Nov. 18, 1997
Home And Away Series Vs. Ferris State Awaits Irish
The Notre Dame hockey team (6-4-0, 3-3-0 CCHA) will play a home-and-away series this week against Ferris State, playing host to the Bulldogs on Thursday, Nov. 20 before travelling to Big Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 22 ... Notre Dame and Ferris State (3-7-2, 3-4-2 CCHA) are in the middle of the early-season CCHA pack, with the Bulldogs standing in sixth place and the Irish seventh ... Notre Dame split a pair of road games last week, losing at Miami (5-4) on Adam Copeland's goal with 20 seconds left in regulation before beating Ohio State (3-2) at the Ohio Expo Center ... Ferris State is coming off a pair of overtime games with Michigan, losing at UM (3-3) before playing to a 3-3 tie at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids ... Notre Dame did not receive mention in any of the top four national polls this week after ranking among the top-20 vote-getters in last week's WMPL coaches poll and the U.S. College Hockey Online poll ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included as many as seven freshmen and six sophomores ... the Irish were picked seventh (out of 11 teams) in the preseason CCHA coaches poll.
IRISH OPEN WITH CHALLENGING FIRST-SEMESTER SCHEDULE: Notre Dame's early-season schedule produced a challenging first 10 games, with each of the four Irish losses coming against teams that are currently ranked ninth or higher in each of the four national polls ... Notre Dame has lost twice to the current consensus #1 team, Michigan State (1-5, 1-3), while also dropping close games to Boston College (2-3) and Miami (4-5) ... BC (6-2-0) is ranked as high as sixth, in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine coaches poll, while Miami (7-1-0) is ranked fourth in that poll, as well as the USCHO coaches poll and the WMPL coaches poll ... Notre Dame has handed MSU (9-1-2) its only loss of the season while posting a sweep at St. Cloud State, which was among the top-14 vote-getters in three national polls this week ... Notre Dame's final four games of the fall semester--away and home series with Western Michigan and Wisconsin--also should provide an added challenge ... WMU (5-5-2) stands fourth in the CCHA and received votes in this week's WMEB media poll and WMPL coaches poll ... Wisconsin (5-1-0) is ranked in the top 10 of three polls, including sixth in WMPL.
NOTRE DAME AGAIN AMONG YOUNGEST TEAMS 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 as of 10/28/97), 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 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 BULLDOGS: Ferris State (3-7-2, 3-4-2) is coming off an overtime loss and tie last week against Michigan (2-3, 3-3) ... the Bulldogs stand sixth in the CCHA standings and were picked to finish ninth in the preseason CCHA coaches poll ... Ferris State returns 19 letterwinners from its 1996-97 team that went 11-23-3 ... the Bulldogs finished 7-18-2 in the CCHA last season and joined Notre Dame (6-20-1) as the two teams that were bumped out of the eight-team CCHA Tournament field in the final weeks by Ohio State (9-16-2) and Alaska-Fairbanks (8-18-1) ... FSU's biggest losses from last season are All-American defenseman Andy Roach (12G, 34A) and forward Gordie Hunt (12G, 16A) ... Ferris State and Notre Dame both have just three seniors on their 1997-98 rosters (FSU's are backup G Jeff Blashill and D Brett Colborne and J.P. Tessier) ... FSU's offense has been fairly spread out this season, led by junior F Joel Irwin (5G, 5A), junior LW Kenzie Homer (4G, 5A) and freshman center Kevin Swider (4G, 5A) ... FSU is averaging 9.33 penalties per game, the fourth-fewest in the CCHA behind Notre Dame (7.60), Michigan State (8.33) and Michigan (9.27) ... FSU's 3.17 goals per game ranks third-lowest in the CCHA, behind Western Michigan (2.500 and Bowling Green (2.91) ... the Bulldogs rank sixth in the CCHA for overall power-play pct. (.164) and ninth in penalty-killing (.797) ... freshman Vince Owen has emerged as FSU's starting goaltender, ranking eighth in the CCHA for goals against avg. (3.05) and 10th with an .885 save pct. ... Owen has played in 10 of 12 games while beating out veterans Blashill and sophomore Mike Szkodinski ... FSU's wins have come at Lake Superior (6-1) and vs. W. Michigan (4-2) and Alaska-Fairbanks (7-2) ... the Bulldogs' other losses have come against Windsor (2-3), at WMU (2-4), vs. Michigan State in Grand Rapids (1-6), at BGSU (1-3) and at Mankato St. (2-5, 5-7) ... FSU's other tie came at BGSU (3-3).
FERRIS STATE SERIES NOTES: Ferris State holds a 20-7-2 series lead over Notre Dame and has won the last four meetings, including a 5-1 win at Notre Dame last season and two home victories over the Irish (3-2, 6-2) ... in last year's first game, Notre Dame lost despite a 39-21 shot advantage ... FSU scored three times in the second period, on goals by Geoff Bennetts, Joel Irwin and Todd Steinmetz, before tacking on third-period power-play goals by Jason Hodel and Bennetts ... Tim Harberts scored a 5-on-3 goal for the Irish early in the third ... Mike Szkodinski had 38 saves for FSU ... in the second loss, Notre Dame scored just twice on 31 shots but claimed an early 2-0 lead on goals by Brian Urick and Benoit Cotnoir ... FSU tied the game on second-period goals by Ed Kowalski and Brian McCullough before Brent Wishart scored the game-winner with seven minutes to play ... Jeff Blashill made 27 saves for FSU in the final two periods ... the final FSU win featured first-period Bulldogs goals from Brett Colborne, Wishart, Irwin and Gordie Hunt, with Hodel and Hunt scoring in the first 10 minutes of the second ... Brian McCarthy and Tyson Fraser scored later in the second period for the Irish.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several current players from Notre Dame and Ferris State played together on previous teams ... they include: FSU senior D Brett Colborne and ND senior C Lyle Andrusiak (Notre Dame Hounds Junior A); FSU sophomore F Rob Kozak and ND's Andrusiak (Yorktown Mallers); FSU junior RW Geoff Bennetts, senior G Jeff Blashill and junior LW Ken Sergott and ND junior C Craig Hagkull (Des Moines Buccaneers) ... FSU sophomore LW Brian McCullough and ND sophomore D Sean Molina (Chicago Young Americans).
ANDRUSIAK, COTNOIR TURN IN BIG WEEKEND: Senior C Lyle Andrusiak and junior D Benoit Cotnoir combined for five goals in last weekend's games at Miami and Ohio State ... Cotnoir opened the scoring at Miami with his first goal of the season, a power-play blast from the right circle ... Cotnoir also opened the scoring at OSU, again with a shot from the right circle for a short-handed score ... he later slid the puck to Aniket Dhadphale, who sent a shot from the left circle that was saved by Ray Aho put tipped in at the right post by Andrusiak for what proved to be the game-winner (3-2) ... Andrusiak scored twice at Miami, converting a long breakaway goal to tie the game 3-3 before forging a 4-4 tie after tapping home a rebounded shot by Brian Urick ... Cotnoir has totaled 41 career points (13 G, 28 A) from the blue line while Andrusiak's five goals nearly equal his junior-year total (7) ... Andrusiak had 10 goals and a freshman but just one as a sophomore ... after posting shooting percentages of .019 (1-for-53) and .109 (7-for-64) during the past two seasons, Andrusiak has converted on 21.7 percent of his 23 shots this season.
DUS WAS DUE: Sophomore right wing Joe Dusbabek scored his first goal of the season in last week's game at Miami, redirecting a pass from Ben Simon in the first period for a 2-1 Irish lead ... Dusbabek had failed to score on his first 20 shots of the season while enduring a career-long goalless streak of eight games ... Dusbabek, who ranks second on the Irish this season with six assists, was runner-up for CCHA rookie of the year last season after sharing for the team scoring lead (13G, 12A), when he converted on 15.5 percent of his 84 shots ... Dusbabek's current shooting pct. stands at .045 (1-for-22).
RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S GAMES: (MIAMI 5, ND 4; 11/15) - Adam Copeland capitalized on an Irish giveaway and scored with 20 seconds left in #5 Miami's home win ... Notre Dame had three leads only to see Miami quickly gain the equalizing goals ... Miami converted two of three man-up chances, with the last providing a 4-3 cushion ... on the winning play, the RedHawks played the puck down the right boards in the closing seconds and Irish defenseman Mark Eaton prepared to send a clear back up the sideboards ... Gregor Krajnc was shadowing Eaton, picked off the puck and quickly fired a pass into the crease for Copeland, who one-timed a shot into the lower left corner of the net ... Notre Dame's Lyle Andrusiak forged the fourth tie of the game midway through the third, poking the puck home in a scramble at the top of the crease following a shot from the right circle by Brian Urick ... Miami surged ahead 4-3 in the second behind goals from Tim Leahy and Krajnc ... Leahy tied the game less than a minute after Andrusiak's first goal, with the Irish failing to clear the zone and Leahy one-timing a pass from the right boards by Krajnc (5:32) ... the RedHawks went ahead midway through the second, with Krajnc converting a power-play scramble at the top of the crease (11:32) ... Benoit Cotnoir opened the scoring with a power-play goal five minutes into the game, slapping home a rebound from the top of the right circle ... Miami gained the equalizer 54 seconds later, when Alex Kim knocked home his own rebound ... Joe Dusbabek put the Irish back in front at 7:46 mark of the first after taking a pass from Ben Simon at the left circle and redirecting the puck inside the right post ... Miami again tied the game, five minutes before the first intermission, with Dan Boyle knocking home a power-play shot in the slot ... Notre Dame claimed its third lead early in the second, after Mark Eaton sent a lead pass up the middle of the ice for Andrusiak, who skated into the slot with a Miami play riding his back before nudging a backhanded shot on goal and slapping the rebound inside the left post (4:29). (ND 3, OSU 2; 11/16) - Cotnoir and Simon came through with shorthanded goals and Andrusiak scored on the power play for a 3-0 second-period lead as Notre Dame held off a late Ohio State rally at the Ohio Expo Center ... the Irish penalty-killing unit stopped seven of eight OSU power plays ... Notre Dame sophomore goaltender Forrest Karr made 28 saves in his first start of the season, turning away OSU's first 23 shots on goal ... the teams combined for 33 penalties, including 17 by OSU ... OSU made things interesting with a pair of third-period goals in a span of less than two minutes ... Cotnoir opened the scoring midway through the first, after skating onto a deflected shot from Dan Carlson at the right circle and sending a hard shot past Ray Aho (10:29) ... Simon then poked the puck away from OSU defenseman Ryan Jestadt at mid-ice and deposited a backhanded breakaway goal (11:33) ... Andrusiak padded the lead with his third goal of the weekend ... Cotnoir initiated the power-play score with a pass to Aniket Dhadphale, who fired a shot from the left circle ... Aho deflected the shot over his left shoulder but Andrusiak was waiting at the far right post and scooped the puck into the net (15:36) for his second game-winning goal of the season ... Todd Compeau put OSU on the board with a rebound goal at 5:38 of the third and Hugo Boisvert scored on the power play moments later (7:27).
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?: Nearly 40 percent of the current 271 players that had played this season for a CCHA team (as of Nov. 11) are products of either the United States Hockey League (54) or the North American Hockey League (52) ... Ferris State and Miami each had used eight former USHL players as of Nov. 11 while Notre Dame had played seven ... Ohio State (9) and Ferris State (7) had 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 had skated for a CCHA team this season, with Michigan accounting for seven of those players while Notre Dame had 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).
SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame's power-play pct. (.207/12-for-58) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks third among CCHA teams, behind Miami (.347) and Michigan (.213) ... a year ago, Notre Dame did not score its 12th power-play goal until the 14th 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 now stands at .887 (47-for-53) ranks third in the CCHA behind Ohio State's .902 and Western Michigan's .889 ... 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. (.207) is better than four of Notre Dame's five previous season-ending averages (the 1994-95 team owned a .220 power play).
PENALTY-KILLING PROVIDES ADDED PLUS: Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has scored one goal for every two it has allowed this season, totaling three short-handed goals while allowing just six opponent power-play scores ... the three short-handed goals are more than the Irish total from all of 1996-97 (2), with Ben Simon scoring two of the SHG's and Benoit Cotnoir netting the third ... Notre Dame's "-3" penalty-killing effort this season ranks second in the CCHA behind Ohio State's "-2" (4 SHG, 6 PPG allowed) ... the other CCHA penalty-killing units stack up as follows, based on short-handed goals scored minus power-play goals allowed: Lake Superior (-4), Western Michigan (-6), Michigan State (-7), Michigan (-8), Miami (-8), Northern Michigan (-11), Ferris State (-12), Alaska Fairbanks (-15) and Bowling Green (-15) ... Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan State are the only CCHA teams that have yet to allow a shorthanded goal this season.
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, sharing the Irish lead and ranking third in the CCHA with seven goals scored (Michigan's Bill Muckalt has 10 goals, Miami's Tim Leahy eight) ... Dhadphale has converted in 26.9 percent of his 26 shots (an average of one goal per every 3.7 shots on goal) ... his noteworthy goals include two in the clinching four-goal flurry at Michigan State (6-1).
SIMPLE SIMON: Notre Dame sophomore center Ben Simon has been Mr. Reliable this season, recording at least one point in every game except the Nov. 8 loss at Michigan State (3-1) ... he leads the Irish in points (12), including a season goal total (7) that has nearly doubled his output from 1996-97 (4), when Simon did not score a goal until the 15th game of the season ... Simon's three power-play goals equal his freshman year total while his two shorthanded goals equal Notre Dame's team total for all of 1996-97 ... Simon's 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 ... last week, Simon assisted on Notre Dame's first two goals in the 5-4 last-second loss at Miami while his second shorthanded goal of the season came on a breakaway in the 3-2 win at Ohio State, with Simon knocking the puck away from an OSU player at mid-ice and depositing a backhanded shot for a 2-0 Irish lead.
'TIS BETTER TO GIVE?: Junior RW Brian Urick is third on the Irish scoring chart this season (9 points), thanks to a team-high seven assists, with three of those coming in the 6-1 win at Michigan State ... Urick has ranked among the Irish scoring leaders throughout his career, totaling 27 goals and 36 assists over the course of 80 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.... Urick also set up Lyle Andrusiak's goal that tied last week's game at Miami (4-4), with the RedHawks winning in the final seconds ... despite his passing success, Urick has struggled with his own goal-scoring, converting on just 5.0 percent of his team-high 40 shots (Urick scored on 15.1 percent of his shots during his first two seasons).
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 14-11 scoring edge in the third period this season and has outscored the opposition 12-3 in the third period of the six Irish wins ... in Notre Dame's four losses this season, the opposition has owned an 8-2 scoring edge.
ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame is 4-2 away from home this season, posting big wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1), then-#2 Michigan State (6-1) and Ohio State (3-2) while losing road games in the final minute at MSU (3-1, with the Spartans breaking a 1-1 tie in the final four minutes) and Miami (5-4, with Miami winning with 20 seconds left) ... 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 23 goals away from home on 143 shots on goal, for an average of 6.2 shots per goal (16.1 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.).
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 and sophomore C Ben Simon (both with 7 goals) have set an early pace for 20-plus goals, the Irish truly have relied on balanced scoring ... the six game-winning goals have come from five different players ... the team's top eight scorers have between 6-12 points, led by Simon (7-5), Dhadphale (7-2), junior RW Brian Urick (2-7), senior C Steve Noble (2-5), junior D Benoit Cotnoir (2-5) and sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (1-6) ... freshmen Matt Van Arkel (2-4) and Dan Carlson (2-3) have quickly made their presence felt ... senior C Lyle Andrusiak has six points, including five goals (third-most on the team_ after lighting the lamp three times last weekend) ... Andrusiak's first goal of the 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 four assists 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 ... in the most recent win at Ohio State (3-2), Andrusiak's rebound goal off a shot from Dhadphale held up as the game-winner.
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 10 games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 76 penalties for 7.6 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: Michigan State (8.3), Ferris State (9.3), Michigan (9.3), Miami (9.6) and Ohio State (9.7) ... the CCHA's most-penalized teams are Bowling Green (12.2), Alaska Fairbanks (11.8), Western Michigan (10.9), Northern Michigan (10.7) and Lake Superior (10.3) ... Notre Dame's hard-hitting sophomore D Nathan Borega has been whistled for just 10 penalties this season and less than one per game in his career (41 in 45 games) ... other disciplined skaters include senior center Steve Noble (two penalties in '97-'98, 19 in last 44 games) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (two penalties in '97-'98, 19 in 39 career games) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with untimely penalties in his first two seasons (totaling 58 in 70 games) but has just three penalties in 1997-98 ... freshmen LW Dan Carlson, sophomore D Sean Molina and freshman D Ryan Clark each have totaled just two penalties 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.
THE EISMAN COMETH ... AND TAKETH AWAY: Senior goaltender Matt Eisler (West Milford, N.J.) has raced to a 2.49 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 1997-98 while leading the Irish to their 6-4 start and 47-for-532 penalty-killing effort (.887) ... Eisler was named the CCHA defensive player 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 2.49 GAA ranks sixth overall in the CCHA and fourth among netminders with 450-plus minutes, behind Michigan State's Chad Alban (1.44), Western Michigan's Matt Barnes (2.23) and Michigan's Marty Turco (2.44) ... Eisler's .918 save pct. second in the CCHA, just behind Alban's .921 ... Eisler's current 2.49 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 .918 save pct. is ahead of Mark Kronholm's existing Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) ... Eisler's .879 career save pct. ranks fourth in Irish history while his 2,305 career saves rank sixth ... Eisler has carried the Irish to a 2.50 season goals against average that would blow away the existing team record of 3.40, set in 1987-88 ... the current team save pct. (.917) likewise is well ahead of the Irish record of .891 (set in 1976-77).