Irish Resume Young CCHA Season Vs. BG, MSU
The Notre Dame hockey team (4-2-0) again will play home-and-away games on consecutive nights this week, when the Irish play host to Bowling Green on Friday, Nov. 7 before returning to Munn Arena for a game vs. Michigan State ... the Irish and Spartans split a pair of lopsided games last week, with MSU winning at Notre Dame (5-1) and the Irish returning the favor the next night in Munn Arena (6-1) ... Friday's Notre Dame-Bowling Green game will serve as the CCHA Game of the Week telecast, which is being carried this season by FoxSportsNet and its national affiliates (the second of four Irish appearances on the CCHA Game of the Week this season) ... the Irish opened with their first 3-0 start since 1983 before losing at home to Boston College (2-3), when the Eagles scored three goals in a five-minute, third-period span ... Notre Dame received mention in three national polls after its 3-0 start and again is mentioned in three polls this week, receiving the 14th-most votes in the WMEB media poll, the 15th-most in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll and the 17th-most in the WMPL coaches poll ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included as many as seven freshmen and six sophomores ... the Irish are picked seventh (out of 11 teams) in the preseason CCHA coaches poll.
SCOUTING THE FALCONS: Bowling Green is 2-5-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the CCHA after a pair of home games last week vs. Ferris State (3-3, 3-1) ... the Falcons opened the season with a 9-2 win over Waterloo before dropping games at Western Michigan (0-3), Boston College (2-3) and Northeastern (3-6) and losing a two-game home series with Clarkson (3-4, 1-6) ... BG returns just 15 letterwinners from last season's 17-16-5 team, after losing its top-four scorers (including Mike Johnson, 30-32/62, and Curtis Fry, 21-45/61) ... the Falcons tied for fifth in the CCHA last season (10-12-5) and defeated Lake Superior in the CCHA Tournament before losing to Michigan ... BG's top scorers this season are Brad Holzinger (1-8/9), Dave Faulkner (5-1/6) and Dan Price (1-4/5) ... the Falcons rank 10th in the CCHA for power-play pct. (.100, 5-for-57) and 7th for penalty-killing pct. (.825, 47-for-57) ... BG's average of 12.5 penalties per game this season is most among the 11-team CCHA ... veteran goaltender Mike Savard owns a 2.73 goals against average and .911 save pct.
BG SERIES NOTES: Bowling Green leads the series 27-16-2 but the Irish won 2-of-3 last year to end an eight-game losing streak vs. BG ... BG holds a 10-9-2 edge in games at Notre Dame ... the Irish won 7-5 at BG on Nov. 2, 1996, as Forrest Karr came off the bench for 28 saves and Lyle Andrusiak scored two timely goals ... the Irish came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 in that game ... the Falcons scored three times in a span of 2:40 (on goals by Adam Edinger, Brett Punchard and Zach Ham) to force Matt Eisler from the net 8:27 into the game ... Notre Dame's Tim Harberts and BG's Kelly Perrault then scored before Andrusiak stole the puck at center ice for a breakaway goal ... Andrusiak scored again early in the third before Steve Noble forged a 4-4 tie, with Ben Simon collecting his first of three assists ... Terry Lorenz pushed the Irish in front and Edinger netted the equalizer before Benoit Cotnoir sent home a blueline slapshot with 2:45 left to play and Aniket Dhadphale added the clinching empty-netter ... Notre Dame's 5-2 win at BG on Nov. 22, 1996 included two goals from Brian Urick and 30 saves from Karr in his first career start ... the Irish jumped ahead in the first 10 minutes on Andrusiak's breakaway and a goal by Urick 35 seconds later ... Harberts and Urick sandwiched second-period goals around a Dan Price score for the Falcons ... Dave Faulkner and Peter Ratchuk scored to cut the lead to 4-3 late in the third but Joe Dusbabek found the empty net to clinch the win ... BG won 3-2 at Notre Dame on Jan. 11, 1997, scoring twice in the first nine minutes on goals by Brad Holzinger and Price ... the Irish held a 25-22 shot advantage but went 0-for-8 on the power play ... Faulkner pushed BG ahead 3-0 early in the second before Lorenz and Dusbabek scored early in the third period for Notre Dame.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: After last week's split vs. the Irish, Michigan State is 6-1-2 (3-1-1 CCHA), with wins over Boston University (3-1), Wisconsin (2-1), Western Michigan (2-0), Michigan (4-2) and Ferris State (6-1) and ties vs. Guelph (3-3) and WMU (2-2) ... MSU's nine points lead the early CCHA standings, followed by upstart Northern Michigan (3-0-1) and Miami (3-0-0) ... the Spartans are ranked fourth in three national polls this week and sixth in the USA Today poll ... MSU's top scorers are Mike York (4-8/12) and Bryan Adams (3-9/12) while goaltender Chad Alban owns a CCHA-best 1.65 GAA and .915 save pct. ... MSU's power play (8.8%) is worst in the CCHA while its penalty killing (86.5%) is fifth best.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Notre Dame's Steve Noble and BG's Keith Ebarre played together on the Soo Midgets ... BG's Dennis Williams played with Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale on the Stratford Cullitons and with Chad Chipchase on Team Ontario ... Notre Dame's Sean Molina played on the Chicago Young Americans with BG's Brad Newman and in the USA Viking Cup with BG's Mike Jones ... Notre Dame's Ben Simon was a teammate of BG's Jones and Larry Hull on the Cleveland Jr. Barons ...ND's Ryan Clark and BG's Louis Mass played together on the Lincoln Stars.
MSU SERIES NOTES: The teams have met 72 times, with MSU holding a 40-28-4 edge ... last Saturday's 6-1 Irish win snapped a 17-game winless streak vs. MSU (0-14-3) ... MSU beat Notre Dame 4-1 for the '81-'82 CCHA Tournament title (current Irish coach Dave Poulin was captain of that Notre Dame team) ... the first game between the teams last year came in Notre Dame's 15th game of the season (the teams also played in game #26 and the season-ending 35th) but this year's series concludes on Notre Dame's eighth game of the season ... MSU won last year's first meeting (4-3 on Dec. 6) on a Mark Loeding goal with 54 seconds left to play ... Ben Simon netted his first career goal for the Irish in that game while Craig Hagkull and Brian McCarthy also scored ... Bryan Adams and Sean Berens had goals for MSU, with Mike York adding a goal and two assists ... MSU's Chad Alban posted a 31-save shutout effort at Notre Dame on Jan. 28, 1997 (3-0), ending a 92-game Irish scoring streak (the second-longest active streak in the CCHA at that time) ... Sean Berens had two goals for MSU in that game ... Notre Dame's 1996-97 season ended with a 3-2 home loss to MSU on Feb. 28, after Lyle Andrusiak and Steve Noble had given the Irish a 2-0 lead ... Steve Ferranti, Mike Watt and York scored for MSU in that game.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S MSU GAMES: MSU won 5-1 at Notre Dame on Halloween night, as Tyler Harlton and Damon Whitten netted timely first goals of the season ... Notre Dame tied the game midway through the second period on a power-play, tip-in goal by Ben Simon ... MSU struck first, at 6:58 of the first, when Bryan Adams capitalized on a giveaway in the Irish end ... Harlton helped MSU regain the lead on a shot from the left point (13:20) ... Whitten scored less than three minutes later and Rustyn Dolyny then struck early in the third period (2:05) ... John Nail capped the scoring with his own first goal of the season (10:25), slapping home a loose puck from the top of the right circle ... MSU's Chad Alban made 24 saves while Notre Dame's Matt Eisler gave way to sophomore Forrest Karr after Nail's goal ... on Nov. 1, Notre Dame used a four-goal flurry in the third period to pull away for a 6-1 victory at #2 Michigan State, in front of a sellout crowd (6,451) at Munn Arena ... the Irish bounced back from a 5-1 home loss to the Spartans the previous night, thanks to a first-period, power-play goal by Ben Simon and an unassisted second-period goal by Brian Urick ... the third-period flurry, covering 4:23, included two goals by Aniket Dhadphale, a score by Dan Carlson and Chad Chipchase's first collegiate goal ... MSU (6-1-2) was denied its best season-opening unbeaten streak while seeing its unbeaten streak against Notre Dame end at 17 games (14-0-3), stretching back to 1981-82 ... the six goals are the most scored against MSU since the final game of the 1995-96 season, when UMass-Lowell posted a 6-2 win over the Spartans ... the last time the Irish won by five or more goals came in the 1994-95 opener against St. Francis-Xavier (10-2) ... the five-goal victory margin is the biggest for the Irish in the last 35 games of the MSU series, stretching back to a 9-1 home win over the Spartans early in 1978-79 ... Matt Eisler made 32 saves while helping the Irish stop all seven MSU power plays, including a 28-second two-man advantage midway through the second period ... Notre Dame stretched its season penalty-killing efficiency to 96.9 percent (31-for-32), including a perfect 15-for-15 in the weekend's two games vs. MSU.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH DAVE POULIN ON THE WIN AT MSU: "This was a huge win for our team and for our program. The biggest thing was how we were able to bounce back from last night--the players knew they had to play much better to beat a team like Michigan State. Simon's early power-play goal and the penalty kill were both very crucial. The special teams set the tone for the night. Our defensive effort was outstanding all night and Matt Eisler again had an awesome night and some more very memorable saves."
NOTRE DAME SOPHOMORE CENTER BEN SIMON ON THE MSU WIN: "It was a great sign that we responded like we did tonight because we showed that we truly are a good team that can compete with the top teams in the nation. People started to notice us after the two wins at St. Cloud State and a pretty good game with Boston College but this was another big step. We actually have been playing better on the road. All the shifts were important tonight and we had a lot of guys make big plays."
SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame's power-play pct. (.243/9-for-37) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks second among CCHA teams to Miami's .341 ... a year ago, Notre Dame did not score its ninth power-play goal until the 12th game of the season ... Notre Dame ranked 4th in the CCHA for penalty killing last season (.813) and opened this season with 17 straight penalty kills before allowing a Boston College score ... the Irish last week killed off all 15 Michigan State power-play chances to raise their season penalty-killing percentage to a CCHA-leading .969 (31-for-32) ... the Irish record for season penalty-killing percentage was set by the 1969-70 team, which stopped 86.1 percent of opponent power plays ... the current power-play pct. (.243) is better than the previous seven season-ending averages (the 1989-90 team owned a .266 power play).
RETURN OF THE SNIPER: Junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale's impressive start to the 1997-98 season hints at a possible return to the form that saw him lead the Irish in goals as a freshman (13), when he converted on 18.1 percent of his 72 shots ... Dhadphale then endured a sophomore slump, scoring just five times on 109 shots (4.6 percent) ... this season, Dhadphale has surpassed his sophomore goal total, leading the Irish and is standing tied for second in the CCHA with six goals (Miami's Tim Leahy has seven), after converting on 37.5 percent of his 16 shots (an average of one goal per every 2.7 shots on goal) ... he has scored in every Irish game except the 5-1 loss to Michigan State, with his noteworthy scores including two in the clinching four-goal flurry at MSU (6-1).
SIMPLE SIMON: Notre Dame sophomore center Ben Simon has been Mr. Reliable this season, recording at least one point in each of the six games ... his five goals equal Simon's total for all of 1996-97 while his three power-play goals also equal his freshman year total ... Simon's three assists tie him with junior RW Brian Urick for the team scoring lead (8 points) ... his more noteworthy moments this season include two goals in the 4-3 win at St. Cloud State, one of them coming as the overtime game-winner, and a power-play score at Michigan State to open the scoring in the 6-1 Irish win.
GIVING AND RECEIVING: Junior RW Brian Urick is tied for the Irish scoring lead this season (8 points), thanks to six assists, with three of those coming in the recent 6-1 win at Michigan State ... Urick has ranked among the Irish scoring leaders throughout his career, totaling 27 goals and 35 assists over the course of 76 career games ... his assists this season include the pass that set up Ben Simon's overtime game-winner at St. Cloud State (4-3) ... Urick scored just once on his first 19 shots this season--the empty-netter in the opener vs. Western Ontario--before intercepting a clearing attempt and flicking a shot past Chad Alban for a 2-0 lead and what proved to be the game-winner at MSU.
FRESH LEGS WIN: Notre Dame owned an 8-0 third-period scoring advantage during its opening three wins ... a third-period goal by sophomore center Ben Simon then put the Irish up 2-0 on Boston College but the Eagles soared to three goals in a five-minute span during the final period to post a 3-2 comeback victory ... in the fifth game of the season, Michigan State used two third-period goals to wrap up a 5-1 win at Notre Dame but the Irish returned the favor the next night with a four-goal, third-period outburst that produced a 6-1 win ... Notre Dame owns a 13-5 scoring edge in the third period this season and has outscored the opposition 12-0 in the third period of the four Irish wins ... in Notre Dame's two losses this season, the opposition has owned a 5-1 scoring edge.
GO-TO GROUP: Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin remarked before the season that the Irish did not have a 30-goal scorer and would need to rely on several players for timely goals ... although junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (6 goals) and sophomore C Ben Simon (5) have set an early pace for 30-plus goals, the Irish truly have relied on balanced scoring ... nine players have combined on the 22 goals, 13 have combined for 35 assists and the four game-winning goals have come from four different players ... the team's top eight scorers have between 4-8 points, led by Simon (5-3), junior RW Brian Urick (2-6), Dhadphale (6-1) and senior C Steve Noble (2-4) ... freshmen Matt Van Arkel (2-3) and Dan Carlson (2-2) have quickly made their presence felt while sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (0-5) and junior D Benoit Cotnoir (0-4) have provided clutch assists ... senior C Lyle Andrusiak has scored just once but that goal proved to be the game-winner in the opener vs. Western Ontario (5-1), with Van Arkel and freshman D Mark Eaton providing the clinching goals in the closing seconds ... Simon was the hero in the first win at St. Cloud State (4-3), when his two goals included the overtime game-winner ... in the second win over St. Cloud (4-1), Noble scored the first two goals and Dhadphale and Carlson clinched the game with third-period goals ... in the 6-1 win at MSU, five Irish players lit the lamp, with Urick netting the second-period (he also had three assists) while Dhadphale's two goals ignited a four-goal flurry late in the third period.
IRISH PENALTY COUNT CONTINUES TO DROP: After ranking among the CCHA's most-penalized teams in 1994-95 (11.59 penalties/gm) and 1995-96 (11.33), Notre Dame last season became the conference's least-penalized team (8.69 penalties per game) ... through six games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 44 penalties for 7.33 per game ... by comparison, upcoming foe Bowling Green has totaled 100 penalties (for a CCHA-high 12.5/gm) that have led to 10 opponent power-play goals ... Notre Dame's current penalty average of 7.33/gm is the lowest by an Irish squad since the 1989-90 team averaged 7.03/gm ... after Notre Dame, the CCHA's least-penalized teams this season are as follows: Ohio State (8.00), Lake Superior (8.17), Michigan State (9.11), Alaska Fairbanks (9.43) and Michigan (9.57) ... after Bowling Green, the CCHA's most-penalized teams are Western Michigan (12.13), Ferris State (11.29), Miami (10.67) and Northern Michigan (10.14) ... Notre Dame's hard-hitting sophomore D Nathan Borega has been whistled for just three penalties this season and less than one per game in his career (34 in 41 games) ... other disciplined skaters include senior centers Steve Noble (no penalties in '97-'98, 17 in last 40 games) and Lyle Andrusiak (two penalties in '97-'98, 14 in last 40 games, 40 in 109 career games) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (two penalties in '97-'98, 19 in 35 career games) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with untimely penalties in his first two seasons (totaling 58 in 70 games) but has just two penalties in 1997-98 ... freshmen Matt Van Arkel, Dan Carlson and Chad Chipchase each have totaled just one penalty this season while another rookie forward, Jay Kopischke, has yet to visit the penalty box.
SPURTABILITY: Notre Dame has erupted twice this season to put games away in the third period ... in the opener vs. Western Ontario, the Irish scored three times in the final minute for a 5-1 win, with Brian Urick finding the open net before freshmen Matt Van Arkel and Mark Eaton converted power-play goals in the closing seconds ... on Nov. 1 at Michigan State, Aniket Dhadphale scored the first and third goal of a four-goal outburst that clinched the 6-1 win ... freshmen Dan Carlson and Chad Chipchase also scored in the flurry, covering 4:23, as the Irish put away a game that was 2-1 with eight minutes to play.
A SEASON 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 3-0 start was Notre Dame's first since 1983-94, when the Irish won their first 15 games en route to a 22-6-1 season ... the previous time Notre Dame won three straight games came late in the 1993-94 season (8-3 at Ferris State, 4-2 at Illinois-Chicago, 4-1 at Bowling Green) ... the previous time Notre Dame scored 13-plus goals in its first three games of a season was 1989-90, when the Irish totaled 19 (6-5, 3-7 vs. RIT and 10-4 vs. Holy Cross) ... Notre Dame's previous 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 ... the 6-1 win at Michigan State on Nov. 1 provided further steps: Notre Dame's first win over MSU in 18 games, ending a 0-14-3 winless streak that stretched back to 1981-82; the most goals scored against MSU since the final game of the 1995-96 season (a 6-2 win by UMass-Lowell); Notre Dame's first five-goal victory margin since the 1994-95 opener against St. Francis-Xavier (10-2); and the biggest Irish victory margin in the last 35 games of the MSU series, stretching back to a 9-1 home win over the Spartans early in 1978-79.
THE EISMAN COMETH ... AND TAKETH AWAY: Senior goaltender Matt Eisler (West Milford, N.J.) has raced to a 2.33 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 1997-98 while leading the Irish to their 4-2 start and 31-for-32 penalty-killing effort ... Eisler was named the CCHA goaltender of the week after making 63 saves and allowing just four goals in the two-game sweep at St. Cloud State (Oct. 17-18) and his 32 saves helped the Irish run away with the 6-1 win at Michigan State on Nov. 1. ... Eisler's 2.33 GAA ranks third among CCHA netminders with 270-plus minutes, behind Michigan State's Chad Alban (1.65) and Western Michigan's Matt Barnes (1.97) ... among goalies with 270-plus minutes, Barnes (.925) is the only CCHA netminder with a better save pct. than Eisler's .924 ... Eisler's current 2.33 GAA would rank second in Irish history--behind John Barry's 2.00 in 1968-69 and well ahead of Chris Cathcart's 2.83 in 1970-71--while his .924 save pct. is ahead of Mark Kronholm's existing Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) ... Eisler's .878 career save pct. ranks fifth in Irish history while his 2,250 career saves rank sixth all-time at Notre Dame ... Eisler has carried the Irish to a 2.33 season goals against average that would blow away the existing team record of 3.40, set in 1987-88 ... the current team save pct. (.925) likewise is well ahead of the Irish record of .891 (set in 1976-77).
ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame is 3-0 away from home this season, posting big wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1) and then-#2 Michigan State (6-1) ... the Irish have been particularly impressive during the third period of those road games, scoring twice to force overtime in the first game at St. Cloud, clinching the second win over the Huskies with two more third-period goals, and using a four-goal, third-period flurry in the big win at Michigan State ... Notre Dame has scored 14 goals away from home on 73 shots on goal, for an average of 5.2 shots per goal (19.2 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its three home games, Notre Dame has scored just eight goals on 105 shots, for an average of 13.1 shots per goal (13.1 shooting pct.).
FAMILIAR FACES: 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 fifth on the team in scoring lead with five points (2G, 3A) while Carlson has two goals and two assists ... during the first four games of the season, the 6-0, 190-pound Chipchase and 6-3, 205-pound Kopischke skated alongside 6-4, 215-pound junior center Craig Hagkull on the bruising third forward line (Kopischke on the left, Chipchase on the right) ... in the 6-1 win at Michigan State, Chipchase moved to left wing of the second line (centered by senior Steve Noble), with Van Arkel moving to the right wing ... freshmen blueliners Ryan Clark (6-4, 215) and Mark Eaton (6-3, 195) have helped the Irish defense allow just 14 goals in six games while stopping 31 of 32 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 '97-'98 Irish 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 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).