Head coach Jeff Jackson and his Notre Dame hockey team will find out Sunday if they are in the NCAA Tournament.

Top-Ranked Irish Start Second Season By Hosting Alaska In Second Round Of CCHA Playoffs

March 8, 2007

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Series: #1/#1 Notre Dame (27-6-3/21-4-3) vs. Alaska (11-20-6/7-16-3)

• Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sun., March 9-11, 2007 • 7:35/7:05 p.m./7:05 p.m. • Joyce Center (2,713)

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 South Bend’s SportsCenter. Mike Lockert calls the action for the Irish.

• Internet: Irish hockey can be heard on the internet at the Notre Dame website – www.und.com. All Notre Dame home games and all CCHA games are available via gametracker.

• Video Streaming: All games of the best-of-three series will be available via Fighting Irish All-Access on the Notre Dame website at und.com. To view the games, the viewer will need to be using Internet Explorer 6 with Windows Media Player 9 or higher.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: The Notre Dame hockey team opens CCHA playoff action this weekend when the Irish play host to the Alaska Nanooks in the best-of-three second round from March 9-11 at the Joyce Center. Friday’s game has a 7:35 p.m. start with Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) will begin at 7:05 p.m. Notre Dame brings a 27-6-3 overall record into the game and is the top seed in this year’s playoffs after the Irish won their first CCHA regular-season title with a 21-4-3 league record. For the fifth week in a row, Notre Dame is ranked number one in the nation in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CSTV college hockey polls. Alaska advanced to the second round after upsetting Western Michigan last weekend, taking the series, two games to one. The Nanooks are 11-20-6 on the season and finished with a 7-16-5 mark in conference play. Notre Dame and Alaska met one year ago in the first round of the CCHA playoffs with the Nanooks taking the series, two games to none. All three games of the series will be available via live video streaming on Fighting Irish All-Access on the Notre Dame website at und.com. To view the games, the viewer will need to be using Internet Explorer 6 with Windows Media Player 9 or higher.

IRISH VERSUS NANOOKS: Notre Dame and Alaska have met four times this season and eight times over the last two years with the Irish going 5-3-0 in those games. This season, Notre Dame has won four straight games, winning a pair at the Joyce Center and two in Fairbanks. The all-time series is tied at 20-20-3 overall. At the Joyce Center, Notre Dame has an 11-8-1 mark against Alaska. The last Nanook wins at the Joyce Center came in the first round of last year’s playoffs in 3-1 and 1-0 victories. Alaska has a 2-0 edge in playoff games against Notre Dame.

IRISH PLAYOFF HISTORY: Notre Dame has played 38 games in its’ CCHA playoff history and is 13-25 in those games. Notre Dame has lost five straight playoff games with the last win coming on March 14, 2004, a 5-4 overtime win against Western Michigan that sent the Irish to the CCHA Super Six. Following the overtime win, the Irish lost to Ohio State, 6-5 in overtime before dropping two-game series to Michigan (2004-05) and Alaska in 2005-06.

PLAYOFF SUCCESS: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson has had his share of success in the CCHA playoffs during his career. If you take away his 0-2 mark with Notre Dame from last season, Jackson was 24-2 all-time in the CCHA postseason in six seasons at Lake Superior State from 1990-96. The two losses came in CCHA tournament championship games as his team played for the title in all six seasons, winning four times. Jackson goes into the Alaska series with a 24-4 (.857) record in seven CCHA playoff seasons.

TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT: In six of Notre Dame’s last eight playoff appearances the series has gone all three games. The Irish won four of them while losing two. The last two years saw the Irish drop series in two straight games to Michigan in 2004-05 and Alaska last season. The 2-0 loss to Michigan snapped a run of six straight three-game series. Prior to that Michigan series, the Irish had won three straight best-of-three series – 2004 vs. Western Michigan, 2003 vs. Miami and 2002 vs. Nebraska-Omaha. The Irish have only played home playoff series in two of the last five seasons. Notre Dame has not won a best-of-three playoff series in two games since the 1981-82 season when the Irish defeated Michigan two straight in the first round of that CCHA series by 6-5 and 5-3 scores.

BY THE NUMBERS: Notre Dame was 6-1-1 in the month of February and had a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) snapped on Feb. 23 in a 5-2 loss to Ferris State. The five goals scored by Ferris were the most given up all season by Notre Dame. Since Dec. 2, Notre Dame has a 17-3-2 record.

HOBEY HOPEFULS: Two Notre Dame players – goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) and right wing Mark Van Guilder (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) – are among 40 players listed by the Hobey Baker Award website as candidate’s for the prestigious honor. Phase one of – Vote For Hobey – is now underway. Fans now have the opportunity to select their favorite candidate for the list of top ten finalists on the new Hobey Baker Award website (www.hobeybaker.com). Fans may vote for one candidate at a time, but can vote multiple times per day. The standings will run concurrently on the Hobey Baker website. Voting in phase one ended on March 4. Phase two will begin on March 15 after the top ten finalists have been announced. To vote, visit the Vote For Hobey link on the Hobey Baker website, or just click on the Vote For Hobey button on the site’s homepage.

David Brown: Brown was a first team all-CCHA selection this week and finished the regular season with a 25-5-3 record to go with a 1.68 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He also had five shutouts. His win total and goals-against average are tops in the CCHA and the nation. His five shutouts lead the league and are third nationally. His .927 save percentage is second in the conference and sixth in the nation. Brown set school records for wins (25) and shutouts (5) with his 2-0 shutout of Ferris State in his last start on Feb. 24. The Stoney Creek, Ont., native was also Notre Dame’s Perani Cup winner for three-star voting during the CCHA regular season. He picked up 36 points as he was named First Star four times, Second Star five times and Third Star one time. Brown is also one of 10 finalists for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award that goes to a senior for his character, classroom, community service and play on the ice. He is currently ranked second by CSTV.com’s Hobey Watch and second by Inside College Hockey.com’s Hobey Tracker.

Mark Van Guilder: Van Guilder rides a three-game point streak into the playoffs and scored goals in each of his last two games against Ferris State. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 17 and his 15 assists give him 32 points to rank him fourth in scoring for the Irish. Van Guilder has career highs in goals and points this season and he has now played in 110 consecutive games in his career.

CCHA AWARDS: The CCHA has begun announcing its postseason awards and the Irish have been involved in all of them. As mentioned earlier, David Brown was selected first team all-CCHA, making him just the second Notre Dame player ever to take first team honors from the CCHA. Defenseman Benoit Cotnoir `99 was a first team choice in 1998-99. In all, the Irish have only had seven other players selected second team by the league’s coaches. Right wing Erik Condra (So., Livonia, Mich.) and defenseman Noah Babin (Sr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) received honorable mention honors and defenseman Kyle Lawson (Fr., New Hudson, Mich.) also received votes. Three Notre Dame freshmen were selected to the all-rookie team. Forwards Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) were joined by Lawson among the conference’s top six freshmen. Off the ice, senior Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) was Notre Dame’s scholar-athlete choice by the CCHA. He is now a candidate for the conference’s scholar-athlete of the year.

ONLY THE SECOND: By guiding Notre Dame to its first-ever CCHA regular-season championship, Irish head coach Jeff Jackson became just the second coach in CCHA history to win titles with two different teams. Jackson won regular-season titles at Lake Superior State (1990-91, `94-’95) prior to this season’s title with Notre Dame. He joins Michigan State Athletics Director Ron Mason who won two league titles while coaching at Bowling Green (`77-’78 and `78-’79) and five while behind the bench at Michigan State (`88-’89, `89-’90, `97-’98, `98-’99 and 2000-01).

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU: Senior goaltender David Brown continues to be one of the leading contenders for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award for college hockey’s top player. He has been selected first team all-CCHA and is also a finalist for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Brown set a school record for wins (25) and shutouts (5) with his 2-0 shutout of Ferris State in his last start on Feb. 24. Overall, he has now appeared in 33 of Notre Dame’s 36 games and has a 1.68 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage to go with a 25-5-3 record. The Hobey Baker candidate is first among CCHA goaltenders in wins (25), goals-against average (1.68) and shutouts (5). He is second in save percentage (.927) and second in minutes played (1,996:09). He ranks first nationally in wins, first in goals-against average, second in minutes played, third in shutouts and sixth in save percentage. His .803 winning percentage is first in the CCHA and second nationally. Brown and the Irish defense are best in the nation, giving up just 1.75 goals-per-game (63 in 36 contests). The senior goaltender now has 50 career wins at Notre Dame to rank second on the all-time wins list. A three-time CCHA goaltender of the week (Oct. 23, Nov. 6 and Jan. 29), Brown was also the all-tournament goaltender at the Lightning College Hockey Classic. This season, Brown has taken over Notre Dame’s all-time top spot for career goals-against average (2.41), save percentage (.914) and shutouts (11).

FRIDAY NIGHT FUN: With the 5-2 loss to Ferris State on Feb. 23, Notre Dame saw its’ record in the first game of series fall to 12-2-0 on the year. With the win in the second game of the weekend, Notre Dame is now 9-2-3 in the second game of a weekend series.

MOVING TO THE TOP: Last season (2005-06), Notre Dame tied for eighth in the CCHA with an 11-13-4 record for 26 points. Only one other CCHA team has made a bigger jump in a season to first place in the conference’s history over one season. In 2001-02, Ferris State finished in ninth place in the conference with 25 points. The following season (2002-03), the Bulldogs finished first with 45 points, going from ninth to first in one season.

WORST TO FIRST: Just two seasons ago, Notre Dame was 5-27-6 overall and finished last in the CCHA with a 3-20-5 record. In the CCHA’s 35-year history, no team has ever gone from worst-to-first in one season. There have been three teams go from worst to first in a two-season span. They are:

1975-76 Bowling Green – Falcons finished last in 1973-74 in a three team conference and finished first in ’75-’76 in a five-team league.

1992-93 Miami – RedHawks were last in 1990-91 with nine points in a nine-team conference. They finished first in 1992-93 with 49 points in a 12-team conference for a 40-point improvement over two seasons.

2006-07 Notre Dame – Irish were last in 2004-05 with 11 points in a 12-team conference. This season, the Irish take first place with 43 points (with two games remaining) for a 32-point improvement over two seasons.

JOYCE CENTER SELLOUTS: With two sellouts versus Ferris State (Feb. 23-24), Notre Dame has had six straight sell outs at the Joyce Centers and sellouts in eight of the last nine games, dating back to Dec. 10. This season, the Irish have had nine sellouts at the Joyce Center and are averaging 2,440 fans per game in 14 home games this season. Standing-room capacity is 2,763.

SWEEPING ALASKA: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska since the 1985-86 season. In 20 games there, the Irish had never swept the Nanooks…until the weekend of Feb. 16-17. The 1-0 and 3-2 overtime wins at the Carlson Center marked Notre Dame’s first-ever sweep of Alaska in Fairbanks.

ALL TIED UP: Notre Dame’s 3-2 overtime win at Alaska on Feb. 17 was the second overtime win for the Irish this season and they are now 2-1-3 in the extra session this year. The two wins mark the first time the Irish have won two overtime games since the 2001-02 season when they were 2-1-5. Notre Dame has never won more than two games in overtime in a season. The 2-2 tie with Nebraska-Omaha on Feb. 10 was the fifth overtime game for the Irish this season. On Jan. 27, the Irish battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie Miami, 2-2. On Jan. 12, at Lake Superior, the Irish took a 4-3 overtime win that was the first for the Irish since Dec. 10, 2004 when the Irish defeated Michigan State, 3-2, at the Joyce Center. The last time that the Irish won an overtime game on the road was March 9, 2002, a 2-1 win at Nebraska-Omaha in the CCHA playoffs. In 58 overtime games since the start of the 1999-2000 season, the Irish are 9-7-42 in overtime.

A WINNING RECORD: Notre Dame comes into the playoff series with a 27-6-3 overall record this season. The 27 wins ties an Irish record for wins in a season set in 1987-88 when the Irish were 27-4-2 that year.

PENALTY-KILLING SUPREME: Notre Dame’s penalty killers killed of eight of nine Ferris State power-play chances in the last regular-season series for the Irish. The goal was just the fourth power-play goal given up by the Irish in the last 13 games since Jan. 13. In that 13-game span, the Irish have killed 60-of-64 opponent power-play chances for a 93.7% success rate. Notre Dame has the top-rated penalty killers in the CCHA and the nation, killing penalties at a 90.5% success rate in 2006-07.

THE KID LINE: Notre Dame’s line of Ryan Thang, Kevin Deeth and Erik Condra (two freshmen and a sophomore) has been the team’s top scoring trio this season. The threesome had two goals and two assists in the weekend series with Ferris State with Thang (0g, 2a) and Deeth (1g, 1a) combining for a goal and three assists. For the season the trio now has 46 goals and 61 assists for 107 points. Included in the 46 goals are 19 power-play goals, three short-handed goals and 12 game winners. The three players are a combined +61. Condra and Deeth are tied for second while Thang is tied for eighth in the CCHA +/- rankings.

THE REAL THANG: Freshman right wing Ryan Thang continued his impressive rookie season versus Ferris State, getting a pair of assists in the series. He is now tied for the team lead in goals (17) and leads in power-play goals (8), game winners (5) and shots on goal (102). Thang’s 17 goals are most by an Irish freshman since Rob Globke `04 had 17 in 2000-01. He is now tied for tied for seventh on the Irish list for goals by a freshman with Globke and Brian Walsh `74, with 17. He is second in the CCHA among freshmen goal scorers, trailing Western Michigan’s Mark Letestu who has 24. Fellow freshman Kevin Deeth, with 16 goals this season, is tied with current volunteer assistant, Mike McNeill `88 with 16 goals, to break into the top 10.

Irish Freshman Goal Scoring Leaders    Player                Goals1.  Dave Poulin (78-79)    282.  Paul Regan (69-70)     273.  Kevin Hoene (68-69)    24    John Noble (68-69)     245.  Greg Meredith (76-77)  236.  Tom Mooney (84-85)     197.  Ryan Thang (06-07)     17    Brian Walsh (73-74)    17    Rob Globke (00-01)     1710. Kevin Deeth (06-07)    16    Mike McNeill (84-85)   16

FRESHMEN POINT PRODUCERS: Irish freshmen Kevin Deeth and Ryan Thang are ted for second on the Irish with 34 points as freshmen. Thang is tied for the team lead with 17 goals and his 17 assists give him 34 on the year. Deeth with 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points is tied with Thang for second on the team. The dynamic duo are rapidly climbing the charts on Notre Dame’s single-season freshman scoring list. They currently rank second among CCHA freshmen scorers and tied for 14th nationally.

Irish Freshman Point Scoring Leaders    Player                   Points1.  John Noble (69-70)       24-35-59    Dave Poulin (78-79)      28-31-593.  Paul Regan (69-70)       27-20-474.  Kevin Hoene (68-69)      24-22-465.  Greg Meredith (76-77)    23-22-45    David Bankoske (88-89)   11-34-457.  Mike McNeill (84-85)     16-26-428.  Ian Williams (70-71)     15-26-419.  Jamie Ling (92-93)       14-26-4010. Tom Mooney (84-85)       19-20-3911. Jim Cordes (68-69)       12-24-3612. Bill Green (68-69)       14-21-35    Joe Bonk (68-69)         11-24-3514. Brian Walsh (73-74)      17-17-34    Ryan Thang (06-07)       17-17-34    Kevin Deeth (06-07)      16-18-34    Erik Condra (05-06)       6-28-34

SCORING IN BUNCHES: Through the first 36 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored two or more goals in a period a total of 34 times, including four goals in the third period versus Nebraska-Omaha on Feb. 9. The totals include 23 periods with two goals, nine periods with three goals, two periods with four goals and one with five lamplighters.

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame is 11-2-2 at home this season for an .800 winning percentage that is the best since the 2003-04 season when the Irish were 14-2-2 at the Joyce Center for an .833 winning percentage. Only two other Irish teams have had better home records – 1987-88 team was 18-2-0 (.900) and the 1969-70 team was 12-1-1 (.893).

PEARCE’S TURN: Sophomore goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) made his first start since Jan. 7 and just his third start of the season in the 3-2 overtime win at Alaska on Feb. 17. The Anchorage native put together an outstanding performance in the game, stopping 33 shots (the second highest-save total in his career) and helped stop six Nanook power plays in the win. The victory improved him to 2-1-0 on the year with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage.

THE WHITE CALL: Sophomore center Justin White (Traverse City, Mich.) continued his strong play of recent weeks as he recorded his second multiple-point game of the season in the 3-2 overtime win at Alaska on Feb. 17. White set up a pair of goals, including the game winner in that game. On the season, he now has two goals and nine assists for 11 points, all career highs.

RANKINGS UPDATE: For the fifth consecutive week, Notre Dame is ranked number one in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CSTV polls. The Irish have been in the polls for 18 consecutive weeks, the longest span for any Irish team. Prior to this season, the last time the Notre Dame was ranked was the 2003-04 campaign when the Irish finished the year ranked 12th.

SCORING BY CLASS: Here’s how Notre Dame scoring breaks down by classes this season.

Class (Skaters)  Goals   Assists  PointsFreshmen (6)      45       67      112Seniors (7)       26       74      100Sophomores (4)    32       46       78Juniors (5)       21       27       48Totals           124      214      338

ROAD SWEEPS: After not having a road sweep for over four years, the Irish now have three road sweeps this season and all came against CCHA teams. Notre Dame won two at Alaska (Feb. 16-17), two at Bowling Green (Feb. 2-3) and two at Lake Superior (Jan. 12-13). Prior to this season, the last road sweep came on Feb. 14-15, 2003 when they won a pair of games at Bowling Green.

LOST LEADS: The Irish have lost just two third-period leads this season with the 2-2 tie on Feb. 10 with Nebraska-Omaha being the first two-goal lead that Notre Dame has surrendered this season. The other time was on Jan. 7 when the Irish took a 2-1 lead into the third period and gave up three goals to Robert Morris in a 4-2 loss. Notre Dame is 21-1-1 when they lead after two periods of play. The Irish gave up their second two-goal lead of the season on Feb. 23 when they led Ferris State, 2-0, in the second period, but gave up five consecutive goals over the final 25:34 in a 5-2 loss.

TURN THE PAIGE: Senior center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) saw his career-best five-game point streak (0-5-5) snapped at Alaska as he was held scoreless in both games. On the year, Paige has career highs in assists (10) and points (19). His previous best season came in 2003-04 when he had 10 goals and six assists for 16 points. He recorded the second two-goal game of his career in the win over Michigan State on Nov. 17. He has already surpassed his totals from last season (4g, 1a, 5pts). One of the top defensive forwards in the CCHA, Paige continues as Notre Dame’s top face-off man winning 410-of-712 for a 57.6% success rate.

IRISH RANKING HISTORY: Notre Dame hasn’t been ranked often in its 39-year hockey history. During the 1972-73 season, the Irish finished ranked fourth overall in the WMPL radio poll and were ranked for eight weeks during the year. That season, Notre Dame lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA finals. The following year (1973-74), the Irish opened the season ranked second (WMPL) and stayed as high as No. 2 through the first four weeks of the year before dropping out. In 1976-77, the Irish were ranked in the final seven weeks of the season, reaching as high as No. 2 on Jan. 31, finishing the year ranked third in the WMPL radio poll. They lost to Minnesota in the WCHA playoffs in a total-goal series. Notre Dame would not be ranked again until October 26 of the 1981-82 season when they reached 10th but weren’t ranked again. In 1998-99, the Irish spent 16 consecutive weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 16) in both the USA Today and USHCHO.com polls, before falling out at the end of the year. In 2002-03, the Irish were ranked for one week and in 2003-04, they were ranked six weeks in total, including the final four weeks in a row to finish 12th in the USA Today Poll and 13th in the USCHO.com final polls.