/Site/Times: Thur., Oct. 12 â€¢ 7:35 p.m. â€¢ Joyce Center (2,713) Sat., Oct. 14 â€¢ 7:07 p.m. â€¢ Midwest Wireless Civic Center (4,832)
â€¢ Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490,South Bend's SportsCenter. Mike Lockert, "the voice of Irish hockey" will bring you allthe play-by-play action.
â€¢ Internet Broadcast and Video Streaming: At the Notre Dame website - www.und.com.
IRISH OPEN SEASON NUMBER 39: The Notre Dame hockey team enters its 39th season on the Division I level this week with a home-and-home series against the Minnesota State Mavericks. The home season opener comes on Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Joyce Center with the opening faceoff set for 7:35 p.m. After a travel day, the two teams will meet in Mankato, Minn., on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center for a 7:07 p.m. (CDT) contest. Notre Dame is coming off a 13-19-4 season that saw the Irish finish 11-13-4 in the CCHA, 15 points better than the previous year. Minnesota State was 17-18-4 overall and turned in a 12-13-3 record in the always tough WCHA a year ago. The reason for the unique home-and-home series came last season when a scheduled two-game series versus the Mavericks had to be changed due to a scheduling conflict for the Irish due to the start of the final exam study period in December. Minnesota State hosted a game on Tues., Dec. 6 prior to the start of the study period for the Irish and then traveled to South Bend on Sat., Dec. 10 for the second game of the series. Both teams proved to be outstanding hosts as the road team won both contests. The Irish took a 3-2 decision in Minnesota while the Mavericks handed Notre Dame a 2-1 loss at the Joyce Center.
IRISH VERSUS MAVERICKS: Notre Dame and Minnesota State have met seven times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 5-2-0 edge. At Notre Dame, the series is even, 2-2-0, with the Mavericks winning, 2-1, on Dec. 10, 2005, their last visit to the Joyce Center. At Mankato, Minn., the Irish are 3-0-0 and won last year’s meeting, 3-2, on Dec. 6. The series began in 1989-90 with the two teams playing twice at the Joyce Center on Dec. 1-2, 1989. Notre Dame took both games, 5-0 and 5-3.
A BAD ENDING: After starting the 2005-06 season with a 3-9-1 record through mid-December, the Irish went 10-10-3 over the final 23 games of the year, including 4-0-1 through the end of February. Despite the strong second half, Notre Dame finished the year by losing its final three games, a 2-1 loss to Alaska in the regular-season finale and then 3-1 and 1-0 losses to the Nanooks in the first round of the CCHA playoffs with all three losses coming at the Joyce Center.
FOR OPENERS: Notre Dame comes into tonight’s season-opening game with an all-time record of 19-17-2 in first games of the season. In home openers, the Irish are 20-17-1 while in road openers, Notre Dame is just 14-21-3. Last season, the Irish dropped both the road opener (3-1 at Colorado College) and the home opener (5-3 to Princeton).
IRISH HOCKEY IN CYBERSPACE: Tonight’s game for Notre Dame marks the first home game that will be video streamed live on the Notre Dame website at und.com. Fighting Irish All-Access will carry the game beginning at 7:30 p.m. Launched on Aug. 5, Fighting Irish All-Access is free to all viewers who must have a PC-based computer and operate on Internet Explorer. Fans have been hear all Notre Dame hockey games on the internet for the past six seasons at und.com.
WINDSOR RECAP: Notre Dame opened the 2006-07 campaign with a 9-0 exhibition game win over the University of Windsor on Oct. 6. Sophomore Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) led Notre Dame with a hat trick, including two first period unassisted, short-handed goals. Freshman Dan Kissel (Crestwood, Ill.) scored two power-play goals while Garrett Regan (So., Hastings, Minn.), Dan VeNard (Jr., Vernon Hills, Ill.), Ryan Thang (Fr., Edina, Minn.) and Justin White (So., Traverse City, Mich.) each scored one goal in the win. Thang added an assist for a two-point game with Jason Paige (Sr., Saginaw, Mich.) and Noah Babin (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) also turning in two-point games with two assists each. The Irish outshot Windsor, 34-12 in the game. David Brown (Sr., Stoney Brook, Ont.) made eight saves in 40 minutes and Jordan Pearce (So., Anchorage, Alaska) stopped all four shots he faced in the final 20 minutes of the game.
ROAD WARRIORS: After opening the season at home versus Minnesota State, the Irish will not play at home again until Fri., Nov., 10th when they play host to Bowling Green. Following tonight’s game, Notre Dame plays seven consecutive games on the road – at Minnesota State (Oct. 14), at Boston College (Oct. 20), at Providence College (Oct. 21), vs. Army (Oct. 27 at Tampa, Fla.), vs. Air Force or Alabama-Huntsville (Oct. 28 at Tampa, Fla.) and at Ohio State (Nov. 3-4).
LEADER OF THE PACK: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson begins his second season behind the Irish bench needing just five wins to reach the 200 mark in his career. Jackson enters the `06-’07 season with the best winning percentage among Division I coaches with five or more years. His current record stands at 195-71-29 for are .710 winning percentage. His 195 wins rank him 22nd on the all-time active list. In six seasons at his previous collegiate stop – Lake Superior State (1990-96) – Jackson’s teams were 182-52-25 with two national championships, two CCHA regular-season titles and four CCHA tournament championships. Included in his 195 career wins are 36 postseason victories and a .800 winning percentage (36-9 in postseason). In CCHA postseason action at Lake Superior, Jackson’s teams were 24-2 (.923) with the two losses coming to Michigan in CCHA Championship games (`94 and `96).
ALL TIED UP: Notre Dame was 0-0-4 in overtime during the `05-’06 season, giving the Irish 53 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 campaign. In those games, Notre Dame is 7-6-40. The last overtime win came on Dec. 10, 2004 in a 3-2 victory against Michigan State. That win snapped a 16-game winless skid (0-2-14) during the regular season that started on Jan. 25, 2002.
CAPTAINS: Senior right wing T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) will serve as Notre Dame’s captain for the second consecutive season. Jindra becomes the first Irish player to serve as captain twice since Evan Nielsen `03 held the responsibility from 2001-03. There have been 14 players to serve as two-time captains with the Irish. Joining Jindra as alternate captains in `06-’07, are senior center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) and senior defensemen Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) and Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.). Paige has served as an alternate captain since his sophomore year. O’Neill and Sawatske will be alternate captains for the first time at Notre Dame.
DROP THE PUCK: For the second season in a row, the Irish hockey team opened the season with their annual “Drop The Puck Dinner” that was held on Oct. 11 at the Joyce Center. Former Pittsburgh Penguin coach and current Chicago Blackhawk TV analyst Ed Olczyk served as guest speaker and over 400 Irish hockey fans attended. The first dinner occurred on Sept. 6, 2005 with over 400 fans in attendance and Scotty Bowman serving as guest speaker. Bowman, who won nine Stanley Cups in his illustrious coaching career, was also invited by Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis to address his team at practice on Sept. 6, just four days prior to the upset win at Michigan.
FAMILY MATTERS: Two members of the Notre Dame hockey team – forwards Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) and Garrett Regan (Hastings, Minn.) – have family ties to the Irish hockey program. Condra’s uncle is All-American forward Kirt Bjork (`83) who played at Notre Dame from 1979-83. He scored 76 goals with 85 assists for 161 career points in 141 career games. He took All-America honors in 1983 when he had 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points. Regan’s uncle – Sean Regan – was a defenseman for the Irish from1981-83 before finishing his career at the University of Minnesota.
BY THE CLASSES: The 26-man Notre Dame hockey roster is made up of eight seniors, five juniors, five sophomore and eight freshmen. The eight seniors are the only remaining Irish players who were on the 2003-04 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
CCHA SCHOLAR-ATHLETE: Senior Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) was Notre Dame’s representative on the CCHA Scholar-Athlete team for the 2005-06 season. Paige was one of 12 players (one from each school) selected to the team by the league’s faculty representatives. Paige has a 3.71 grade-point average in finance. He follows former Irish captain, Cory McLean (`05), who was selected as the CCHA’s first-ever Scholar-Athlete of the Year award winner following the 2004-05 season. McLean was a five-time Dean’s List selection and graduated with a degree in Finance from the Mendoza College of Business with a 3.592 grade-point average. To be considered for the CCHA Scholar-Athlete Award, a player had to have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 through the fall term of the selection year to receive the school’s Scholar-Athlete award. The award is selected by the 12 faculty representatives, voting based on a system awarding five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. Previously, the CCHA honored an all-Academic team that saw the Irish have at least one honoree in all but one season (2002-03) since their return to the CCHA in `92-’93. The nine first-team selections were: 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), David Inman (2001-02) and Rob Globke (2003-04). During that 12-year span, only Western Michigan (14) produced more CCHA All-Academic selections than Notre Dame’s 11.
TURNAROUND YEAR: A year ago, the Notre Dame hockey team turned in a 13-19-4 record in Jeff Jackson’s first season behind the bench. A closer look at the mark shows vast improvement for the Irish. Through the first 13 games of the season, Notre Dame was 3-9-1. Over the remaining 23 contests, the Irish were 10-10-3. In CCHA play, Notre Dame went from 3-20-5 in `04-’05 to 11-13-4 in `05-’06, a 15-point improvement from one season to the next. Only Miami’s 16-point improvement in the standings was better than Notre Dame’s 15-point turnaround.
MR. ZERO: Notre Dame goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) recorded a pair of shutouts during the 2005-06 season to give him six for his career. That ties him with Morgan Cey `05 for the Notre Dame career mark in shutouts as each now have six. Brown also is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in goals-against average (2.77) and is second all-time with a .909 save percentage.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Last season, the Notre Dame clicked at a 16.6% success rate (38-for-229) overall and led the CCHA with a 19.5% percentage (33-for-169). On the other side of the puck, the Irish penalty killers killed of 80.5% overall and (173-of-215) and in the CCHA had success just 78.7% of the time, surrendering 36 power-play goals on 169 chances.
POWER-PLAY LEADER: Senior Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.) tied for second in the CCHA with 10 power-play goals in 2005-06. That was the most power-play goals by a Notre Dame player since Ben Simon `00 had 10 in the 1999-2000 season. Sciba’s 10 man-advantage goals tie him for 10th on Notre Dame’s single-season list with Simon and Dave Poulin `82, who did it twice in 1978-79 and 1981-82. Of Sciba’s 30 career goals, 15 have come on the power play.
POWER-PLAY POINT GETTERS: Here are Notre Dame’s top five scorers on the power play in 2005-06:
Name Goals Assists PointsJosh Sciba 10 10 20Erik Condra 3 16 19Mark Van Guilder 6 12 18Wes O'Neill 4 13 17Noah Babin 3 6 9
OFF TO THE STORM: Defenseman Luke Lucyk (Fox Point, Wis.), who would have been a junior with the Irish this season, decided during the summer to return to his junior team, the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He will return to the Irish next season and have two years of eligibility remaining. In two seasons at Notre Dame, Lucyk played in 44 games with one goal and one assist to go with 11 penalties for 22 minutes.
OLD-TIME DEFENSE: Notre Dame’s defense is made up of three seniors, three juniors and two freshmen this season. The three seniors – Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Wes O’Neill and Tom Sawatske will team with junior Brock Sheahan (Lethbridge, Alb.) to form the team’s top four. The final two spots will be a battle between juniors Dan VeNard and Brian D’Arcy (Western Springs, Ill.) and freshmen Kyle Lawson and Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.). O’Neill comes into his final year as a candidate for all-CCHA and All-America honors.
BEATING THE BEST: On Oct. 21, Notre Dame travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face the Boston College Eagles. In each of the last two seasons (`03-’04 and `04-’05) that Notre Dame has played Boston College, the Eagles came into those games ranked No. 1 in the nation. Both times, the Irish came away with victories. In 2004-05, Notre Dame knocked off the No. 1-ranked Boston College Eagles in South Bend by a 3-2 score. A year earlier, the Irish traveled to BC’s Kelley Rink, and knocked off the top-ranked Eagles, 1-0, with current senior goaltender David Brown turning in the shutout. Here’s the list of Irish wins versus top-ranked teams in the 39-year history of the program.
10/22/04 – vs. Boston College, 3-2 10/23/03 – at Boston College, 1-0 1/3/99 – at North Dakota, 4-3 11/20/78 – at Minnesota, 3-2 1/13/78 – vs. Denver, 5-3 1/18/74 – vs. Michigan Tech, 7-1 2/24/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 4-3 2/23/73 – vs. Wisconsin, 8-5
NHL DRAFTEES: The Irish have four players on the 2006-07 roster who have been selected in the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft. Last June, sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) was selected in the seventh round, 211th overall by the Ottawa Senators. He is joined by freshman defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) who was selected in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh round, 198th overall. Condra and Lawson are joined by senior defenseman Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) who was chosen in the fourth round of the 2004 Entry Draft, 115th overall by the New York Islanders. Also selected in 2004 was senior goaltender David Brown (Stony Creek, Ont.) who went in the eighth round, 228th overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
HOMETOWNS: The 2006-07 Notre Dame hockey team features players from eight states and two Canadian provinces – Alberta and Ontario. Over the past 12 seasons, the Irish have had monogram winners from 21 different states and provinces – those listed below, plus: Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. This season, the Irish have their first-ever player from the state of Washington – freshman Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor).
2006-07 NOTRE DAME HOCKEY – BY STATE OR PROVINCE:
Alaska (1): Jordan Pearce
Alberta (1): Brock Sheahan
Colorado (1): Christiaan Minella
Florida (1): Noah Babin
Washington (1): Kevin Deeth
IRON MAN: Graduated right wing Tim Wallace (Anchorage, Alaska) finished his Notre Dame career in 2005-06 as the Notre Dame’s all-time `Iron Man.” Wallace played in every game of his career, 153 in all. He finished third on the all-time games played list for his four seasons with the Irish. Junior center Mark Van Guilder (Roseville, Minn.) is next in line as he now has played in every game in his first two seasons, 74 consecutive games.
PLAYING IN THE NHL: At times during the 2005-06 season, Notre Dame had five former players in the NHL at the same time. The five were: Ben Simon `00 (Columbus), Rob Globke `04 (Florida), Brett Lebda `04 (Detroit), Mark Eaton (Nashville) and Yan Stastny (Edmonton-Boston). Only one other time, have the Irish had five players in the NHL in one season. That came during the 1982-83 campaign when the Irish had five players see time, in the NHL. That group included: Jim Brown `82 (three games with Los Angeles), Jack Brownschidle `77 (72 games with St. Louis), Jeff Brownschidle `81 (four games with Hartford), Don Jackson `78 (71 games with Edmonton) and Dave Poulin `82 (two games with Philadelphia).
PUTTING ON THE FOIL: Notre Dame sophomore Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) is the sixth Irish player whose father played in the National Hockey League. His father, Dave Hanson, played 10 years of professional hockey between 1974-75 and 1983-84, including stints with the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota North Stars and the World Hockey Association’s (WHA) Minnesota Fighting Saints and the New England Whalers. Fans might also be familiar with Dave Hanson, as one of the famed Hanson Brothers, made famous in the hockey movie – Slapshot. Hanson currently is the director of the Island Sports Center, home of Robert Morris University’s hockey team, in suburban Pittsburgh.
RIVALRY CLUSTERS: The CCHA begins its fifth 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 2006-07, Notre Dame will play Bowling Green, Alaska and Nebraska-Omaha four times with two games at home and two away. The Irish will also play home-and-home series with Michigan and Michigan State. Notre Dame hosts two-game home series with Miami, Northern Michigan and Ferris State while playing two-game road series at Lake Superior, Ohio State and Western Michigan. Last year, the Irish were 4-5-3 against Bowling Green, Ohio State and Miami, the three teams in their cluster.
ROOKIE SUCCESS: Sophomore right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) led Notre Dame in scoring last season with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points. He became the first Notre Dame freshman to lead the team in scoring since Jamie Ling `96 led the 1992-93 team with 40 points in his first season. He would go on to lead the Irish in scoring four straight seasons. Condra was selected as Notre Dame’s rookie of the year and was selected to the CCHA’s all-rookie team. He led all CCHA freshmen in scoring and was seventh in the nation among rookie point scorers.
POWER-PLAY PRODUCER: Wes O’Neill (Sr., Essex, Ont.) leads Notre Dame’s defense in scoring with six goals and 19 assists for 25 points, giving him career highs in assists and points after his 20-point (6g, 14a) season a year ago. Four of his six goals have come on the power play. His two-point games (two assists) versus Alaska Fairbanks on Feb. 24 gives him seven games this season with two or more points and 12 for his career. The 2004 New York Islander draft choice has seen 17 of his points (4g, 13a) come on the power play. In his three seasons with the Irish, O’Neill now has 14 goals and 43 assists for 57 points with 34 of those coming via the power play (10g, 24a).