Irish Back Home for Big Game with Boston College
The University of Notre Dame hockey team--off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1983--returns home this week for a much-anticipated matchup with Boston College ... the Friday night game has been moved back to 8 p.m. to accomodate fans who want to attend the football pep rally...the Irish have received mention in three national polls this week, checking in at 10th on the St. Paul Pioneer Press poll while receiving the 11th-most votes in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine coaches poll (Boston College was tied for the 12th-most votes) and tying with Boston College for the 14th-most votes in the U.S. College Hockey Online coaches poll (Notre Dame did not receive votes in the WMEB media poll) ... the Notre Dame-BC game will feature 15 former NHL draft picks and seven of the top players in the U.S. junior national team player pool ... the Irish are coming off an emotionally-charged sweep at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1), which represented the program's first two-game road sweep of a CCHA or WCHA team since current Irish head coach Dave Poulin's senior season, when Notre Dame posted wins of 5-4 and 6-0 at Ferris State on Feb. 12-13, 1982 ... Notre Dame opened its season with a 5-1 home win over Western Ontario on Oct. 10, thanks to four goals in the final five minutes (three of which were in the final 52 seconds) ... Notre Dame's 55 shots vs. UWO were its most in 72 games, stretching back to a forgettable 61-shot game against Guelph in the 1995-96 opener, a game won by the Griffins 2-1 in OT (Guelph had just 21 shots) ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included six freshmen, six sophomores, four juniors and two seniors ... the Irish are picked seventh (out of 11 teams) in the preseason Central Collegiate Hockey Association coaches poll.
SERIES NOTES: Boston College leads the series with Notre Dame 10-7, including two straight wins and a 6-1-0 mark in the last seven meetings ... the Eagles handed the Irish one of their worst losses of the 1996-97 season, posting a 6-1 home win on Nov. 8 behind goals from six different players: Jamie O'Leary, Jeff Farkas, Chris Masters, Kevin Caulfield, Marty Marty Reasoner and Blake Bellefeuille ... Masters also had two assists, as did Ken Hemenway ... Brian McCarthy's goal with 2:29 to play averted the shutout ... Ken Taylor had 16 saves for BC while Notre Dame's Matt Eisler made 22 stops but let in five goals before being pulled in the third for Forrest Karr (who made four saves with one goal against) ... the Eagles won at Notre Dame in 1995-96 (7-5) but the Irish won the previous season, at BC (3-2) ... this season marks the third straight year that the Notre Dame and BC hockey teams have met the night before the football game between the teams.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Notre Dame (12-for-12) and Ohio State (17-for-17) sit atop the CCHA penalty-killing units through the first two weeks of the 1997-98 season while the Irish power-play (6-for-19/.316) is up considerably from last season (.126) and ranks second among CCHA teams to Miami's .500 ... a year ago, Notre Dame did not score its sixth power-play goal until the eighth game of the season ... sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek's five assists tie him for the CCHA lead with Miami senior D Dan Boyle and Northern Michigan's senior D Curtis Sheptak ... the Irish have outscored the opposition 8-0 in the third period this season, in addition to Ben Simon's overtime goal at St. Cloud ... eight Irish players have combined on Notre Dame's 13 goals this season ... the team's scoring through three games breaks down as follows: Dusbabek (5A), Matt Van Arkel (2G, 2A), Steve Noble (2G, 2A), Simon (2G, 2A), Aniket Dhadphale (3G, 1A), Benoit Cotnoir (3A), Brian Urick (1G, 1A), Dan Carlson (1G, 1A), Lyle Andrusiak (1G), Mark Eaton (1G), Troy Bagne (1A) and Tyson Fraser (1A).
A WEEKEND OF FIRSTS: The wins at St. Cloud State on Oct. 17 (4-3/ot) and Oct. 18 (4-1) provided several significant steps for the Irish hockey program ... the team is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1983-94, when the Irish won their first 15 games en route to a 22-6-1 season ... the last time Notre Dame won three straight games came late in the 1993-94 season (8-3 at Ferris State, 4-2 at Illinois-Chicago and 4-1 at Bowling Green) ... the last time Notre Dame scored 13-plus goals in its first three games of a season was 1989-90, when the Irish totaled 19 goals (6-5, 3-7 vs. RIT and 10-4 vs. Holy Cross) ... Notre Dame's last two-game road sweep against a WCHA of CCHA team came during the senior season of current Irish head coach Dave Poulin, when Notre Dame won 5-4 and 6-0 at Ferris State on Feb. 12-13, 1982.
A DRAFTY NIGHT AT THE JOYCE CENTER: Friday's Notre Dame-Boston College tilt will feature a combined 15 players (eight for the Eagles, seven for the Irish) who have been selected in the last three NHL drafts, with 12 NHL clubs represented among those 15 draft picks ... Notre Dame and Boston College led all Division I schools in the spring of 1997 with four NHL draft picks each ... Notre Dame's 1997 drafted players were: sophomore C Ben Simon (5th round, Chicago Blackhawks), sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (7th rd, San Jose Sharks), freshman LW Jay Kopischke (8th rd, L.A. Kings) and freshman D Ryan Clark (9th rd, N.Y. Islanders) ... four Irish players have been selected in the first nine rounds of the same NHL draft once previously, in 1975 ... Boston College's four 1997 draftees were: sophomore LW Jeff Farkas (3rd rd, Toronto Maple Leafs), sophomore RW Kevin Caulfield (5th rd, Washington Capitals), sophomore D Mike Mottau (7th rd, New York Rangers) and freshman G Scott Clemmensen (8th rd, New Jersey Devils) ... Notre Dame's previously drafted players include senior C Steve Noble (8th rd, 1994, St. Louis Blues), junior RW Brian Urick (5th rd, 1996, Edmonton Oilers) and junior LW wing Aniket Dhadphale (10th rd, 1994, San Jose Sharks) ... just one other team in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association--Michigan (9)--has more than four former NHL draft picks on its current squad ... BC's other current players who have been drafted are junior C Marty Reasoner (14th pick in 1st rd, 1996, St. Louis Blues), junior D Brendan Buckley (5th rd, 1996, Anaheim Mighty Ducks), sophomore LW Tony Hutchins (8th rd, 1996, St. Louis Blues) and senior D Ken Hemenway (11th rd, 1993, Philadelphia Flyers).
FRIEND OR FOE?: Friday's Notre Dame-Boston College game will reunite Irish sophomore forwards Joe Dusbabek and Ben Simon with seven Eagles players that participated with Simon and Dusbabek at the recent 44-player U.S. National Junior Camp, Aug. 9-16 in Lake Placid. N.Y. ... those BC players include sophomores Kevin Caulfield (RW), Jeff Farkas (LW), Mike Mottau (D) and freshmen Bobby Allen (D), Brian Gionta (RW), Marty Hughes (D) and Rob Scuderi (D) ... Dusbabek played with Scuderi on the U.S. West team that captured the gold medal in the four-team tournament (junior national teams from Finland and Sweden also participated) ... Simon teamed with the other six BC players on the U.S. East team, which beat the West in the tournament round-robin (4-2) before losing to the West in the gold medal game (4-2) ... Simon and Dusbabek emerged from the junior national camp as members of the 23-player U.S. select team that participated in the international Tampere (Finland) Cup from Aug 21-24 ... five Eagles players also earned spots on the Tampere Cup team: Caulfield, Farkas, Mottau, Allen and Gionta ... the above players remain leading candidates to be members of the 1997-98 U.S. team that will compete in the World Junior Championships ... Simon and Farkas were linemates on the 1996-97 U.S. team that won the silver medal at the 1996-97 World Juniors in Switzerland, with three other BC players--Mottau, junior C Marty Reasoner and sophomore C Blake Bellefeuille--playing on that silver-medal team.
REUNION TIME: Despite being located in distinctly different parts of the country, the Notre Dame and Boston College hockey teams have several players who have played together in the past ... in addition to the above junior national team connections, the following players also have ties to one another ... Notre Dame senior G Matt Eisler played at the Cantebury (Conn.) School with BC junior left wing Matt Mulhern ... Irish sophomore RW John Dwyer played on the Dubuque Fighting Saints with BC junior LW Andy Powers and junior C Chris Masters ... Irish freshman Mark Eaton and BC freshman Marty Hughes shared duties as defensemen on the Applecore (N.Y.) Junior B squad.
EISLER STRONG OUT OF THE BLOCK: Senior goaltender Matt Eisler (West Milford, N.J.) has raced to a 1.65 goals-against average and .939 save percentage while leading the Irish to their 3-0 start ... Eisler was named the CCHA goaltender of the week after making 63 saves and allowing just four goals in last week's two-game sweep at St. Cloud State ... Eisler's 1.65 GAA ranks third among CCHA netminders with 180-plus minutes, behind Western Michigan's Matt Barnes (1.20) and Michigan State's Chad Alban (1.35) ... among goalies with 180-plus minutes, Barnes (.951) is the only CCHA netminder with a better save pct. than Eisler (.939).
IRISH POST 4-3 COMEBACK AT ST. CLOUD (10/17): Notre Dame used three power-play goals to erase a 3-0 second-period deficit and sophomore C Ben Simon completed the comeback with his second goal of the game as the Irish stunned the Huskies and 5,556 fans at the National Hockey Center ... Notre Dame senior G Matt Eisler's 27 saves included several that foiled solid St. Cloud scoring chances ... three Minnesota natives combined for the primary assists on all four Irish goals ... sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (Faribault) assisted on freshman LW Matt Van Arkel's score (making the game 3-1) and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale's goal that tied the game at 14:28 of the third ... freshman LW Dan Carlson (Edina) set up Simon's goal that cut the game to 3-2 while junior RW Brian Urick (Minnetonka) fed Simon for the game-winner at the 1:22 mark in overtime. Dave Poulin: This win was very encouraging for a young team like we had out there tonight. ... Ben Simon has so much speed that you have to respect him."
IRISH COMPLETE SWEEP OF HUSKIES, 4-1 (10/18): Senior C Steve Noble pushed Notre Dame in front with two first-period goals in a span of 85 seconds before third-period scores from junior LW Aniket Dhadphale and freshman LW Dan Carlson helped put the game away, as the Irish secure a sweep in front of a near-capacity crowd (6,126) ... senior Matt Eisler turned in another stellar effort, stopping 36 Huskies shots on goal ... sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek assisted on both of Noble's goals while Dhadphale's goal was unassisted and Carlson put back a deflected shot from sophomore C Ben Simon. Dave Poulin: "This was a big, big win. We had a good feeling right from the start, even when we fell behind 1-0. ... We played much better in terms of protecting the puck and making tape-to-tape passes ... Noble played a good controlled game. He won the one-on-one battles."
IRISH OPEN WITH 5-1 WIN OVER WESTERN ONTARIO (10/10): Notre Dame cored just once on its first 48 shots before erupting for four goals on its final seven attempts--including three in the final minute ... senior C Lyle Andrusiak netted the game-winner with 5:18 left in the third before an empty-netter from junior RW Brian Urick with 58 seconds to play ignited a flurry of three Irish goals in a span of 44 seconds ... freshman LW Matt Van Arkel scored on the power play with 25 seconds to play and first-year D Mark Eaton added a man-up goal of his own 11 seconds later to cap a somewhat deceiving four-goal margin that still was befitting of Notre Dame's 55-15 shot advantage ... the Irish found the net on their 22nd shot of the game at 7:33 of the second, when junior LW Aniket Dhadphale put back a rebounded shot by senior C Steve Noble, with sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek feeding Noble at the top of the crease with a pass from behind the net ... the game-winner came with the third-period clock ticking under five minutes ... Andrusiak won a left-circle faceoff in the UWO end, with Van Arkel gathering in the puck near the blueline and sending it into the left corner ... sophomore RW Troy Bagne dug the puck out of the corner and fired a pass into the crease ... Andrusiak was waiting near the left post and one-timed a shot into the lower right corner (14:42).
I'LL BE BACK: Notre Dame returns 19 letterwinners, including its top five scorers and top-two goaltenders, from its 1996-97 team that went 9-25-1 after dropping 12 games by one goal ... the returnees accounted for 77 percent of Notre Dame's goals and 80 percent of the team's assists in 1996-97, with seven of the top eight scorers returning.
BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER, DEEPER: The Irish hockey program already has received a boost from its freshman class, a group which includes four players who are 6-2 or taller and three who tip the scales at 195 pounds or heavier ... incoming forwards Dan Carlson, Chad Chipchase, Jay Kopischke and Matt Van Arkel have helped increase the team's speed and goal-scoring ability while the 5-10, 190-pound Carlson also is noted for his explosiveness and strength, as evidenced by his team-best 305-pound bench press in Notre Dame's 1997 fall conditioning ... first-year goaltender Kyle Kolquist--the 1996-97 Minnesota high school goalie of the year--could provide the Irish with its deepest netminding talent in recent memory ... Van Arkel is tied for second on the team with four points (2G, 2A) during the first three games while Carlson has a goal and an assist ... the 6-0, 190-pound Chipchase and 6-3, 205-pound Kopischke have skated alongside 6-4, 215-pound junior center Craig Hagkull on the bruising third forward line (Kopischke on the left, Chipchase on the right) ... freshmen blueliners Ryan Clark (6-4, 215) and Mark Eaton (6-3, 195) have helped the Irish defense allow just five goals in three games while stopping all 12 opponent power plays.
YOUNG GUNS: The 1996-97 Notre Dame hockey team was second-youngest in Division I, with an average age of 19 years and 11 months on Nov. 1, 1996 ... the Irish remain young in '97-'98, with an average age of 20 years and eight months as of 11/1/97 ... more than half (14) the players on the primary 27-man roster began their careers with the Irish immediately following graduation from high school, with seven joining the program after one year of junior hockey and only six spending two years in junior hockey before joining the Irish ... the youngest members of the '97-'98 Irish squad are: Dan Carlson (18 years, 6 months as of 11/1/97), Chad Chipchase (18, 7), Jay Kopischke (19, 2), Matt Van Arkel (19, 3), Ben Simon (19, 4) and Joe Dusbabek (19, 5) ... Carlson and Chipchase are among the 21 youngest players in the CCHA for 1997-98 while Simon was the league's third-youngest player in 1996-97 ... the '97-'98 Irish roster includes just six players who will be 22 years or older on Nov. 1, 1997 ... nine Irish players will be 18 or 19 years old on Nov. 1, 1997.
FROM ALL CORNERS: The 1997-98 Notre Dame hockey team features players from nine states and four provinces, including two players--Nathan Borega (Wasilla, Alaska) and Tyson Fraser (Surrey, B.C.)--who made the journey to Notre Dame from the west coast ... the program's nine Minnesota natives have two chances to travel to their home state during the 1997-98 season, when Notre Dame plays at St. Cloud State (a 4-3, 4-1 sweep on Oct. 17-18) and at the Minnesota Mariucci Classic (Dec. 28-29).USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll
1. North Dakota 100 2. Michigan State 86 3. Boston University 70 4. Colorado College 62 5. Maine 59 6. New Hampshire 52 7. Miami 33 8. Michigan 31 9. Minnesota 22 10. Colgate 12
Also Receiving Votes: Notre Dame 5, Boston College 4, Cornell 4, Wisconsin 3, Rensselaer 2.U.S. College Hockey Online Coaches Poll
1. North Dakota 300 2. Michigan State 247 3. Boston University 197 4. New Hampshire 186 5. Colorado College 167 6. Maine 155 7. Miami 124 8. Michigan 95 9. Minnesota 83 10. Cornell 34
Also Receiving Votes: Colgate, Wisconsin 13, Rensselaer 13, Notre Dame 7, Boston College 7, Lake Superior 4, Clarkson 3, UMass-Lowell 2.St. Paul Pioneer Press Poll
1. North Dakota 2. Maine 3. Michigan State 4. Boston University 5. Colorado College 6. Michigan 7. Mineesota 8. New Hampshire 9. Miami 10. NOTRE DAMECCHA Coaches Preseason Poll
School (1st) Pts Range 1. Michigan St. (9) 99 (1-2) 2. Miami (2) 90 (1-2-3) 3. Michigan 83 (2-3) 4. Lake Superior 69 (2-3-4-5-6) 5. W. Michigan 62 (3-4-5-6-7) 6. Bowling Green 54 (4-5-6-8) 7. NOTRE DAME 43 (5-6-7-8-9) 8. Ohio State 42 (4-5-6-7-8-9) 9. Ferris State 26 (6-7-8-9-10) N. Michigan 26 (7-8-9) 11. Alaska Fairbanks 11 (9-10)