Irish Embark on First CCHA Weekend Road Trip* Games at Miami and Ohio State to test 5-3 start
* Irish again one of youngest teams in Division I hockey
* OSU game to feature CCHA's top two penalty-killing units
* Eisler taking his place among CCHA's top netminders
The Notre Dame hockey team (5-3-0, 2-2-0 CCHA) hits the road this week for games at nationally-ranked Miami University and Ohio State ... the game vs. OSU will be played on Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus ... Notre Dame opened CCHA play with a split vs. then #2 Michigan State, losing at home (5-1) before posting a 6-1 win at MSU ... the Irish last week held on to beat Bowling Green at home (2-1) before losing in 3-1 in the final minutes at MSU ... ... the Irish opened the season 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 this week in two national polls: the WMPL coaches poll (one of 17 teams receiving votes) and the U.S. College Hockey Online poll (one of 20 to receive votes) ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included as six freshmen and six sophomores ... the Irish were picked seventh (out of 11 teams) in the preseason CCHA coaches poll ... senior goaltender Matt Eisler has totaled 85 saves and just four goals allowed in his last four games while junior LW Aniket Dhadphale's torrid early-season pace has netted seven goals (tied for the CCHA lead) on 20 shots.
IRISH TIED FOR THIRD-YOUNGEST TEAM IN DIVISION I HOCKEY: 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 two months as of 10/28/97, according to the recently-released data by NHL Central Scouting, which lists Harvard (19, 7) and Boston University (20, 0) as the two youngest teams in the nation while Notre Dame is tied with two of its 1997-98 opponents--Boston College and Michigan--as having the third-lowest average age in Division I hockey ... more than half (14) of the players on Notre Dame's 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, 6), 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 were 22 years or older on Nov. 1, 1997 while nine Irish players were 18 or 19 years old on 11/1/97.
SCOUTING THE REDHAWKS: Miami (6-1-0, 3-1-0) stands in fourth place in the early CCHA standings and is ranked in three of the four national polls: #7 according to USA Today/America Hockey Magazine, #6 in the WMEB media poll and #5 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll ... Miami is coming off a 5-4 upset loss at Ohio State after opening with wins over Waterloo (10-2), Ohio State (3-0), Alaska-Fairbanks (11-3, 6-3) and St. Lawrence (2-1, 6-5) ... the Redhawks are a veteran team that is loaded with senior talent, as 18 of 22 letterwinners return from the 1996-97 Miami team that went 27-12-1 overall and finished second in the CCHA (19-7-1) ... senior All-American defenseman Dan Boyle leads Miami and the CCHA with 20 points (6G, 14A) while senior forward Tim Leahy is the CCHA's second-leading scorer with 15 points (7G, 8A) ... Leahy is tied with Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale and Michigan's Bill Muckhalt for the CCHA goal-scoring lead (7) ... two other Miami players rank among the CCHA's top 10 scorers: senior Adam Copeland (4G, 8A) and sophomore Dustin Whitecotton (5G, 5A) ... senior Trevor Prior again has been tough in the goal for the Redhawks, ranking second in the CCHA for goals-against average (1.87) and third in save percentage (.925) ... Miami owns the CCHA's top power-play unit, converting on 32.6 percent of it chances (15-for-46), led by five power-play goals from Leahy and three from Gregor Krajnc ... Miami's penalty-killing (.846/8-for-52) ranks just sixth in the CCHA.
MIAMI SERIES NOTES: Miami holds a 14-5-2 edge in its all-time series with Notre Dame, including a 12-1-2 mark vs. the Irish in the last 15 meetings ... Notre Dame's only win vs. Miami since 1983 came late in the 1995-96 season, at Miami (5-2) ... Notre Dame senior center Steve Noble has totaled nine career points vs. Miami (3G, 6A) ... Miami swept last year's series, winning two close games at home (2-1, 4-3) and once at Notre Dame (6-3) ... in last year's first game (Oct. 26), Irish goaltender Matt Eisler extended his shutout streak to over 120 minutes but Miami came away with the win thanks to goals in the first two minutes of the third period by Joe Bodnar and Ryan Brindley ... Noble's power-play goal put the Irish ahead late in the second ... Whitecotton's wraparound goal with 40 seconds left to play won the second matting of 1996-97 (Nov. 23) ... Joe Dusbabek, Terry Lorenz and Brian Urick scored for the Irish while Mark Tropper, Vitali Andreev and Copeland scored for Miami ... on Jan. 3, the Irish answered a Tom White goal with scores from Lyle Andrusiak, Dusbabek and Sean Seyferth but Miami tied the game in the second on goals by Leahy and Mark Shalawylo before winning in the third on goals from Tropper, C.J. Buzzell and Randy Robitaille.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES: Ohio State (4-3-1, 1-2-0) recently has posted two wins over ranked teams: at #10 Clarkson (6-2) and at home vs. then-#7 Miami (5-4) ... OSU's other wins have come vs. Toronto (5-0) and Merrimack (5-3) while their losses have been at Miami (0-3), vs. Merrimack (2-7) and vs. Western Michigan (1-3) ... OSU also played to a 1-1 tie at Clarkson before posting the upset the following day ... the Buckeyes return 15 of 22 letterwinners from its 1996-97 team that went 12-25-2 and finished seventh in the CCHA (9-16-2) ... Notre Dame and OSU both have scored 25 goals through eight games this season, with Eric Meloche (3G, 4A), Hugo Boisvert (2G, 4A) and Jean-Francois Dufour (3G, 3A) leading a balanced Buckeyes offense that includes 13 players with three-plus points, 10 with four-plus points and eight with between 5-7 points ... sophomore Ray Aho ranks seventh in the CCHA with a 2.55 goals against average while his .895 save pct. ranks eight ... OSU is the only team in the CCHA with a higher penalty-killing percentage (.932, 41-for-44) than Notre Dame's .929 ... OSU's power play (.149, 7-for-47) ranks sixth in the CCHA.
OSU SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame owns 1 17-7-3 series edge vs. Ohio State but the Buckeyes won two late games at Notre Dame last season en route to earning a spot in the eight-team CCHA Tournament ... the Irish won last year's first game at OSU (10/25), posting a 3-0 win behind Matt Eisler's 47 saves, the most ever by an Irish goalie in a shutout effort ... Joe Dusbabek and Aniket Dhadphale scored in that game before Steve Noble added the clinching empty-netter ... OSU squared the season series with a 5-3 win on Feb. 7, with Chad Power scoring OSU's first two goals and assisting on the third (by Hugo Boisvert) ... goals from Ben Simon and Tim Harberts yielded a 3-2 OSU lead heading into the third but Pierre Dufour and Boisvert scored in the third (as did Notre Dame's Brian Urick) ... the Irish went ahead 2-0 the next day, on goals by Dusbabek an Andy Jurkowski, before OSU tied things up on behind goals from Jarret Whidden and Power ... OSU Ryan Root scored to put OSU back in front in the second period before Ben Nelsen tied the game with a shorthanded second-period goal ... Root then covered the puck illegally in the crease as the second period neared its end but Dusbabek sent the ensuing penalty shot high and of the right post ... Dufour came through with the game-winner seven minutes into the third.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several current players from Notre Dame and Miami played together on previous teams ... they include: Notre Dame junior D Scott Giuliani and Miami senior RW Adam Copeland (Burlington Cougars), Notre Dame junior G Forrest Karr and Miami junior C C.J. Buzzell (Wisconsin Capitols), Notre Dame sophomore D Nathan Borega and sophomore C Dustin Whitecotton (Vernon Vipers), Whitecotton and Notre Dame sophomore D Tyson Fraser (Team British Columbia), Notre Dame sophomore D Sean Molina and Miami sophomore F Mark Shalawylo (USA Viking Cup) and Notre Dame sophomore C Ben Simon and Miami junior D Josh Harrold (Cleveland Junior Barons).
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?: Nearly 40 percent of the current 271 players that have played this season for a CCHA team are products of either the United States Hockey League (54) or the North American Hockey League (52) ... Ferris State and Miami each have used eight former USHL players this season while Notre Dame has played seven ... Ohio State (9) and Ferris State (7) have featured the most former NAHL players while Notre Dame has one: sophomore C Ben Simon (Cleveland Junior Barons) ... 20 former high school or prep school players have skated for a CCHA team this season, with Michigan accounting for seven of those players while Notre Dame has five (the Irish players are sophomore RW Troy Bagne, freshman LW Dan Carlson, senior G Matt Eisler, sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek and junior RW Brian Urick).
RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S GAMES: Nov. 7 - Aniket Dhadphale and Ben Simon again came through with the timely goals as Notre Dame held on for a 2-1 victory over visiting Bowling Green ... Dhadphale scored a power-play goal early in the first period before a memorable shorthanded score in the closing moments of the period from Simon, who weaved his way from one end of the ice to the other to give the Irish a 2-0 lead ... Bowling Green failed to solve Notre Dame Matt Eisler on its first 21 shots of the game before Dan Price converted on the Falcons' eighth power-play chance of the night, with just 1:50 left ... prior to Price's goal, Notre Dame had stopped 22 straight opponent power plays and 38 of 39 ... Tyson Fraser initiated the first goal with a shot from the left point that failed to reach BGSU goaltender Mike Savard ... Steve Noble fired the rebound back on net and his shot was blocked by the defense but Dhadphale was filling the middle of the crease and sent a shot past Savard for the 1-0 lead (4:23) ... on the second goal, BG was working the puck in the Irish zone when Mark Eaton dove to deflect an attempted shot ... Simon skated onto the puck at the circle to Eisler's left (near the Irish bench) and then proceeded to weave in a large "S", angling right towards the penalty box before skirting the faceoff circle on the opposite, far side ... Simon was able to shield a defender through the Falcons zone and glided through the slot before completing the journey by nudging the puck into the lower left corner as he skated by the left post (16:14). Nov. 8 - Rustyn Dolyny scored a rebound goal with 3:43 remaining and Sean Barnes added an empty netter in the closing seconds as #4 Michigan State defeated visiting Notre Dame, 3-1 ... MSU owned a 35-15 shot advantage (17-2 in the third period) ... Eisler's 32 saves yielded a three-game total of 85 saves and just four goals allowed ... the Irish forged a 1-1 tie in the first period, just as a hooking penalty on MSU's Andrew Bogle was expiring ... Joe Dusbabek and Matt Van Arkel worked the puck into the slot for senior Lyle Andrusiak, who quickly wristed a high shot past Chad Alban into the right side of the net (17:55) ... MSU jumped ahead with a power-play goal four minutes into the game, when Shawn Horcoff knocked home a shot from Berens that rebounded off the back boards.
SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame's power-play pct. (.215/10-for-47) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks fourth among CCHA teams, behind Miami (.326), Alaska Fairbanks (.220) and Michigan (.215) ... a year ago, Notre Dame did not score its 10th 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 16 straight penalty kills before allowing a Boston College score ... the Irish then killed off 22 straight power plays, including 15 in a two-game weekend series vs. then-#2 Michigan State ... the team's season penalty-killing percentage of .929 (39-for-42) ranks second in the CCHA behind Ohio State's .932 ... 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. (.215) is better than four of the five previous season-ending averages (the 1994-95 team owned a .220 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 standing tied with Miami's Tim Leahy and Michigan's Bill Muckhalt for first in the CCHA with seven goals, after converting on 35.0 percent of his 20 shots (an average of one goal per every 2.9 shots on goal) ... he has scored in every Irish game except the two losses to Michigan State (5-1, 3-1), 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 seven games before being shut out in the 3-1 loss at Michigan State ... his season goal total (6) has surpassed his total for all of 1996-97 (4) while his three power-play goals also equals his freshman year total ... Simon's three assists have yielded a team-best nine points this season ... 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, a power-play score at Michigan State to open the scoring in the 6-1 Irish win and a memorable shorthanded goal in the 2-1 win over Bowling Green, in which he weaved from one end of the ice to the other.
GIVING AND RECEIVING: Junior RW Brian Urick is tied for second on the Irish scoring chart 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 78 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 13-8 scoring edge in the third period this season and has outscored the opposition 12-1 in the third period of the four Irish wins ... in Notre Dame's three losses this season, the opposition has owned a 7-1 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 (7 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 25 goals, 13 have combined for 40 assists and the five game-winning goals have come from four different players ... the team's top nine scorers have between 4-9 points, led by Simon (6-3), junior RW Brian Urick (2-6), Dhadphale (7-1) and senior C Steve Noble (2-5) ... freshmen Matt Van Arkel (2-4) and Dan Carlson (2-2) have quickly made their presence felt while sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (0-6) and junior D Benoit Cotnoir (0-4) have provided clutch assists ... senior C Lyle Andrusiak's first of two goals this season 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 (Eaton also has three assist for the season) ... 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.
PENALTY 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 eight games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 55 penalties for 6.9 per game ... Notre Dame's current penalty average is the lowest by an Irish squad since the 1987-88 team averaged 6.4/gm ... after Notre Dame, the CCHA's least-penalized teams this season are as follows: Ohio State (7.9), Michigan State (8.6), Ferris State (9.6), Michigan (9.6), and Lake Superior (10.5) ... the CCHA's most-penalized teams are Bowling Green (11.9), Western Michigan (11.8), Alaska Fairbanks (11.3), Miami (10.4) and Northern Michigan (10.1) ... Notre Dame's hard-hitting sophomore D Nathan Borega has been whistled for just seven penalties this season and less than one per game in his career (38 in 43 games) ... other disciplined skaters include senior centers Steve Noble (one penalty in '97-'98, 18 in last 42 games) and Lyle Andrusiak (two penalties in '97-'98, 14 in last 42 games, 40 in 111 career games) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (two penalties in '97-'98, 19 in 37 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 forwards Matt Van Arkel, Dan Carlson and Jay Kopischke each have totaled just one penalty this season.
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 2.17 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 1997-98 while leading the Irish to their 5-3 start and 39-for-42 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. ... in his last three games, Eisler has made 85 saves while allowing just four goals ... his 2.17 GAA ranks fifth overall in the CCHA and third among netminders with 370-plus minutes, behind Michigan State's Chad Alban (1.59) and Western Michigan's Matt Barnes (1.98) ... Eisler's .929 save pct. is tops in the CCHA, just ahead of Barnes (.928) ... Eisler's current 2.17 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 .929 save pct. is far ahead of Mark Kronholm's existing Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) ... Eisler's .880 career save pct. ranks fourth in Irish history while his 2,282 career saves rank sixth ... Eisler has carried the Irish to a 2.25 season goals against average that would blow away the existing team record of 3.40, set in 1987-88 ... the current team save pct. (.926) likewise is well ahead of the Irish record of .891 (set in 1976-77).
ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame is 3-1 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 15 goals away from home on 89 shots on goal, for an average of 5.9 shots per goal (16.9 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its four home games, Notre Dame has scored just 10 goals on 133 shots, for an average of 13.3 shots per goal (7.5 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 18 goals in eight games while stopping 39 of 42 opponent power plays ... Eaton also has made his mark in the offensive end by recording a goal and three assists.
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).
CCHA 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) Northern Michigan 26 (7-8-9) 11. Alaska Fairbanks 11 (9-10)NOTRE DAME HOCKEY - making strides (all improvements indicated by "+", italics = area of non-improvement)
1996-97 1997-98 Change Wins 9-25-1 5-3-0 Winning pct. 27.1% 62.5% +35.4% One-goal games 15 (3-12) 2 (2-0) Goals per game 2.63 3.13 +0.50 Shots per game 27.2 27.8 +0.6 Shooting pct. 9.7% 11.3% +1.6% Opponent shots/gm 31.8 30.5 +1.3 Shot margin -4.6 +2.7 +7.3 Power-play pct. 12.7% 21.3% +8.6% Power-play goals/gm 0.66 1.25 +0.59 Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.13 (1) +0.07 Penalties per game 8.69 6.88 +1.81 Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 92.9% +11.6% Goals-Against-Avg. 3.73 2.25 +1.48 Save pct. 88.2% 92.6% +4.4% Goal margin -1.11 0.88 +1.99 Shorthanded goals allowed/gm 0.20 (7) 0.00 (0) +0.20 1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.88 (7) +0.22 1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.50 (7-3) +0.96 3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 1.63 (13) +0.69 3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) +0.63 (13-8)+0.89 Ahead at 1st intermission 4-5-0 (.444) 3-0-0 (1.00) +.556 Ahead at 2nd intermission 6-2-0 (.750) 3-0-0 (1.00) +.250
EIGHT-GAME CHECKUP: With six games in the books, the Irish hockey team can point to many statistical trends that show significant progress from the 1996-97 campaign ... in fact, Notre Dame has improved or remained on the same pace in all of the 23 categories listed above ... the most significant offensive improvements have come in the areas of goals per game (up 1.04), shots per game (up 2.5). shooting pct. (up 2.7%), shot margin (up 6.1), power-play pct. (up 1.6%) and power-play goals per game (up 0.84) ... noteworthy improvements on the defensive end include the 98.9 percent penalty-killing unit (up 17.6%), a 2.33 goals-against-average (1.40 better than last season) and just 7.33 penalties per game (1.36 fewer than in 1996-97).